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NC Arboretum Hikes
(Many options, easy to moderate) Located just 10 miles south of downtown, the Arboretum has 10 miles of easy to moderate walking and biking trails. Our pick is the Natural Garden Trail, a one-mile loop starting from the Plants of Promise Garden to the Core Area Gardens.
Biltmore Estate Hiking Trails
(Many options, easy to moderate) There are 23 miles of trails, for all fitness levels, to explore at Biltmore. You can walk several miles around the gardens near the house, including a half-mile stroll around the Bass Pond. Our favorite hike at Biltmore is the 1.3-mile Deer Park Trail, offering great views of the house.
Banner Elk Restaurants
This small town high in the mountains has become a culinary hot spot. Whether you’re looking for an upscale meal for a special occasion, a hearty sandwich after a day outdoors or a casual steak dinner, check out their locally-owned and innovative restaurants.
Grove Arcade Winter Wonderland
Shop and dine in the beautifully restored and decorated historic arcade in downtown Asheville. Find a big variety of local shops and galleries and see gingerbread house creations in one of the first enclosed malls in America. Open 7 days.
Chimney Rock Village
The tiny village (population 109) has a busy downtown at the entrance to popular Chimney Rock Park. Behind the shops and restuarants, the Rocky Broad Riverwalk takes you along the cascading river with places for a picnic. Take a step back in time in this authentic tourist town that has kept the charm of the 60s and 70s.
National Get Outdoors Day
The Cradle of Forestry celebrates with free admission and plenty of outdoor activities in Pisgah National Forest near Sliding Rock, including hikes, demos, historic buildings, and kid's educational fun. 10 AM-4 PM.
Rutherford County Campgrounds
See the Top 10 places to camp in the Lake Lure, Chimney Rock and Forest City areas in the foothills, including RV and motorcoach resorts. Find a big variety of campground amenities with many things to do in the Hickory Nut Gorge.
There's a lot happening in this lake town! In addition to a beach to keep cool on hot summer's day, there's a wonderful Town Center Walkway that connects the beach to the beautiful Flowering Bridge. Take a boat tour of the lake or bring your mountain bike for their new trail system at Buffalo Creek Park.
Sierra Nevada Brewery
(100 Sierra Nevada Way, Mills River) See their impressive east coast brewery in south Asheville - complete with a taproom, big restaurant, free tours, events and live music.
Jackson County Top 30
So many things to do - art, train excursions, heritage sites and more! Includes the towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire.
(4 miles round-trip, strenuous) One of the most popular and rewarding hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains. With an elevation of 4,800 ft., the rare rock summit is one of the park's most recognizable geological structures. It's all uphill with 1,700 ft. in elevation gain.
Blue Heron Whitewater, Hot Springs
Enjoy rafting trips (or inflatable kayaks) and calm water float trips on the French Broad River with a fantastic combination of whitewater rapids, swimming holes, beautiful scenery, history and wildlife near Asheville. Excellent, fun-loving guides and all the appropriate river equipment ensure a great time.
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.
St. Jude's Chapel of Hope
Stop for a peek inside this tiny chapel in Madison County in the tiny town of Trust along a scenic drive.
The French Broad Overview
This 17-mile N.C. Scenic Byway just north of Asheville starts at I-26, Exit 19. Take U.S. 25/70 toward Marshall and turn left at the first stoplight onto Monticello Road. Go three miles to N.C. Highway 251. Turn right and drive along the French Broad River to Marshall. Stop at Ledges Whitewater River County Park and watch the kayakers while you picnic.
The Flying Bike - Electric Bike Tours & Rentals
See Asheville the best way possible - by electric bike! Get up close to the must-see spots, meander down beautiful greenways and catch stunning views. Electric-assist bikes make Asheville’s hills easy and fun. Tours daily, departing from their downtown location. Electric bike rentals also.
Tuckasegee River Rafting & Tubing
Ride down the family-friendly rapids of the "Tuck" in a raft, inflatable kayak or tub in Jackson County - near Dillsboro and Sylva. Outfitters offer a variety of guided and self-guided river trips.
Spruce Pine Alien Conference & Expo
Join alien and UFO enthusiasts the first annual street festival in downtown Spruce Pine to celebrate aliens and UFOs. Hear national speakers discuss stories of encounters and sightings. Buy out of this world souvenirs. Dress up for the costume contest.
Mountain Magnolia Inn Dining
While the setting is elegant and the food exceptional, the atmosphere is relaxed and the dress is casual. Cuisine features herbs grown in the Inn's garden and organic ingredients. Dinner at the historic Victorian Inn makes a perfect evening after a soak at the nearby springs or a hike on the Appalachian Trail. Reservations recommended, walk-ins welcome. 35 miles north of downtown Asheville.
Tressa's Downtown Jazz & Blues
Tressa's is our top pick for date night live music and dancing. Enjoy live jazz and blues in old New Orleans elegance every night with an impressive selection of fine spirits, such as single malt scotches, small batch bourbons, estate rums and sipping Tequilas; as well as their famous martinis. 28 Broadway Street.
