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Nantahala Outdoor Center
NOC's big Nantahala River campus offers rafting, zip lines, treetop adventures, paddleboards, hiking, biking, fishing and more for the whole family. It's like Disneyland for lovers of the outdoors! Near Bryson City.
3-Mile Waterfall Hike, DuPont State Forest
(3 miles, moderate) Our most popular waterfall hike takes you to Hooker, Triple and High Falls in DuPont State Recreational Forest. Take a picnic! Since it's so beautiful, expect big crowds on nice weekends.
(3 miles round-trip, moderate) This gorgeous 70-ft. waterfall along the Blue Ridge Parkway (Milepost 339), near Linville Falls, is accessed by a very scenic, loop woodland hiking trail.
Ski & See Package, Carolina Mornings
With each stay between Dec 14-Feb 28, receive a Wolf Ridge ski pass and Biltmore admission (up to $150 value). Choose from 120 unique cabins and rental homes, most pet-friendly. Scenic Wolf Cabins are adjacent to slopes.
Rates: From $100/night studio, $134/night 1BR, $185/night 2BR
Rates: From $100/night studio, $134/night 1BR, $185/night 2BR
Appalachian Trail Day Hikes near Asheville
Take a "walk in the woods" in the most scenic sections of the 2,174-mile Appalachian Trail near Asheville, high in the North Carolina mountains. See our favorite six-day hikes for all fitness levels.
Jack of the Wood
(95 Patton Avenue, downtown Asheville) This lively British Isles-style pub features Irish food items such as bangers and mash, Irish stew, fish and chips along with 18 rotating taps and one cask tap. Sample brews while local musicians fiddle away on Irish reels or picking olde-time mountain music.
Adventure Center of Asheville Mountain Biking
This outdoor playground, just five minutes from downtown, has Kolo Bike Park with five miles of purpose-built trails on rolling terrain, designed for all skill levels. Catch some air at Kolo's pump track and jump line. Bring your bike or rent a mountain bike for use here or any of the North Carolina bike trails. Combine your ride with a zip line canopy tour and a treetops adventure - all on one property.
Highland Brewing Company
Head to Asheville's original craft brewery for great live music venues inside and outside, along with their tasting room with 15 of their brews on tap. You can tour the brewery, too.
Since the late 1890s, tourists have flocked to this tiny railroad town of 700 residents. Main Street has many longtime businesses, including fantastic galleries and restaurants. A must stop is the 1899 Pace's "old time" General Store that is part museum. Since 1892 is Thompson's Store and Ward's Grill. Learn about the Saluda Grade at the Depot. Raft and tube on the Green River.
Black Balsam Knob
(1-10 miles, moderate) For sweeping 360-degree views, hike across these bald mountaintops. Almost entirely devoid of trees above 6,000 ft., the summit is more reminiscent of New England than North Carolina. Black Balsam Knob is part of the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail, so you can hike as far as you want. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 420.
Biltmore Package, Cumberland Falls B&B
Stay at this romantic, historic B&B near downtown, just 3 miles from Biltmore. Package includes two nights accommodations, two-course breakfast each day, and a pair of Biltmore tickets good for both days. April-September.
Downtown's quaint old buildings, brick sidewalks, galleries and general store take you back to a more leisurely time. Each summer, Folkmoot U.S.A. attracts entertainers from all over the world. The Museum of NC Handicrafts is housed in the historic Shelton House. On summer Friday nights, come down for the Mountain Street Dances.
Gallery of the Mountains
Located inside The Omni Grove Park Inn, this gallery features American handmade crafts by more than 100 local and regional artists of the Southern Appalachians. Be sure to visit their sister shop, Grovewood Gallery, located across the street in Grovewood Village. 290 Macon Avenue.
310 ART Gallery
See the work of 25 local artists in this large gallery in the River Arts District featuring contemporary painting, sculpture, mixed media, jewelry and photography. Plus, see studios of five resident artists working and demonstrating daily. And take a big variety of workshops. Open Monday-Saturday. 191 Lyman Street.
The Omni Grove Park Inn Dining
Four restaurants! Sunset Terrace serves the finest prime beef and seafood on the outdoor veranda. Blue Ridge Dining Room specializes in farm-to-table comfort cuisine, served a la carte or grand buffet. EDISON Craft Ales + Kitchen focuses on local beer, cocktails and Southern comfort food. Vue 1913 is an American twist on a European style restaurant. 290 Macon Ave.
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.
