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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.
Saturday Nights Lights
Watch horse competitions with the best riders in the country at the impressive Tryon International Equestrian Center with an exciting atmosphere featuring entertainment, food, kids' fun and Venetian carousel rides. Activities start at 5 PM. Arena action 7 PM. 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!
Meet Artists in River Arts District
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 200 artists work in 25 buildings, including old warehouses and factories along the river near downtown and Biltmore.
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge
Walk across one of the most beautiful highway bridges that you'll ever find! It has been transformed into a gorgeous garden with impressive array of plants and flowers, whimsical planters, sculpture and plenty of butterflies.
Arts & Crafts Conference
Perfect for the passionate collector or those just interested in the Arts and Crafts period. The three-day agenda includes lectures, small group discussions, special exhibitions, book exhibits, a contemporary crafts show and the finest of the antiques shows devoted to the Arts and Crafts period. Get advance tickets!
Best 40 Fall Festivals & Events
September & October: Enjoy the cooler days of autumn with a big variety of events and outdoor festivals in Asheville and western NC towns. See our fall color foliage forecast for the best places to see the changing leaves.
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.
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.
20 Winter Hikes Near Asheville
Hiking during the winter has many advantages - including better views thanks to leafless trees, few fellow hikers, no bugs, brilliant skies with more distant views and cool temps. See our top places for winter hikes in the Blue Ridge & Smoky 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.
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.
Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway
(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.
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
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.
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.
Waynesville Lighted Christmas Parade
Enjoy the illuminated evening Christmas Parades down the historic Main Street in downtown Wayneville starting at 6 PM with 120+ entries.
Tryon Beer Fest
A festive time with outdoor oyster roast, games, live music and great selection of craft beers and ciders. Downtown Tryon. 12-6 PM. Tickets: $30/person through August. $35 after Sept 1. $40 at event. Tickets capped at 1,000.
Housed in a 118-year-old house in charming Biltmore Village, the Corner Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Open 7 days a week. Cool, comfortable, with farm-to-table cuisine and cocktails. A favorite since 2004. Great patio! 3 Boston Way.
Visit 20 farms in the Asheville area that are not normally open to the public and see what happens behind the scenes. Presented by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP), farms are located in many counties. 12-5 PM. Passes $30/car in advance, $40/car day of.
Sensibilities Spa at the Hilton
Located in the Hilton Asheville at Biltmore Park, enjoy a full range of luxurious treatments including massages, facials, body wraps, manicures and pedicures performed in a beautiful and distinctive environment. Their Eminence organic treatments are customized according to your specific needs.
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.
7-Mile Waterfalls Hike, DuPont State Forest
(7 miles roundtrip, strenuous) See three waterfalls on this hike in DuPont State Forest: High Falls, Triple Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Or you can mountain bike most of it on old logging roads. Extend the hike about 1.5 miles to see Hooker Falls, too!
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
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.
Top 90 Art Festivals 2019
See our favorite art festivals, events and shows this year in Asheville and surrounding towns in the western North Carolina mountains.
Life Changing Week, Skyterra Wellness Retreat
Take a week to focus on your own health and well-being. Fitness and culinary experts help you create new habits. All-inclusive rate include daily yoga, fitness, meditation, classes, private room, and chef-prepared meals in the Land of the Waterfalls.
Rate: From $3,150/week
Rate: From $3,150/week
Newfound Gap Road
Drive the very popular U.S. Highway 441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Cherokee. First stop should be the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Mountain Farm Museum. Then drive 18 miles and climb 3,000 ft. to Newfound Gap on the Tennessee border. Many turn around here or drive up to Clingmans Dome. Another option is a hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Asheville is one of the top USA cities for vegan living. Outdoor festival features vegan food, beer, lifestyle vendors and educational speakers in Pack Square Park 11 AM-6 PM. Free admission.
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.
Experience 190 steep, climbing curves in just 12 miles, climbing 1,900 feet in elevation. Take N.C. Highway 226A from U.S. 221 north of Marion to Little Switzerland at the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Diamondback is loaded with switchbacks looping almost 360-degrees, making it extra fun for motorcyclists.
Smoky Mountain Fly Fishing Festival
Downtown Bryson City welcomes vendors to display and demonstrate all types of fly fishing equipment - rods, fly tying, apparel and accessories, kayaks and more. 9 AM-5 PM. Just a few blocks away is the Delayed Harvest stocked section of the Tuckasegee River.
Bridal Veil Falls, DuPont State Forest
(4.4 miles roundtrip hike, moderate) This beautiful 120-foot waterfall is near High Falls and other DuPont Forest falls and lakes. Hike or bike to it. Many hike combinations due to a network of trails.
