Asheville Travel Guide

You may have heard about the fantastic fall foliage along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but have you ever seen it with your own two eyes? This year hop in the car and head for Asheville, North Carolina to celebrate autumn. With so many views and activities to be savored, it will be hard to know where to begin. If you need a little more temptation, check out the cozy cabins available on VacationRentals.com.

What to Do in Asheville

asheville vacation

Spectacular Sights in Asheville

In Asheville, you can celebrate the beauty of America from many vantage points. One favorite is from the basket of a hot air balloon. There is no better way to seek the vibrant colors of the fall foliage than during a balloon tour. The mountains will be blanketed in all hues of red, yellow, and orange.

Back on the ground in Asheville, there are many others ways to enjoy western North Carolina and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Get in the car for a scenic drive, bike along the Blue Ridge Parkway, or head out for a hike with a gourmet picnic basket. If you’re looking for a little adrenaline rush, soar through the canopy on a ziplining tour. The leaves will be a whirlwind of incredible autumnal color.

The Great Outdoors

If you’re more interested in outdoor activities than the scenery, you won’t be stuck for things to do in Asheville. Sign up for a thrilling white water rafting trip, improve your horseback riding skills as you trot along mountain trails, or reach a new distance goal while cycling. Asheville is an ideal spot for serious athletes and recreational travelers alike.

For a tranquil day spent outdoors, why not give fly-fishing a try? Hiring a guide or renting the equipment and giving it a go will be a fun outing for the whole family. Other popular activities include taking a hike along the Appalachian Trail, renting kayaks for a peaceful paddle, exploring Chimney Rock State Park, and bird watching in the national forests.

Family Fun in Asheville

Almost all outdoor activities are perfect for a day of quality family time. If you’re looking for more to do beyond biking, fishing, and rafting, Asheville also has a few other tricks up its sleeve. The WNC Nature Center is a great introduction to local wildlife including over 60 species of animals. The Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market is the perfect spot to pick up ingredients for a dinner made in the private kitchen of your vacation rentals.

There are several parks in the Asheville area that are great for a family picnic. Pack along items from the farmers market and spend an afternoon at Pack Square Park where you will see a Civil War Monument. Kids will love the opportunity to pick apples at local orchards or explore the North Carolina Arboretum.

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What to See in Asheville

asheville history museum

An Educational Experience

Are you the type of traveler that likes to add a little education to your trip? If you also happen to be a foodie, then Asheville’s cooking schools and food tours are a great fit for you. Start out with a guided walking tour of Asheville that will have you tasting samples from Asheville restaurants, cheese shops, bakeries, microbreweries, local farms, and more. A cooking class can be a fun experience for a group of friends, couple, or even a whole family. Choose between intensive courses that are spread over a couple days or just spend an afternoon perfecting one recipe. Dozens of classes in Asheville will help to expand your cooking creativity.

History in Asheville

Many visitors know about the stunning scenery in Asheville, but are surprised by the number of historic attractions as well. As far back as the 1890s, this area was recognized as an incredible place to visit — and with the elite that traveled here came spectacular architecture. Be sure to visit the Biltmore House, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room Gilded Age mansion. The Asheville Art Museum, Basilica of St Lawrence, and the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site are all must see attractions as well.

If you love wine, don’t miss out on a chance to visit the Biltmore Winery. The historic winery is housed in the former Biltmore Dairy, and offers a historical tour as well as a wine tasting. Art Deco Architecture in Asheville is rivaled only by that of Miami Beach and the Antique Car Museum is a favorite attraction as well. Hop aboard the Gray Line Trolley Tour for an introduction to the city or visit the historic Johnson Farm to see how people in the area lived in the 1880s.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Asheville

asheville shopping

Ready, Set, Shop

OK, so you planned a trip to the beautiful mountainous region of western North Carolina, but what’s wrong with a little shopping on the side? In downtown Asheville you will find boutiques, antique shops, markets, jewelry shops, and more. Pick up a few special items to bring to loved ones at home, and don’t forget a treat for yourself too!

Grove Arcade is a block long shopping and dining destination in Asheville, and the perfect place to start your browsing and shopping. Continue in the historic Biltmore Village, where you will find interesting boutiques in buildings dating back to the 1890s. Favorite shops in Asheville include Lost Objects Found Treasures for antiques, Bellagio for American fashion designs, and Blackbird Frame & Art for work by local artists.

Delicious Dining in Asheville

Travelers will definitely want to spend some time in the private kitchen of their vacation rental using all sorts of local produce from the farmer’s market, but what about the nights where you don’t feel like cooking? Luckily Asheville is home to a wide variety of restaurants, and many of them feature a little bluegrass or jazz music on the side.

If you like to eat at farm-to-table restaurants, you will think Asheville is heaven. Restaurants here specialize in using in season produce and supporting local farmers. Some favorites include Forest Blue Restaurant, Rosetta’s Kitchen, and Bistro 1896. Whether you want to grab a sandwich at a sidewalk café or sit down for an elegant meal, you will find the perfect restaurant in Asheville.

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When to Visit Asheville

Every traveler will have their own favorite season to visit Asheville. The fall is very popular for scenic drives, hot air balloon tours, and zipline adventures. During the winter you can gaze up at snow-covered mountains from a warm cozy cabin. Asheville is also a very festive place to spend the holidays.

In the spring, blossoms and wildflowers draw travelers to Asheville. After a cold winter spent indoors, come to North Carolina for a vacation filled with hiking, biking, and fishing. During the summer, the list of activities in Asheville is endless. There are music festivals, white water rafting excursions, and horseback riding tours that will make your trip special.

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What to Bring to Asheville

On Asheville vacation will be pleasantly relaxed. Pack along comfortable clothes that you can layer for changes in temperature. Hiking boots or study walking shoes are ideal for adventurous days in the mountains. If you’re traveling in the summer, remember your sunscreen and a hat to shade your face. Families should pack along a small first aid kid.

You won’t have to worry about space when you choose a vacation rental over a hotel. So pack along all the outdoors equipment, entertainment for the rental, and kitchen items that you want. Think about whatever makes you feel most at home and bring that along to enjoy on your trip to Asheville.

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Local Services in Asheville

Asheville is a medium-sized city of 70,000 people. The local services here are fantastic, which is one of the reasons why this city was voted one of the top 10 places to live in the United States. Farmers markets will supply your kitchen, gourmet restaurants will satisfy your cravings, and basic services such as ATMs and convenience stores are widely available.

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What to Know About Asheville

Asheville has a great reputation for music. Even if you aren’t into nightlife, enjoying a live jazz performance over dinner is sure to enhance a romantic evening. When making a reservation at a restaurant, enquire as to what time music begins. Another decision to make when visiting Asheville is whether or not to have a rental car. You might not need it while exploring Downtown Asheville, but for exploring the surrounding area, it is essential.

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Getting to Asheville

Located in western North Carolina, Asheville is home to its own airport. Asheville Regional Airport can be reached by many airlines including AirTran, American Airlines, United, Continental, Delta, and US Airways. Most travelers rent a car at one of these airports to explore the area independently.

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Why Asheville Vacation Rentals?

If you are planning a trip to Asheville, you probably want as relaxing a vacation as possible. By choosing vacation rentals over cramped hotels, you are one step closer to achieving this dream. Whether you pick a cozy mountain cabin or a cool downtown condo, you will have the opportunity to live like a local and spread out in the extra space. Your family and friends will thank you from the moment you step over the threshold!

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