Create your customized trip itinerary with this handy planner! Either enter a search term in the box or select a category and see additional options to search. Click "Add to My Favorites" to add to your list. At any time, click the "View My Favorites" button below to see your list of favorites. Enjoy!
View My Favorites
Fall Events & Festivals
Find our favorite autumn events and festivals during September and October in Asheville and the NC mountains.
Unforgettable Dining at Mountain Magnolia Inn
While the setting is elegant and the food exceptional at this TripAdvisor 5-Star restaurant, the atmosphere is relaxed and the dress is casual. Cuisine features herbs grown in the Inn's garden and mostly organic ingredients. It makes a perfect evening after a soak at the nearby hot springs. Reservations recommended. 35 miles north of downtown Asheville at 204 Lawson Street, Hot Springs.
This gorgeous lake in Graham County is mostly surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest. Swim, boat, camp and fish in the pristine waters, near Robbinsville.
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.
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.
Memorial Day Weekend Events
See our favorite things to do and the best events and festivals over Memorial Day Weekend in Asheville and the surrounding mountain towns.
Arts & Crafts Drive-About Tour
Take a free self-guided driving tour of the galleries and working studios of Graham and Swain Counties and buy arts and crafts directly from the artist. Pick up a map at the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center near Fontana Lake and Robbinsville. 10 AM-5 PM.
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.
Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival
Held on the Village Green in the middle of Cashiers at peak color time, see the works of 100+ artists while enjoying live music and great food. The free festival is open 10 AM-5 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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, meteorites, hands-on exhibits and more for all ages. Free. 9 AM-4 PM.
Old-Time Plowing and Folkways
Take a time-warp at the Cradle of Forestry to the days of the Biltmore Forest School. Meet homesteaders and watch their draft horses plow the heritage garden. Then take a turn at it yourself. Living history guides bring traditional Blue Ridge culture to life. 9 AM-5 PM. $6/person, children under 16 are free.
Cherokee Indian Parade
Watch the big parade that kicks off the Cherokee Indian Fair, with a two-mile caravan through town that begins at 4 PM at Harrah's and ends at the Fair Grounds. Free.
BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours
Take the only brewery tour in Asheville led by a certified beer expert! Learn how beer is made and how to taste it. Get special access to Asheville's breweries and learn the stories behind the pints. On the short walks between breweries, your guide will share stories of the early days of Asheville.
Top 30 Hotels & Resorts
Find the best hotels in Asheville and western North Carolina, including luxury resorts, limited service hotels and full-service country inns. Stay downtown, near Biltmore and the Blue Ridge Parkway, or in one of the cool small towns throughout the mountains.
Asheville Art Studio Tours
Get a behind-the-scenes look inside artist studios in the River Arts District near downtown Asheville and Biltmore. These small, intimate, artist-led walking tours last about two hours. They also offer custom, hands-on and VIP art tours.
Organic Growers Conference
The Annual Spring Conference by Organic Growers School at UNC Asheville features 70+ sessions per day: regionally-focused workshops on growing, permaculture, homesteading, and urban farming. Trade show, seed exchange, kid’s program. From $49/person per day, $99/weekend
Stop Sip Savor Wine Hop
Visit four Catawba Valley Wineries near Morganton (near I-40) and get a commemorative wine glass, and enjoy wine and cheese pairings. 1-5 PM. Advance tickets $25 - usually sells out.
Bold Rock Hard Cider
(72 School House Road, Mills River) The biggest craft cider maker in the Carolinas has its cidery and tasting room just south of Asheville near the Sierra Nevada Brewery. Food truck and big outdoor picnic area. Open Mon-Thurs 2-9 PM, Fri-Sat 12-10 PM, Sun 12-9 PM.
Asheville Community Theatre
The longest running community theatre group in town with superb productions of comedies, dramas and musicals in their theatre downtown. A local favorite for sure!
Since 1982, Asheville's largest high-energy dance club is renowned throughout as the epicenter for creativity, diversity and entertainment. Don't miss their midnight show, premiering the best drag anywhere. Dance the night away with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
The closest ski resort to downtown Asheville with 15 runs, terrain park and 4 lifts. Lift ticket specials: Tuesdays are BOGO, on Wednesdays 1/2 off for women and on Thursday nights college students $15. Located in Madison County just 5 miles from I-26, 30 minutes north of Asheville
Linville Falls Hikes
(1 to 4 miles roundtrip, moderate) This is probably the most photographed waterfall in North Carolina. Hike to one or all five viewpoints via two trails that leave the Visitors Center. Only one of the trails is strenuous, and you can hike to all five spots with a four mile hike. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 316.
