Asheville, NC Visitor Center 2013
Downtown Asheville, North Carolina
Recreational & Historical Areas = Sightseeing

Blue Ridge Parkway

America’s Favorite Drive

The Parkway in North Carolina is overall higher in elevation and more spectacular in the natural history that is preserved along the way. The Grandfather Mountain corridor serves as a refuge for relic populations of plants. Remote natural areas and dramatic views less affected by human presence dominate the visitors' experience south of Asheville. Biological diversity is best understood here as a product of varied geology and topography. Cultural history stories also come into play with isolated cabins and magnificent country estates in close proximity. Visitors begin to realize how the Parkway has influenced change in the region.Map

Mount Mitchell State Park

Near Asheville, Mt. Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi

There are a few places in the world that still stand apart from the ordinary. Rising more than a mile high, surrounded by the gentle mist of low-hanging clouds, Mount Mitchell State Park is one of these extraordinary places. About a 45 minute drive from Asheville.Map

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Craggy Gardens

Near Asheville, Craggy Gardens with visitor center, hiking trails and picnic area

These high elevation summits are home to spectacular floral displays. June and July are usually prime times to view the pink and purple blooms of rhododendron, but don’t despair if you miss the peak bloom. Violets, blackberry, May-apple, and Turkscap lily burst onto the scene with color in this high-altitude portion of the ParkwayMap

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Mount Pisgah

Near Asheville, Mt. Pisgah offers a wide variety of activities with lodging and restaurant

Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, camping and the Mount Pisgah Inn make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain and thousands of surrounding acres was originally purchased by industrialist George Washington Vanderbilt in the late 1800s while building the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Vanderbilt used the property as a private hunting retreat for family and friends.Map

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Chimney Rock State Park

An must see North Carolina State Park

Chimney Rock State Park is the natural fulfillment of your trip to the mountains. Take a deep breath of refreshing mountain air, become invigorated by our hiking trails, and let your cares fade away in the cool mists of Hickory Nut Falls. This is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and spend time with family and friends. The Park, located 25 miles southeast of Asheville, North Carolina, offers the best of the mountains in one place-spectacular 75-mile views, hiking trails for all ages, a 404-foot waterfall, a variety of special events and much more. Take Hwy 74-A east. 828-625-9611 Map

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Sliding Rock recommends spending the day with your kids at Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest

Test your sense of adventure at this popular natural water slide fueled by 11,000 gallons of water a minute! Wear old jeans or shorts for the 150-foot long ride down slick rock into a six-foot-deep pool of chilled mountain water. And for safety's sake, there's a life guard or two watching the fun and aiming to keep it that way. 1-800-648-4523 or 828-877-3265

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Vance Birthplace

Vance Monument is located at Pack Square in Downtown Asheville

This pioneer farmstead, tucked in the Reems Creek Valley, features the birthplace of Zebulon Baird Vance. The five-room log house--reconstructed around original chimneys--and its outbuildings are furnished to evoke the period from 1795- 1840. Vance's political career as Civil War officer, North Carolina governor, and U.S. senator is traced at the homestead. Also included is the history of Vance's famous mountain family. 828-645-6706

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Cradle of Forestry recommened day trip destination

The Cradle of Forestry in America is the site of the first forestry school in America & the Biltmore Forest School, founded in 1898 by Dr. Carl Schenck, chief forester for George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate. Explore 15 hands-on exhibits, exhibit hall, shop at the Giving Tree gift shop and get a quick snack at the Forest Bounty cafe. Kids will enjoy participating in the Scavenger Hunt and receiving a surprise gift at the end! 828-877-3130

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Asheville Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens at Asheville, North Carolina is located next to UNC-Asheville

The Botanical Gardens at Asheville, North Carolina is located in one of the three most diverse temperate ecosystems on earth - the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Our collections are primarily native species displayed in both natural settings and in ways designed for ease of examination and beauty. 828-252-5190

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North Carolina Arboretum

Great day trip destination for the whole family

The Arboretum focuses on the education, economic development, research, conservation, and garden demonstration with respect to landscape, architecture, and plant sciences. The 434-acre site is nestled in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the United States. Mountain peaks bound the property's visual perimeters and 1.8 miles of the Bent Creek stream run through the center of the Arboretum. A wide variety of classes and workshops are taught by the staff and other plant experts. Educational programs target all ages and range from bonsai demonstrations to nature walks. 828-665-2492

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the most visited parks in the nation

Ridge upon ridge of endless forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hiker’s paradise with over 800 miles of maintained trails ranging from short leg-stretchers to strenuous treks that may require backcountry camping. But hiking is not the only reason for visiting the Smokies. Car camping, fishing, picnicking, wildlife viewing and auto touring are popular activities.

