See the Best of Asheville in 4 Days
We absolutely loved Asheville, North Carolina—even if the Bluebird didn’t. (The hills were a bit of a struggle.) Luckily, this area is so worth it! Lush landscapes, waterfalls, historic mansions, delicious food and wine … This place has it all.
Here’s how we’d suggest touring Asheville and the surrounding area in just four days.
Pack a picnic lunch and visit the Biltmore, George Vanderbilt’s historic country estate. There’s a lot to see here, so come prepared to stay all day. You can tour the house (well—mansion) itself, plus gardens, a winery, Antler Hill Village, a historic farm, and miles of walking, biking, and hiking trails. There’s also a proper steakhouse for dinner cooked over an open flame.
Top Tip: Parking is limited, tight, and expensive in Asheville! The Biltmore has free parking, and if you bring your bikes, you can easily spend an entire day there.
The botanical gardens in Asheville deserve at least half a day. The North Carolina Arboretum offers 65 acres of cultivated gardens and groomed trails, and features some of the most botanically diverse plants in the region. You can also see one of the best bonsai collections in the United States here.
If you’re a history buff, take the urban trail through town and soak up the town’s fascinating and storied past. Pack Place on Asheville’s Pack Square is a good place to start, but you can pick the trail up at any point.
Asheville is a huge foodie destination, so dedicate lunch or dinner to tasting some of the local cuisine.
Top Tip: Wondering where to eat? Skip Yelp and ask a few locals! You’ll probably hear the name of one or two restaurants come up again and again. Locals can also point you toward whatever you’re in the mood to try.
Get outside! There are two major mountain ranges nearby: the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to take in more scenery than you could possibly visit on foot—the whole thing is 469 miles long.
If hiking is more your thing, here are a few highlights:
- Craggy Pinnacle: Best in early summer, when you can hike through a “tunnel” of rhododendron to the summit for a 360-degree view of the landscape. This hike is only 1.5 miles roundtrip, so it’s an easy walk for all ages.
- Looking Glass Falls: Another super-short area favorite, at only .5 miles roundtrip. It’s a beautiful waterfall with easy roadside access, and the drive up US 276 is gorgeous.
- Appalachian Trail: There are a few different spots to catch the always-popular AT, which runs right through Asheville’s backyard. Max Patch and Nantahala Outdoor Center are a couple of area favorites.
Top Tip: Pick the length of hike that’s right for your family and get out there! Pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it. You can’t beat the views, and there’s enough wilderness to keep you occupied for weeks if you have the time.
Explore some of the smaller towns around the nearby lakes. The German town of Helen is a bit of a drive from Asheville (a couple of hours), but it’s so beautiful it’s been called the Alps of the South. It’s a great place to wander around and visit, and there are other towns like it all around the area.
Top Tip: During the summer season, you can enjoy tubing and rafting in the lakes and rivers in this part of the country.
There you have it—our top tips for seeing Asheville and the surrounding area. What are your favorite spots in and around Asheville? Let us know in the comments!
We just spent last week near Asheville. We did the Biltmore, the Arboretum, Slippery Rock falls and the scenic drive through Pisgah Forest. Totally agree with how beautiful the lush landscape is. It was so refreshing after being out west in desert land for so many weeks! We also visited one of the local farms. Although it was too early to pick apples, we did pick a couple buckets of blackberries at Justice Farms – totally worth the detour.
Samantha Cady says
We live in Brevard, NC! Looking glass falls is literally in our backyard! Sad we missed y’all would have been so cool to see you in our town! Other than hiking our beautiful mountains, our favorite is going up to the parkway and watching the sunsets! Hope enjoyed our town and will come back through one day!
Heath Williams says
Went to Biltmore in 1994 and in 2000. I’m scheduled to go again this December 2021.
Shirley Lewis says
I think the Christmas time at the Biltmore is magical. We were there on October and they were setting up for Christmas .. I sad “ we must go back at Christmas”
Ive been to Biltmore. My kids took me for Mother’s Day. Can’t wait to go back. We live in Knoxville, Tn.
We enjoy KYD so much! Caleb is so funny! Congrats to Carson! Love you T&M and Charley.
What did you do with Charlie for when you were there for the day.?
💙💙💙 the blueridge mountains! We live in Waynesville! Love your Asheville tips! If you have younger kids the WNC Nature center is amazing! Also you do have to drive part of the blueridge parkway! The highest point on the whole parkway is a little past the Waynesville entrance (about 20 mins)
While we’ve driven through Ashville several times we never made it a destination. Thanks for your itinerary, it helped to make it on to our bucket list!
Liz Murphy says
Where is Helen NC? I was intrigued by your description, but I cannot seem to find it. We absolutely love KYD!
Linda LaSelva says
Helen is in the northern part of Georgia.
Connie Manson says
When will you be in DC area?
Deborah Noyes says
Spent so many summers in Higlands during the 60s visiting my grandmother. Even though it has changed a lot since then, it is still a beautiful, charming, SPECIAL place!
Yvonne Hinnant says
Do go back at Christmas…it is so pretty. We live in Winston Salem hate we missed y’all. Note to “Charlie” NC has so many tasty wineries. Check them out.
Bridget and Troy says
The “Evening” Dinner and Biltmore was spectacular. Biltmore makes sure the event is smooth and is run like clockwork!