Hard Candy Christmas
Big arts and crafts show with 100+ area artists, demos and music inside the Western Carolina University Center in Cullowhee. 10 AM-5 PM both days. $5/adults
Pisgah Forest Pride Day
Join the fun and help with work projects in Pisgah National Forest in the Looking Glass area - including trail maintenance, repairs, plantings and more (sign up in advance), coordinated by The Pisgah Conservancy. 9 AM-2 PM.
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.
Little Bearwallow Trail
(6 miles roundtrip, strenuous) This new trail for 2017 in the Hickory Nut Gorge area climbs 1,800 feet in elevation by cliffs, 100-foot cascade and panoramic views from Wildcat Rock. Located between Asheville and Chimney Rock.
NC Travel Guide & Map
Order the printed, official 2018 North Carolina Travel Guide, a great state highway map for the car, Civil War Trails, winery guide or Access NC guide for travelers with disabilities - all are free!
(2.5-mile round-trip hike, easy) The cascade in Panthertown Valley in Nantahala National Forest is small, but really big on beauty with a great pool for a splash.
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.
Little Switzerland Places to Stay
Find hotels, cabins and B&B inns in charming Little Switzerland, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, including favorite mountain retreats that have been there for generations.
Gran Fondo Bike Race
Join the fun of this cycling event for various levels of experience for a 30, 60 or 100-mile scenic course, starting and ending in the River Arts District in Asheville. It's a fundraiser for Friends of the Smokies.
Smallest Post Office in USA
See the country's smallest post office, located roadside near Cashiers and open every day. Fun photo spot! Also see nearby Zachary-Tolbert House.
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.
River Arts District
Some 185 working artists have set up shop in the River Arts District. Drive a little, walk a little to visit studios and galleries. Find an amazing variety of art and see how the artists create it. It's just a few miles from downtown Asheville and Biltmore Estate.
(2 miles roundtrip, moderate) A scenic hike takes you to this waterfall in the Highlands area, deep in the Nantahala National Forest. You'll see two separate cascades, so you get two waterfalls for one hike.
Best of the Blue Ridge Scenic Loop Drive
See the best mountain views, waterfalls and gardens, along with shopping and sampling of local beers, with this 60-mile loop drive that starts and ends in Asheville. Includes Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Still Point Wellness
A spa dedicated to guiding you through an inner experience. Reconnect to your body's wisdom through a unique offering of services including Salt Water Floatation (sensory deprivation), Esalen® massage and bodywork, somatic psychology and yoga therapy.
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.
South Mountains State Park
(2-40 miles, easy, moderate, strenuous) This state park near Morganton has 40 miles of hiking trails. Our favorite is High Shoals Falls 2.7-mile loop trail to a beautiful 60-foot waterfall. Combine several trails for a much longer hike.
Top 50 Summer Events & Festivals
June, July, August: From street festivals to outdoor concerts, check out our top summer picks for Asheville and the surrounding NC mountain towns. Most are free.
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.
Mid-Week Savings, Hill House B&B
Stay Sunday-Thursday and get 1/3 off all nights after your first night. Or extend a weekend stay and get 1/3 off your third night. This historic B&B near downtown Asheville has hearty breakfasts and many amenities including Jacuzzi tubs. Excludes holiday periods.
Rate: From $109/night
Rate: From $109/night
Summer Arts and Crafts Market
More than 40 local artists display and demo their arts and crafts in artsy Dillsboro, 10 AM-4 PM. Plus, live music, food and hands-on activities.
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.
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. Benefits their historic school renovation. 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission.
The Big Crafty
Local's favorite art & craft show with 170 hand-selected local artists. Local food & beer too. Inside the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville (87 Haywood St). Saturday 1-8 PM ($5/person) and Sunday 11 AM-6 PM (free).
Hear and feel the beat at the weekly drum circle every Friday night in downtown in Pritchard Park. And dance the night away!
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.
Sierra Nevada’s Oktoberfest
Join a festive evening at their big brewery south of Asheville, with music, glassblowing, stache competition, souvenir beer stein, special beers and a German-inspired feast. 5-10 PM. $30-$45/person. Limited tickets, buy online. Free shuttles from Asheville and Hendersonville.