Black bear in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Most visitors come to the Smokies hoping to see a bear. Some 1,600 bears live in the park. From the big animals like bears, deer, and elk, down to microscopic organisms, the Smokies have the most biological diversity of any area in the world’s temperate zone. The park is a sanctuary for a magnificent array of animal and plant life, all of which is protected for future generations to enjoy.

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Appalachian Trail

There are many loctions to access this trail near Asheville

This world famous trial, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply The A.T., is a 2,174-mile (3,500-km) marked hiking trail in the eastern United States, extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. Along the way, the trail also passes through the states of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. The path is maintained by thirty trail clubs and multiple partnerships.

The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, many of whom who attempt to hike it in its entirety, sometimes non-stop.

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Blue Ridge Corn Maze

Blue Ridge Corn Maze near Asheville

Bring the whole family and find your way out of a maze that traverses six acres of corn field. Open July through October. 828-884-4415

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Biltmore Estate

Alot an entire day for the Biltmore Estate and Gardens, Winery and more

George Vanderbilt created Biltmore Estate in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains more than a century ago as a retreat for family and friends; a place to rediscover gracious hospitality and revel in nature’s beauty. His vision holds true today. Explore Biltmore House, a magnificent 250-room chateau filled with priceless art and antiques. Stroll through century-old gardens designed by America’s first landscape architect. Savor award-winning wines and taste our chefs’ creations using estate-raised foods. Enjoy our 8,000 acres of forests, farmlands, and rivers on bikes, horseback, and rafts. 1-800-543-2961

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Grandfather Mountain

An recommended day trip located aprox. 1-1/2 hrs. from Asheville

Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak in the Blue Ridge mountain range and a globally recognized nature preserve. Stand head and shoulders above the surrounding region, be struck with awe by 360-degree views of mountain ridge after mountain ridge retreating to the horizon, and discover sanctuary for the human spirit. Grandfather Mountain is open daily in winter weather permitting. The hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with ticket sales ending at 4 p.m. 800-468-7325, 828-733-4337

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Linville Caverns

One of the areas nicest caverns

Located in WNC near Grandfather Mountain, Linville Caverns are worth the visit. Deep beneath Humpback Mountain, nature has sculpted a veritable masterpiece in stone. Toiling many centuries, slowly moving ground water has been the primary artist for this creation of underground labyrinths. The water dissolved out an incredible series of rooms and passages. The cavern was discovered in the 1800's by men intrigued by the mystery of fish swimming out of the mountain. Since then, extensive research has been done to acknowledge the history, folklore, geology and biology of Linville Caverns. The mystery is still alive. 828 756-4171 or 800-419-0540

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WNC Nature Center

The Nature Center's Petting Zoo and Barn in Asheville

The WNC Nature Center is 40-acres of animals in their native Southern Appalachian Mountain habitats. The center provides an opportunity to learn, to touch and to know our rich natural heritage through educational and interactive exhibits. The Nature Center facility offers animals, concessions, gift shop and restrooms. 828-298-5600

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Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

With the romance and mystique of an era gone by, guests on board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will enjoy scenic train journeys across fertile valleys, into tunnels and through river gorges in a spectacular region called The Great Smoky Mountains. This section of western North Carolina offers a wide array of ever changing vegetation and fantastic landscapes. 828-488-0427

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Oconaluftee Indian Village

Basket weaving at the Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, one hour from Asheville

Here in the Oconaluftee Indian Village, it’s 1750. You’ve been taken back two centuries before your birth, and the old Cherokee ways are alive all around you. Like many well-established towns of any era, Oconaluftee Village has a new neighborhood and an older section. In the new neighborhood, house construction echoes the hewn-log homes of local white settlers, complete with porch and storage loft. In the older section, you see the type of home De Soto’s band found here in 1540. 828-497-2315

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Lake Lure Beach & Tours

Covered tour boat at Lake Lure near Asheville

Discover a beach surrounded by the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Welcome to the Beach at Lake Lure. Relax under the sun, float on the water, build sand castles with your children, or picnic with friends and family. These are just a few of the simple pleasures of the Beach at Lake Lure. For a soaking good time visit our water park, a place which brings out the child in all of us. Soaking games, a water slide, water cannons and the water wars make the water park wet fun. Relax on one of our covered tour boats while your skipper guides you past local attractions and landmarks such as the locations used in filming the popular Dirty Dancing and learn about the natural and cultural history of Hickory Nut George, home to Lake Lure, North Carolina. 877-386-4255

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Asheville Hot Air Balloons

Experience beauty and adventure with the oldest hot air balloon company of Western North Carolina. Located just minutes from dowtown Asheville, they offer one-hour flights in and around the Great Smoky Mountains. 667-9943

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