Jerusalem Garden Cafe
Transport your senses to faraway lands with authentic made-from-scratch Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. On Friday and Saturday nights, enjoy belly dancing and live music. Lunch and dinner every day. See our Jerusalem Garden Cafe feature with pics and video. 78 Patton Avenue.
Greystone Inn Golf, Lake Toxaway
Stay at the luxury Greystone Inn to be able to play the private Lake Toxaway Country Club 18-hole championship golf course. It gets high reviews for its plush fairways and perfectly manicured Bentgrass greens. Master course architect Kris Spence finessed the course across beautiful mountain terrain with 6,418 yards of fairways and Augusta-style approaches that demand pinpoint accuracy. After a round, unwind at the inn with gourmet cuisine, in the spa or on a lake cruise.
Lake Junaluska Golf
Play by a beautiful lake in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains. The 18-hole course is 5,034 yards and par 68. Green fees start at only $15. Stay a few days with a variety of lodging options, from hotels to cabins. Located near Waynesville and Maggie Valley, a 30-minute drive west of Asheville.
Couples Mind/Body Spa Package, Still Point Wellness
This four-hour spa escape for two includes a 90-minute Salt Water Float and a 75-minute Esalen Massage back to back. While you are receiving a massage, your partner is floating; then you switch. Downtown Asheville.
Looking Glass Falls
Roadside 60-ft. waterfall in Pisgah National Forest along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. Enjoy from the parking area or take the steps down for an up-close look. 10 miles from Blue Ridge Parkway.
Militia Muster & Encampment
Experience life in a 18th-century muster camp at Vance Birthplace State Historic Site, 10 miles north of Asheville. Watch the militiamen practice musket drills and learn about county militia, candle making, weaving, campfire cooking and more. Free. 10 AM-4 PM
A Vanderbilt House Party Package, The Inn on Biltmore Estate
Stay in Biltmore's luxury four-star inn to see the elaborate clothing exhibition inside the House on February 8–May 27, 2019. Includes overnight accommodations, Chef's Breakfast Buffet, afternoon tea, admission to the House, premium audio tour, valet parking and estate shuttle.
Maggie Valley Fall Arts & Crafts Show
Meet 100 artisans and crafters from throughout the Southeast with a big variety of art. Outdoors at the Festival Grounds (3374 Soco Road) in the valley. 9 AM-4 PM each day. Free admission and parking.
This historic town in Madison County is nestled between rocky cliffs and French Broad River. This "one street wide and a mile long" town of 889 residents has a Main Street with artists’ studios, galleries, music venues, restaurants, Zuma Coffee and shops. Walk across the river to Blannahassett Island and the Marshall High Studios with many events.
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.
Waynesville & Maggie Valley Visitors Guide
Order the 56-page free "Visit NC Smokies" guide to Haywood County, home to small towns of Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton and Clyde - in the Great Smokies, Pisgah National Forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Hot Nights, Cool Rides Auto Show
One of the largest car shows in the South lines Main Street in Forest City, with a big variety of 400 vehicles including hot rods, motorcycles, model T's and classic Mustangs. Food and live music. Free admission. Cruise-in Friday night starting at 6 PM. Show is Saturday 9 AM-8 PM.
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.
I-26 Scenic Highway
This is the only interstate section in the state to be selected as a scenic byway. Begins on I-26 at Exit 9 at Mars Hill. As you travel north, there is a scenic overlook offering views of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A second scenic overlook will be on the return route, where the NC Welcome Center is located. The highest point is Sam’s Gap (3,760 feet), where the Appalachian Trail crosses under the highway. Exit at Flag Pond in Tennessee and make a u-turn to return.
Maggie Gets Lit
Kick off the season at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds, 12-6 PM, for a Christmas Market, Santa Strut, clogging, music, ugly sweater contest, best dressed pet, kids zone and food. Gather at 6 PM for the tree lighting. Free. Donations of coats and non-perishable food welcomed.
Concerts on the Creek, Sylva
Kick off Memorial Day Weekend with free outside live music in downtown Sylva 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park, two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries. Family-friendly, bring a chair or blanket.
Children ages 4-10 can now enjoy zip lines at this first-of-a-kind park built for kids. Ride nine zips from 50 to 250 ft. long and explore four climbing elements. It's a self-guided tour with an adult escort for children 4-6. Kids ages 7-10 may zip alone or with an adult. Located just five minutes from downtown at the Adventure Center of Asheville.
