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!