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Small Town Christmas, Banner Elk
Many events during this weekend in our top ski town of Banner Elk. Tree lighting and variety show on Friday evening. Saturday highlights include a 5k, Alpaca Farm tours, Parade of Lights at 6 PM. Tate-Evans Park has train rides, luminaries and light shows. Take home a Christmas Tree from a farm.
Monarch Butterfly Migration
See the amazing Monarch Butterflies as they migrate 2,000+ miles each fall to Mexico, passing through the Asheville area in September and early October. Find the best spots to see them along the high passes of the Blue Ridge Parkway and special events to learn more about them.
Bennett Classics Antique Auto Museum
Named “Best Museum in the Nation” by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), see a big variety of 70 vehicles representing decades of history. Located in Forest City and Rutherford County.
Signal Ridge Marina, Lake Glenville
Explore gorgeous Lake Glenville high in the mountains near Cashiers on an easy-to-operate pontoon and tritoon boat, perfect for both novice and experienced boaters. They are open April-October and also rent tubes, paddleboards, skis, wakeboards and kneeboards.
Sweet Retreat, Shoji Spa
3 hours of bliss begins with a one-hour private outdoor salt tub with a box of locally crafted aphrodisiac chocolates and bottle of Champagne. Then, relax with a side-by-side 90 minute couples massage with Japanese Shobu oil, plus your choice of body brushing or foot reflexology.
Rate: $240/single, $470/couple
Rate: $240/single, $470/couple
Carmel's Kitchen and Bar
With a prime corner location in the beautiful Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville, find superior local and organic produce and meats for a bounty of fresh flavors with contemporary style. Lunch features soups, salads, hand-tossed pizzas and burgers. Dinner offerings range from mussels and calamari to locally sourced steaks and pork, along with signature cocktails and local brews. Prime outdoor dining patio. 1 Page Avenue.
This beautiful waterfall setting is an easy hike in Pisgah National Forest. It's located in a lush cove off NC Highway 215, about 10 miles north of Highway 64 and 6.7 miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Visit western North Carolina's top contemporary fine art gallery specializing in museum quality glass sculpture by US and international artists. They curate an ever changing collection of exquisite glass sculpture as well as select works in other media. 29 Biltmore Ave, downtown Asheville
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.
Indian Lakes Scenic Byway
This 60-mile drive takes you by Fontana and Santeetlah Lakes in far western North Carolina, through the historic communities of Stecoah and Robbinsville, in rural Graham and Swain counties.
Since 2012, they have delighted with classics done right, with a touch of cutting edge. Unwind with carefully crafted cocktails made with in-house elixirs, shrubs and syrups. Open 7 days a week for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch (Sat/Sun 10-3). 48 Biltmore Avenue, downtown Asheville.
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.
Perhaps the most famous motorcycle drive in the East, drive 318 curves in 11 miles. Located about 90 miles from Asheville, the Tail of the Dragon crosses Deals Gap at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line on U.S. 129.
Take a Tour
Go on a guided tour or experience to add special memories to your visit. Tour the town on a purple bus or a beer cycle. Go on a hike, see waterfalls, watch elk or sample local foods. See our Top 25.
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.
Bryson City Lodging: Cabins, B&Bs & Hotels
Find a wide variety of lodging accommodations in Bryson City and the Great Smoky Mountains, including log cabin rentals, hotels, bed and breakfast inns and campgrounds.
Located inside a 120+-year-old Victorian house in Historic Biltmore Village. It's a popular spot with hand-crafted and flavorful food, such as corned beef hash, bagel and lox, breakfast salad, johnny cakes, biscuits & gravy, or a healthy granola bowl. Breakfast served 7:30 -10:30 AM Monday-Friday. Weekend brunch is 9 AM-3 PM. 3 Boston Way.
This Backcountry Area of Nantahala National Forest is home to many waterfalls. In addition to the popular Schoolhouse Falls, find hikes to Greenland Creek Falls (pic), Wilderness Falls and Frolictown Falls.
Newman's Restaurant, Saluda
Located inside the historic Orchard Inn, their farm-to-table prix-fixe menu changes weekly, with much of the produce from their organic garden. Enjoy views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and extensive wine list. Make reservations in advance for this special dining experience. 35 miles south of Asheville
Extended Stay Discount, The Windover Inn B&B
Spend three nights or more at this historic inn in Waynesville and take advantage of $10 off/night for a room and $15 off/night for a suite.
Rate: From $110
Rate: From $110
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.