Graveyard Fields Waterfalls
This popular hiking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway has two waterfalls. Second Falls (in pic) is just 1/3-mile walk from the Parkway. Upper Falls is on a four-mile loop trail in the mile-high meadow.
Waldensian Heritage Winery
Centuries ago in Italy, the Waldensians learned the craft of creating great wines and brought their traditions to the small town of Valdese (in Burke County) since the terrain, climate and soil composition here was similar to their homes in Italy. Built of local field rock and timbers, the Waldensian Heritage Winery opened in 1930. All production, distribution, marketing and tours are by volunteers. Address: 4940 Villar Ln NE, Valdese. Open Thursday-Sunday, 1-6 PM
(1.5 miles round-trip, moderate) See panoramic views of Pisgah National Forest from atop the historic fire tower near Mt Pisgah. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 409.6.
Art on the Greene
Find a big variety of 40 artists working with metal, glass, pottery, wood, jewelry and more in downtown Banner Elk. Many restaurants, shops and things to do nearby. 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission.
Swain County Heritage Museum
Located on the second floor of the historic courthouse in Bryson City, see photos, exhibits and video about the early settlers in the Great Smoky Mountains, including a restored log cabin porch. Free admission.
Mountain Acoustics Luthier Invitational
This new festival in Burnsville celebrates hand-built stringed instruments with an emphasis on artists who craft them and musicians who play them. Luthiers showcase creations and lead workshops on songwriting, guitar and ukulele playing. Concerts and other events.
Sweet Treats of the Carolinas Festival
Western NC's sweetest festival includes thousands of delicious donuts, food trucks, donut-eating contest, pageant, crafts, 5K, half-marathon and a variety of vendors on Main Street in Marion, 10 AM-3 PM.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride a multitude of trails to see many waterfalls and lakes on 10,000 acres. Plus, picnic on mountaintops and swim at Hooker Falls. Visitor center, free admission.
Top 40 Spring Events & Festivals
April & May: See our top picks for Spring events and festivals in the Asheville area of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. Many are free!
Rutherford County B&Bs, Cabins & Hotels
Find plenty of unique inns, bed and breakfasts, local boutique hotels, cabins and campgrounds near all the things to do in Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton and Forest City.
Early Girl Eatery Breakfast
Southern breakfast is served all day with made-from-scratch dishes with ingredients from local farms. Favorite include sausage and sweet potato scramble, create-your-own omelet, country ham, home fries and veggie breakfast bowl. Open Mon-Fri 7:30 AM & Sat-Sun 8 AM at 8 Wall Street downtown Asheville. Also in West Asheville at 444 Haywood Road, opens at 8 AM every day.
6 Mountain Beaches near Asheville
Hit the beach on pristine, cool mountain lakes in the NC mountains near Asheville, complete with sandy shores, lifeguards and plenty of summer fun in the water.
Holmes Educational State Forest
(.5-3.5 miles, easy to strenuous) Hike a variety of trails and learn about the forest in this largely unknown gem near busy DuPont State Forest. Open mid March-mid November, find a tranquil and diverse forest along with picnic tables and exhibits. 10 miles from downtown Hendersonville.
Asheville Beer Week
Experience the largest annual celebration of craft beer in Asheville and western NC with a big variety of beer-related events including releases and tastings paired with music, food and great settings.
Compassionate Expressions Mountain Inn & Healing Sanctuary
A 40-acre private Certified Wildlife Retreat near Asheville where a world of magic, serenity, natural beauty and unlimited healing possibilities await you. Renew your body and spirit with exceptional spa services: energy healing, massage, cranial-sacral, past life regression, hot tubs by the creek and sauna. Choose a "day" or "stay over" spa experience.
Christmas Tree Farms
Pick the perfect Christmas tree for your home at a "choose and cut" Christmas Tree Farm near Asheville. After you find your tree, they cut it, bale it and tie it on your vehicle. See our favorite farms.
Stroll through this public garden in Hendersonville that includes an half-mile trail through the Native Woodland Garden, popular Fairy Garden, Dahlia Daze in September and much more. Free, but donations accepted. Near apple orchards & wineries. 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville
This quaint and very historic village is located three miles south of Hendersonville. A longtime summer retreat, it's home to the Playhouse state theatre, Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, Hubba Hubba Smokehouse, Sky Top Orchard, galleries and shops.
Winterfest Beer Festival
Sample 50 beers and ciders from North Carolina breweries indoors at the Beech Mountain ski resort Alpine Village, 4-8 PM. Live music and shuttle. Great way to end a day of play on the slopes.
Apple Hill Alpaca Farm
Take a guided walking tour of this farm near Banner Elk with the alpacas, llamas, angora goats, guardian donkeys, dogs and other animals. Fiber from the angora goats is made into mohair and sold in the farm store, along with alpaca socks. Open year-round.
Yellow Creek Falls
Hike just a third of a mile to reach this 50-ft. waterfall in the Nantahala National Forest near Robbinsville and Lake Santeetlah. It's a great summer swimming hole, too!
Forest City Hometown Holiday Lights
See the million lights that create a magical Main Street in our top Christmas Town Forest City with many events throughout, including carriage rides. Lighting ceremony on Thanksgiving Day.
