Asheville Romantic Getaways: Top 25 Bucket List

Asheville Romantic Getaways: Bucket List 25

Looking for ideas for activities and things to do for a romantic getaway or family vacation to Asheville and the mountains of North Carolina? Here's our bucket list of 25 favorites, according to our 5.5 million website visits in 2016! Whether it's a romantic escape like a honeymoon, wedding or anniversary, or an vacation with friends and family, check these out. (Photo above is Crabtree Falls.)

Update: In December 2016, Lonely Planet (the largest guidebook publisher in the world) named Asheville as the Number One Destination in the USA for 2017. According to their survey, “2017 sees one of the USA’s most eclectic and innovative small cities step firmly into the national spotlight. Asheville welcomes everyone with open arms and has been quietly emerging as a haven for creative spirits for decades.” They noted our 200 artists in the River Arts District, our huge number of local craft beers, impressive chefs, the French Broad River and the Blue Ridge Mountains. We've been telling folks this for 14 years! 

Asheville Bucket List 2017

Biltmore House
Experience Biltmore Estate
Take in the grandeur of our country's largest home, the "Downton Abbey" of America. Explore the many rooms inside the house, walk through breathtaking landscapes and gardens, taste vintages at the winery and enjoy fine dining. Take a guided tour for a "behind the scenes" look. If you have been before, discover many new things to do with our detailed insider's guide!
Sliding Rock
Sliding Rock
The most popular natural waterslide in North Carolina for generations is in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard. Slide down a 60-foot smooth rock waterfall into a pool of chilly water. Bathrooms and showers are open and lifeguards on duty from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway
Drive one of America's most scenic roads. Enjoy a leisurely excursion filled with nature's beauty through dense forests and atop mountain ridges. You'll find breathtaking overlooks, numerous hiking trails and great spots for picnics. Drive north for panoramic views at Craggy Gardens and Mt. Mitchell. A drive south takes you through a dozen tunnels and the highest section of the Parkway. See our favorite 50 stops.
Find Waterfalls
Hunt Waterfalls
Welcome to the Land of the Waterfalls! There are so many waterfalls in nearby state and federal parks (with no admission fee) to discover. While many require a walk or hike to reach, several are roadside. Take one of our waterfall drives to enjoy several. See our favorite 60!
Take a Hike
Take a Hike
To really appreciate the natural splendor of our area, explore by foot. There are hiking trails for all fitness levels, from a short woodland walk to strenuous hikes to mountain peaks, including both the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains. Many of the hikes are along the Blue Ridge Parkway and are easy to find. Easy in-town hiking includes the NC Arboretum and the Botanical Gardens.
Fall Color Show
Fall Foliage Forecast
The Asheville area has one of longest lasting fall color shows in the country. Fall foliage begins to change in the highest elevations in early October and finishes in the lowest valleys in early November. See our week-by-week color prediction and plenty of photos.
Downtown Asheville
Explore Downtown Asheville
During the day, downtown Asheville bustles with shoppers browsing more than 200 galleries, antique shops, and local boutiques. Each evening, enjoy street entertainers, restaurants, breweries, festivals and music. Walk the Urban Trail and tour historic sites. See our Top 20 things to do downtown.
Festivals Galore
Find Festivals Galore
Free festivals abound in downtown Asheville and our great mountain small towns. Gather on Saturday nights during July and August for Shindig on the Green, a genuine glimpse into the traditions of Appalachia. A fun weekly event is the Friday night Drum Circle. Summertime is primetime for festivals!
NC Small Towns
Top 35 Coolest Mountain Small Towns
Explore our favorite cool small towns in the NC mountains near Asheville, each with its own personality, local shops and restaurants, friendly residents and relaxed atmosphere.
Extraordinary Art
Meet Artists in River Arts District
Asheville is one of the top arts destinations in the country. Find many galleries downtown and in Biltmore Village. Our top pick for art lovers is exploring the River Arts District to watch artists at work, ask them about the process, and buy art as a souvenir of your visit! More than 180 artists work in 25 buildings, including old warehouses and factories along the river near downtown and Biltmore. And plan your trip around a creative event with our Guide to Asheville Art Tours, Festivals & Shows.
Best Mountain Views
Soak in Mountain Views
Where are the places for spectacular views to celebrate being alive? Hike to a remote mountaintop or see sweeping views from your car. Watch the sunset or picnic on top of the world.