Barns of Madison County
Drive the country roads of Madison County to see many historic barns preserved by the Appalachian Barn Alliance - five scenic routes take you by farms and mountain views.
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.
Dill Falls and Upper Dill Falls
(1 mile round-trip, easy) Hike to two waterfalls, Upper and Lower Dill Falls, via easy walks from the end of a forest service road deep in Nantahala National Forest. 4.6 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Chimneys Hike, Linville Gorge
(1.5 miles round-trip, moderate) Hike across and through towering rock formations called the Chimneys atop the rim of the spectacular Linville Gorge, starting at the Table Rock trailhead parking area.
Elk River Falls
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.
Find the best places to tube down a river on a hot summer day, including the French Broad River through Asheville, Deep Creek in the Smoky Mountains and Green River Gorge - with rentals and shuttle services.
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.
Conundrum Escape Adventures
Stop in for an intriguing Escape Adventure with local actors and imaginative worlds, and stay for a prohibition era cocktail at their underground Speakeasy under the old Battery Park Hotel in downtown Asheville.
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!
Head over to Sapphire Valley Ski Resort in Cashiers for cheer the drivers of the homemade outhouses down the slopes. 11 AM-3 PM. Free admission.
Fall Events & Festivals
Find our favorite autumn events and festivals during September and October in Asheville and the NC mountains.
Smoke on the Mountain: Sanders Family Christmas
The Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre (SART) annual Christmas show, a southern gospel, blue grass and traditional carol family friendly musical. Thurs-Sat at 7:30 PM and Saturday / Sunday 2:30 PM.
Mountain Glory Festival
Celebrate fall beauty in the mountains with three blocks of festivities along Main Street in Marion, including 140 arts and crafts, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, a 5K walk/run, quilt show, and so much more. Free admission. 9:30 AM-6 PM.
Romance Package, Beaufort House Inn
Stay in this grand, historic B&B near downtown Asheville and romance it up with flowers, champagne and Godiva chocolate truffles. Plus, enjoy a two-course gourmet breakfast, wine reception, free parking and more.
Rate: $84/couple in addition to room
Rate: $84/couple in addition to room
Noble Cider Taproom
(356 New Leicester Highway, Asheville) Watch raw apples arriving for pressing, fresh apple juice being pumped into tanks ready for fermentation or the finished product being put into kegs or bottles. Their 20 taps feature their lineup of crisp and creative hard ciders. Open Wednesday-Sunday.
Shop 'til you drop with a huge variety of stores, galleries and outlets in the Asheville area. Find plenty of local, unique shops with items you won't find anywhere else. See the best areas to hit.
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.
Stand-Up Paddleboard Trips
Find the best places to stand-up paddleboard in and near Asheville on the pristine waters of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rent SUPs, take lessons and even take a guided river trip. Fun way to see fall color, too!
See the spectacular panoramic view of Linville Gorge at Wiseman's View in Pisgah National Forest, overlooking Hawksbill and Table Rock Mountains. Near Linville Falls.
Bed & Breakfasts
Imagine waking up in a grand home and walking downstairs to the dining room, where you are served a gourmet feast! Feel like royalty and get pampered in one of the many B&Bs in our area. Enjoy a leisurely morning and relax after breakfast, rocking on a porch or by a roaring fire with your coffee. What a way to start the day!
Connect: Beyond the Page 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.
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.
Holiday Sip & Shop, Grovewood Village
Shop at the big gallery and save 10% on all art and craft while enjoying free cider, cookies and wine. Also, watch artist demos, take a free factory tour and get free admission to Antique Car Museum. Asheville. 10 AM-5:30 PM
Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest
This unique three-tier waterfall offers a chance to safely get a close-up view in the middle of three cascades. It's only a one-mile roundtrip hike - and a half mile from High Falls and Hooker Falls.
Elk in Cherokee
Watch majestic elk graze and interact in meadows at the Great Smoky Mountains Oconaluftee Visitor Center and other areas around Cherokee.
Cataloochee Valley Tours
Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains is a special place. Take a guided eco-tour with a naturalist to see the elk on one of their tours: Morning & Evening Elk Eco-Tours, Spring Wildflower Hike or Synchronous Firefly Night Walks. Reservations required.
French Broad River Outfitters
Kayak, canoe, tube or paddleboard down the river through Asheville. Start your trip near downtown at the area's largest paddle shop - with shuttle service, rentals, camping gear, disc golf supplies and more. Three locations along the French Broad River.
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.
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.