Adelaide Spa & Salon
Their tranquil and meditative environment near downtown provides therapeutic massages, facials and body therapies in an elegant and tranquil environment, along with enhancing services for skin, nails and waxing delivered with boutique quality products by leading cosmetologists and estheticians. They can accommodate groups of all sizes with well-deserved pampering and relaxation therapies and customized packages.
Red, White & Bluegrass Festival
Go to one of the top bluegrass music festivals in the South, with 20+ bands including some national headliners. Camping, food, crafts and more in a beautiful park in Morganton. Fireworks on the 4th. Daily admission starts at $15/advance. Event pass starts at $25/person.
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!
Find some of the most spectacular scenery with many hikes along the rim to peaks like Table Rock, Hawksbill and Shortoff. And don't forget Linville Falls!
Big Band Dance Weekend
Swing dance away the weekend at the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on Friday & Saturday nights. Two night package from $918/couple.
Fall Events & Festivals
Find our favorite autumn events and festivals during September and October in Asheville and the NC mountains.
Skinny Dip Falls
Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway via a 3/4-mile hiking trail, Skinny Dip has beautiful waterfalls, a jumping off rock and several areas to soak and wade in very cool mountain waters.
Hook, Line and Drinker Festival
Celebrating the WNC Fly Fishing Trail and local breweries, with craft beer vendors, food trucks, fishing guides and vendors, and live music 12:30-4:30 PM at Bridge Park in downtown Sylva (76 Railroad Avenue). Free admission.
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. Saturday:10 AM-4 PM, Sunday: 1-4 PM
This 90-ft. waterfall is privately-owned by a garden club and requires a small admission fee. Located between Saluda and Tryon, it's a must if you are driving on I-26 to/from South Carolina. Ten miles away is the roadside Shunkawauken Falls.
Grandfather Mountain Package, Banner Elk
Stay in your choice of hotel, cabin or B&B in Banner Elk and receive two tickets to walk the Mile High Swinging Bridge, visit the nature museum and see the spectacular views atop this famous peak.
Rates: From $110
Rates: From $110
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.
Falconry Package, Sourwood Inn
Stay two nights at this mountaintop inn on 100 acres, just 10 miles from downtown Asheville, and enjoy a unique falconry experience complete with Rocket Girl (in pic) flying to your glove.
Concerts on the Creek
Unwind on Fridays Memorial Day through Labor Day with live music outdoors in downtown Sylva. Shows are 7-9 PM at the Bridge Park. It's just two blocks from Main Street with shops, restaurants and breweries (come early!). Family friendly with a big variety of music. Bring a chair or blanket. Free.
Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway
Another nationally-recognized scenic drive is this winding 79-mile route that crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway twice (milepost 412 at U.S. Highway 276 and milepost 423 at N.C. Highway 215). The Forest Heritage Scenic Byway is also named the Copperhead Loop by motorcyclists who love all the curves. Stop at waterfalls, hiking trails, Sliding Rock and the Cradle of Forestry. In the photo is Sunburst Falls.
This tiny town of 567 residents is perhaps best known for its hot mineral springs. Located north of Asheville at the junction of the Appalachian Trail (goes right through downtown) and the French Broad River. Hike from town up to Lover's Leap for a great view of the town.
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.
Only 30 minutes from Asheville, experience the renewing power of this magical mountain retreat and certified wildlife habitat. Enjoy clean and thoughtfully designed cabin-like retreat houses or... read more
Tom's Creek Falls
This 80-ft., two-tier waterfall is accessed via an easy hike in Pisgah National Forest (near US Highway 221) north of Marion. It's a great hike for families. One of the few waterfalls with an accessible trail and observation deck for those with walking challenges.
The Market Place
A world-class favorite located on charming Wall Street. Chef William Dissen's inventive menu features seasonal and organic ingredients from area farms, plus an extensive wine list. Recommended by The Food Network, USA Today, The New York Times, Southern Living and more. Live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the bar and lounge. Reservations recommended. 20 Wall Street.
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.
Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway
Mermaid Parade & Festival, Marshall
The legend is that for one day each year, sea creatures and mermaids leave their ocean home and travel the French Broad River to Downtown Marshall. Arts, crafts and music 11-7 PM, seafood cook-off and parade at 6 PM with costumes and lots of water balloons and guns.
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.
STORM Rhum Bar & Bistro
Find a warm, cozy atmosphere where the food and service will delight your senses. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails, ample wine offerings, a selection of local draft beer, an extensive rhum list, and of course, delicious food prepared by Chef Owen McGlynn. Free parking in their private lot downtown. 125 South Lexington Avenue.