Pisgah National Forest Guide
Explore and play in 500,000+ acres surrounding Asheville with some of the most beautiful and rugged mountain scenery, creating some of the best recreational opportunities in eastern North America. Pisgah National Forest covers much of the north and central western mountains of North Carolina - with rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails.
Soak in Mountain Views
Where are the best 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.
St Claire Art
At this must-stop studio in River Arts District (344 Depot Street, #104), watch Stephen create brilliant paintings that come to life with intense color and contrast. His fascinating “Dialuminism” process allows light to pass through layers of paint, reflecting off metal. Open Mon-Sat 10 AM-5 PM.
This quaint mountain village at 3,700 feet elevation has great restaurants, breweries, shops, Wildcat Lake beach, and many events including the Woolly Worm Festival in October. Near Beech Mountain skiing and Grandfather Mountain hiking.
OM Sanctuary, Asheville
Find rejuvenation at this holistic retreat destination. De-stress, rest, and renew with nature, while being just two miles from downtown. Explore transformational life practices, silence, personal time and optional wellness programs such as meditation, yoga, qigong, massage and holistic fitness. With 16 rooms and nine cottages, the inn features complimentary breakfast, nature trails and serenity garden.
DuPont Forest Festival
Celebrate DuPont State Recreational Forest with many special events on National Public Lands Day, such as guided tours, educational lectures, hands-on demonstrations and more. Free admission.
Experience the best of Latin American on Main Street in downtown Hendersonville. Journey through more than 20 countries with their people, music, art, food and culture. Free admission. 12-6 PM.
Still Point Wellness Massage and Float Spa
Experience deep relaxation with Salt Water Floatation (sensory deprivation) and stress relief with Esalen Massage. Detoxify and destress with a Far Infrared sauna session, or explore how thoughts manifest in the body with Somatic Psychology. Personalized packages for couples and individuals.
Their gluten-free menu of global bites and superfood-enhanced “real feelgood food” in hip West Asheville has something for everyone. For vegans, try the yam and cauliflower samosas. Omnivores love the Korean Soondubu. Bright and cozy, they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Coffee, bakery & cocktail bar too. 697 Haywood Road
Asheville Amadeus Festival
Asheville Symphony presents 10 days of multi-genre events and concerts for all tastes and ages at multiple venues - including collaborations with many arts groups, often paired with beer and food.
Take a Hike
To really appreciate the natural splendor of our mountains, 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 too. See our Top 75.
Food Truck & Craft Beer Festival
Head to Asheville Outlets mall for a big gathering of 25 food trucks. Buy a big variety of food, along with craft ales and beers from 50 breweries. Music, lawn games and artisan market. 12 Noon-5 PM next to Field & Stream. $5/person in advance and $10 day of.
Moore Cove Falls
(1.5 miles roundtrip, easy) Walk behind this 50-foot waterfall located near the popular Looking Glass Falls. Beautiful hike along the way. While the water flow is not impressive, it's a beautiful setting that is overlooked by many since there are no signs.
The Foundation Performing Arts
The "big city" 1,300-seat performing arts center is located on the Isothermal Community College Campus in tiny Spindale and features an impressive Mainstage Performing Arts Series featuring music, dance, comedy, theatre and more.
South Creek Winery
Visit this boutique winery on a farm near Marion. Taste wines in an Italian Renaissance Farmhouse or on an outdoor deck: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and signature-blend Maestro. Located 4.4 miles off I-40 at exit 90. 2240 S Creek Rd, Nebo, NC (6 miles to Silver Fork, 4 miles to Belle Nicho, 9 miles to Lake James Cellars). Open Wednesday-Saturday 11 AM-5 PM & Sunday 1 PM-5 PM.
First Peak Visitors Guide
Get your free guide to the "First Peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains," including the cool small towns of Tryon, Saluda and Columbus, as well as the Green River Gorge with tubing and zip lines.
French Broad Adventures
Asheville’s closest whitewater experience. Experience a fun-filled rafting adventure with knowledgeable guides or choose a milder Calm Water Float Trip in the heart of the scenic valley near Hot Springs. And the French Broad River is warmer and less crowded than other area rivers. Half and full day trips.
Military Discount, Wildberry Lodge B&B
Active military receives 15% discount on any room and suite rates at this luxury, log-constructed mountain lodge, offering private balconies and breathtaking views of the valley, just 12 miles from downtown Asheville.
Rate: From $169/night
Rate: From $169/night
Connect Beyond Festival
3-day conference in Asheville bridges creative disciplines, bringing together musicians, writers, filmmakers, media personalities and social activists. Includes an eclectic lineup of panels, speakers and performances.
Lake Lure & Rutherford County Guide
Order a free copy of the award-winning travel guide to the Rutherford County foothills that includes Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton, Forest City and much more!
Tumblestone Waterfall Tours
Get picked up at your accommodation in the Asheville area for a guided, half-day waterfall excursion that will take you to three impressive waterfalls in two protected forests. Plus, ride on a very scenic portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Licensed & Insured.