Jack of the Wood
Since opening in 1996, this has been one of Asheville’s favorite places to relax, listen to music and enjoy fresh, locally sourced pub fare. The original home of Green Man Brewing, the pub specializes in hand-crafted English ales and weekly traditional jam sessions in a charming old world atmosphere. Open until 1 AM weekdays, 2 AM weekends. 95 Patton Avenue.
Lake Lure Cabin Rentals
Find a big variety of cabins, condos and other vacation rentals at Lake Lure - as presented by Rutherford County Tourism.
Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair, Cashiers
See works of 90 fine artisans from the Southeast on the Village Green in Cashiers, 10 AM-5 PM. Find ironwork, woodcraft, textiles, cakes, jams, pottery and more. Free admission, but donations accepted.
Romantic Getaways to a Bed & Breakfast
For a special vacation that will create lifetime memories, get pampered at a 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.
Shoji Spa & Lodge
Take a break from wedding planning and bring some friends or enjoy some quality time with your new spouse at the only Japanese-style bath house and spa on the east coast. Soak in your own private outdoor hot tub and enjoy a variety of massage and spa services. It's an idyllic spot for getting away from it all with some well-deserved, therapeutic pampering. Located just 6 miles from downtown Asheville.
Saturday Night Lights
Watch horse jumping and riding with the best jockeys in the country at the impressive, new Tryon International Equestrian Center with an exciting atmosphere featuring music, food, kids' activities and Venetian carousel rides. Events vary each week. Free admission.
Lake Lure & Rutherford County Welcome Center
Stop by for free travel guides, brochures and advice for fun in Lake Lure, Chimney Rock and Rutherford County. See a display of movies filmed here, including Dirty Dancing and Last of the Mohicans. The “Map Room” includes a wall-sized timeline of local heritage with folklore, local culture, and topography map of Hickory Nut Gorge. Open daily! 2932 Memorial Highway (US-64/74), Lake Lure
Top 35 Bed & Breakfasts
See our favorite and highest reviewed Asheville bed and breakfast inns in the western North Carolina mountains near Biltmore Estate and the Blue Ridge Parkway. All have luxury accommodations with a long list of amenities. Innkeepers are delighted to help with special occassions and requests.
Cider Wine & Dine Weekend
Visit Hendersonville area cideries and wineries for many special events (most free) including special hard cider & wine tastings, cooking demos, food truck festival, dinners, orchard hikes, music, tours and more.
Twisted Laurel Eatery and Lounge
Enjoy fresh Italian and Greek dishes with an American twist. Their downtown Asheville location (130 College Street) has dog-friendly outdoor dining and an upstairs bar with music. Also find them in artsy Weaverville at 10-A South Main Street.
Biltmore Industries Tour
Take a guided tour of historic Biltmore Industries at Grovewood Village and time-warp back to closing day in 1981 as you see untouched rooms with looms loaded with wool. April-November. Also, visit their Homespun Museum and Car Museum.
Head to Maggie Valley to celebrate mountain country living with music, crafts, big car show, moonshine and TV celebrities.
Fontana Lake & Dam
Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, enjoy fishing, boating, camping and swimming in this beautiful lake. Or walk the Appalachian Trail across the highest dam east of the Rockies.
First Day Hikes
Go to a state park near Asheville for a free guided hike with a forest ranger - a great way to begin a resolution to get outdoors for exercise and education. Most are easy trails, perfect for all ages and fitness levels.
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.
Cataloochee Ski Area, Maggie Valley
Located at 5,400 ft. in the Great Smoky Mountains, their 18 slopes have 100% snowmaking with 5 lifts on 50 acres. Ski and snowboard rentals, packages, kids & adult school and nearby tubing park. Gentle slopes for novices while seasoned experts take on Upper Omigosh. Located 40 miles west of Asheville in scenic Maggie Valley.
Upper Whitewater Falls
See the upper section of the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi, plunging 411 ft.! The best part is that you can get a great view with a short walk. The walkway begins at the end of the parking lot and is accessible to wheelchairs. A lower overlook is located at the bottom of 154 wooden steps.
This modest waterfall is dwarfed by the towering cliffs above, creating a majestic setting. And it's an easy walk with other waterfalls nearby (French Broad Falls & Mill Shoals).