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
Pisgah Field School Tours
Explore the natural and cultural wonders of Pisgah National Forest through guided hikes and small tours for waterfalls & wine, stargazing, sunsets and more in the Brevard area, presented by the nonprofit Cradle of Forestry in America Interpretive Association. Custom private tours also.
Asheville Community Theatre
For 70 years, our Community Theatre has been presenting outstanding musicals, comedies and dramas in downtown. Watch the "Mainstage" shows in the 400-seat theatre or a big variety of more adventurous productions in their 50-seat black box theatre called 35below.
Brevard Adventure Guide
Order your free 48-page Adventure Guide for Brevard and Transylvania County, Land of the Waterfalls, with scenic drives, hikes, waterfall map, festivals, art, museums and picturesque Main Street.
7th Night Free, Yellow Rose Rentals
Stay 6 nights and get the 7th free in a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains, including Bryson City, Cherokee, Nantahala River and Fontana Lake. Choose 1-5 bedrooms, variety of amenities. Pet-friendly options too.
Rates: From $125/night
Rates: From $125/night
Holiday Carriage Rides
See our top spots to take a horse drawn carriage ride down Main Streets covered in lights and during specials events near Asheville in western North Carolina during the Christmas season.
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 innovative restaurants, many with outdoor dining. From crafted cocktails to local brews, there's plenty to drink. Forage for food, visit a farm or tour a vineyard.
Morganton Town & Trail Guide
Order a free guide to Morganton and Burke County, located east of Asheville and home to Linville Falls, Lake James & South Mountain State Parks, small towns, scenic drives and hikes to Table Rock and the Linville Gorge.
Stroll this picturesque historic "town" in the city of Asheville near the entrance to Biltmore Estate. Find tree lined streets with trendy, mostly local boutiques, galleries, breweries and restaurants in buildings and cottages built by the Vanderbilts.
Located in the foothills in wine and horse country, this tiny town (population 999) has a quaint historic downtown with a park and mountain views, scenic drive, wineries and Tryon Equestrian Center.
French Broad Ziplines
Explore the great outdoors from the treetops near Hot Springs, just 30 minutes from downtown Asheville. The 10-line, 2-rappel zip line canopy tour traverses a mile of cable, with stunning, long-range mountain views. Create memories of a lifetime, led by expert guides with state-of-the-art gear.
Memorial Day Weekend
Find many events, festivals and our top things to do to kick off summer during the holiday weekend in Asheville and the NC mountains.
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.
Packages & Specials for Asheville & Mountains
Pick a package or special perfect for your vacation, with discounts and travel deals for hotels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, country inns and cabin rentals in the North Carolina mountains.
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.
Elk in Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains
Watch the elk in beautiful Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best time is just before sunset. Take a picnic and tailgate. Also, tour historic buildings or hike.
Pack Square Park
Downtown Asheville's historic public square has been a central focal point since the city's creation in 1797. Spanning from the Vance Monument to the Roger McGuire Green in front of City Hall and the County Building, it's home to many festivals and free events.
Cedar Rock Mountain, DuPont Forest
(4.5 miles loop, moderate) This hike provides wonderful views and dramatic scenery - and it's not difficult. Rising only a few hundred feet above the surrounding plateau, walk across areas of granite with great views.
New American cuisine in a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, located across from Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville (130 College Street) - with additional locations on Leicester Highway and in Weaverville. Each has an outdoor, dog-friendly terrace.
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.
(2.5-mile round-trip hike, moderate) This waterfall in Panthertown Valley in Nantahala National Forest is small, but really big on beauty with a great pool for a splash. Extend your hike to a 5-mile loop for mountaintop views and another waterfall. Popular camping area.
Creative Mountain Food Tours
Take a 2-3 hour guided walking tour of Black Mountain. Enjoy food, beverage and dessert tastings at five or more local and unique eateries, with local history tidbits along the way. Most Saturday afternoons March-November. Also book private tours for 8+ on any day.
Winter Events & Outings
January, February, March: These months are the most serene time of the year in Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains, so it's the perfect time for a romantic North Carolina mountain getaway - maybe a Valentine's escape. See our Top 12 Asheville winter things to do and the best events.
This popular summer swimming hole in Banner Elk includes a white sandy beach, swimming pier and fishing dock. The adjacent Tufts Memorial Park has a bath house and picnic tables. Owned by the Grandfather Home for Children. No admission fee, but they appreciate donations.
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 25 things to do downtown.