All Go West Music Festival
From traditional bluegrass to funk and soul, rock, jazz and hip-hop, enjoy five stages of musical diversity in West Asheville - both outdoors and indoors. Local vendors Shows start each day at noon and continue through 2 AM Saturday and 10 PM on Sunday. Free. 743 Haywood Road.
Hooker Falls, DuPont State Forest
Located near Triple Falls, it is an easy 1/2-mile roundtrip stroll from the parking area. While it's only 12 ft. tall, it's wide and cascades into a beautiful pool that is a popular swimming spot.
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.
WNC Bigfoot Festival
A quirky festival that celebrates the legendary Sasquatch, held in downtown Marion 36 miles east of Asheville. In addition to Bigfoot-themed items and local crafts, talk with sighters from across the country with evidence that it exists. Calling contest too!
Totally 80s Retro Ski Weekend
Beech Mountain Ski Resort will bend the space-time continuum for a righteously rad celebration with live 80s music nightly, retro skiing daily and plenty of throwback activities in between.
Picturesque Main Street has many local shops, restaurants, galleries, brewery, museums and favorite O.P. Taylor toy store. Big events include the White Squirrel Festival, 4th of July celebration, Brevard Music Festival and Halloweenfest. This is the Land of the Waterfalls with hiking, biking and famous Sliding Rock.
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.
Nantahala National Forest
The largest national forest in North Carolina (531,286 acres) covers much of the western tip of the state. Find a wealth of outdoor activities, including whitewater on the Nantahala River, waterfalls and plenty of scenic views.
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!
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.
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.
Experience the sights, sounds, music, pageantry, colorful costumes, food, art and extraordinary talent of Latin America. Pack Square Park, Downtown Asheville. 12-8 PM. Free admission.
Labor Day Weekend Events
Find Labor Day Weekend things to do and events in the NC mountains in and near Asheville for a great holiday getaway.
Hickory Nut Gap Farm
Take a tour of this working farm between Asheville and Chimney Rock with animals, store, deli, barn dances and butchery. It's a great picnic spot. Many events throughout the year.
Road to Nowhere Hike
(3.2 miles, moderate) This loop hike in the Smokies includes a 1,200-ft. tunnel at the end of Bryson City's Lakeview Drive, known locally as the "Road to Nowhere." Lakeshore Trail starts here too, a 35-mile long trek to Fontana Lake Dam.
Mill Vill Fest
First ever festival is this abandoned Henry River mill village near Morganton, film location for The Hunger Games. Fundraiser to save the village. Music, food trucks, beer/wine and behind the scenes tours. Free admission. 12-4 PM. GPS Address: 4255 Henry River Road, Hickory
Space Day at PARI
Explore this former NASA campus hidden in Pisgah National Forest that is now a research and educational center for space and science. Tours, star gazing, minerals, NASA artifacts, meteorites, hands-on exhibits and more for all ages. Free admission. 10 AM-11 PM.
25 Guided Tours & Experiences
Take a guided tour for sightseeing, art, wildlife, history, food, beer, waterfalls, wellness and more in Asheville and western North Carolina. See our list of favorites.
Order the free, 48-page Hendersonville Visitor Guide for plenty of detailed information about things to do in Henderson County, just south of Asheville. Home of DuPont State Forest & Sierra Nevada Brewing.
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!
Living Alchemy Ayurveda
Find optimal wellness through ancient wisdom with Ayurvedic health consultations, clinical massage, yoga therapy, and cleanse and renewal programs. They specialize in women’s health, digestive health, and pain management.
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. See many things to do with our detailed insider's guide!
Early Girl Eatery
A local's favorite in Asheville since 2001, featuring area farmers from day one. Southern dishes served in a friendly diner vibe. Breakfast all day. Meat & two dishes with plenty of veggies. Made from scratch cakes & pies too! Two locations: 8 Wall Street downtown & 444 Haywood Road West Asheville
Fishing in the Smokies
Discover one of the most diverse fishing habitats in the world with four rivers and dozens of mountain streams throughout the Great Smoky Mountains, and the deep, cold waters of Fontana Lake. You can even fish the Tuck in downtown Bryson City. Greatly enhance your chances of catching trophy fish by hiring a professional fishing guide. Find 26 best fishing spots and guide services.
Folk Art Center
Art lovers should not miss the Folk Art Center. It showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians and includes rotating exhibits, live demonstrations and a large gallery shop. Free admission. 8 miles from downtown. Blue Ridge Parkway, at Milepost 382 near the US 70 intersection.