Foodie Heaven
Find Foodie Favorites
Check out our very diverse and passionate food and drink scene. Be a little adventurous and try something new. Or enjoy time honored classics. In downtown, walk to 60+ locally owned restaurants, many use local food and offer outdoor dining. From crafted cocktails to a host of local brews, there's plenty to drink. Forage for food, visit a farm or tour a vineyard.
Mountain Cabin
Escape to a Mountain Cabin
Snuggle up in a cozy cabin rental. Choose from a wide variety of sizes and types of cabins and cottages - some in the city of Asheville and others are way out in the country nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Many are secluded in our mountains, some by ponds, lakes or rivers.
Swimming Holes
Cool Off in Mountain Swimming Holes
Refresh yourself and have fun in our cool mountain waters in our lakes, rivers and waterfalls. See our favorite swimming spots, including popular Sliding Rock, tubing spots, pools and beaches.
Grand Bed & Breakfast
Make Memories in a Bed & Breakfast
For a special getaway that will create lifetime memories, stay in an Asheville bed and breakfast inn. Many are grand historic homes with big porches, gardens, inviting living areas and beautiful furnishings. All include a gourmet breakfast to start your day. Innkeepers love to help with special requests to create a very personalized stay.
Beer City Brews
Toast with Local Brews
Cheers to the beer mecca of the southeast! Taste the extraordinary local brews, but it may take you a few days. With dozens of craft breweries and 100+ local brews and ciders in western North Carolina, you will need to pace yourself! Walk to many breweries in the South Slope downtown. If wine is more your style, see our Top 10 Wineries for tours and tastings.
Pampering at a Spa
Get Pampered at a Spa
Be it a simple weekend of relaxation, a romantic couple’s getaway in the mountains or a chance to improve your health, Asheville is the ultimate destination for those seeking spas and wellness. Take some time for yourself for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Winery Visits
Winery Visits & Tours
In addition to the nation's most visited winery at Biltmore, take a winery tour in the foothills area including the Hendersonville and Morganton areas. Sample the local wines while enjoying the mountain views. See our Top Wineries to see in western North Carolina.
Great Smoky Mountains
Escape to the Great Smokies
The Great Smoky Mountains is one of America's most visited national parks. This International Biosphere Reserve is home to rugged mountains (many peaks in excess of 6,000 feet), historic homesteads, and 100,000 different types of plants and animals. Four entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are within 50 miles from downtown Asheville. Free admission!
Train Excursion
Ride the Train
All aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad train excurision for a ride through quaint mountain towns, past sparkling rivers and through deep mountain forests. Ride in an open air car or in climate-controlled first class (read about the Carolina Moonshine excursion) with lunch service. And don't forget the Polar Express!
Fun City Tour
Laugh on a Zany Tour
Ready to laugh? This is definitely not your typical city tour! LaZoom is Asheville's only rolling comedy tour bus with a side-splitting odyssey to favorite neighborhoods and landmarks. Each tour departs downtown in a purple bus and features a knowledgeable and witty tour guide, a heavy dose of corny jokes, slapstick characters, and a clever blend of fact, fiction, and fun. Haunted tours too!
Zip Line Canopy Tour
Top 10 Zip Line Canopy Tours
Fly above the trees and experience the mountain's natural beauty from a bird's perspective. See our favorite zip line canopy courses to enjoy in the Asheville area in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. No experience is needed. Canopy guides provide all instruction and assistance. So it's fun for all fitness levels!
River Adventure
Ride the Rivers
Asheville is one of the best whitewater rafting towns in the U.S.! No experience is necessary. You just need a desire for thrills and getting a little wet. Ride down one of four rivers, including the Nantahala River. Or kayak, tube and paddleboard down the French Broad River through Biltmore Estate. Raft in the Great Smokies on the Pigeon River.
Asheville Art Class
Asheville Art Classes & Lessons
Take a painting or pottery class or workshop for an afternoon or a week in Asheville at studios in the River Arts District. Group or private lessons are designed for beginners and experienced. Take home a souvenir of art that your create!
Scenic Drives
16 Scenic Drives
See gorgeous countryside, mountain views and charming communities with a windshield tour with many stops along the way on many national and state scenic byways near Asheville.

Looking for many more ideas for your trip? See our Top 300 Things to Do in Asheville and the mountains.

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