Outdoor adventure possibilities never end in Asheville, with four navigable rivers, winter skiing, and all kinds of biking challenges: curvy roads for motorbike, miles of off-road trails for mountain bike, and the Blue Ridge Parkway and great roads for road bike. The area’s reputation continues to grow as an outdoor mecca, with an annual festival devoted strictly to mountain sports and consistent ratings by publications as a top adventure town in the U.S. Soft adventure awaits car travelers and others less willing to hang from the side of a rock for thrills—the Blue Ridge, Great Smoky, and Black Mountains provide the perfect backdrop for spring color and fall leaf viewing and easy hiking and picnic facilities abound off the Parkway.
Bountiful attractions suit many ages and interests, with George Vanderbilt’s mansion, Biltmore Estate, the best known of the batch. But, did you know there are railroads, nature preserves, and even a casino? Be sure to check the list for off-the-beaten-path attractions like the Blue Ridge Corn Maze and other undiscovered treasures sure to delight and surprise. Museum attractions are plentiful, with the Thomas Wolfe Memorial, the home place of one of America’s beloved writers, as well as an art museum and many other history and cultural centers.
If you seek it, you will find it. Downtown bustles with the energy of an active nightlife well after the sun goes down. At least seven theatre companies as well as a number of independent stages and venues lead the way in arts entertainment, but an art house movie theatre, microbreweries, and mountain music at many turns in the road round out the possibilities.
And, it doesn’t stop.
- Relax, rest, and rejuvenate in Asheville at one of many spas that have sprung up over the last few years.
- This city rates, year after year, as one of the nation’s top arts towns, and you will not find a higher concentration of artists and crafters many places other than Western North Carolina.
- Tee off from the mountains at one of the area’s many golf courses, several of which were designed by well-known designer Donald Ross. Stop by the Visitor Center to purchase a valuable golf coupon book.
- Family adventure awaits with mini golf, a climbing center, paint-your-own pottery shops, and even a place called Fun Depot, just for kids. Two downtown science museums specialize in children young and old, and get out of the city for down to earth experiences at the Cradle of Forestry or Vance Birthplace. Don’t forget that some of the best family fun can’t be bought—take time to splash in the water at Sliding Rock or go stargazing on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Just about every weekend from spring until fall, Asheville and its surrounding towns play host to all kinds of festivals from Bele Chere, the southeast’s largest outdoor street festival, to the Mountain Dance & Folk Festival which celebrates the area’s rich heritage.