Before you go anywhere, you want to know … why should I? It’s an excellent question, given the limited travel budget and calendar days we all face. So without further ado, here are 20 excellent reasons to plan a visit to Asheville, NC today.
1. Stunning Natural Beauty
Asheville, North Carolina, is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. These geologic marvels are arguably even more beautiful than other mountains due to the notable compound, isoprene, that their trees release into the air. It creates the blue haze for which the mountain chain is famous.
2. Amazing Food
Did the city trademark the nickname “Foodtopia” because that’s how proud it is of all the wonderful, diverse noshes found in its eateries and on its streets? Why yes, it did. That’s all you need to know about the wealth of burgers, curries, bread, preserves, sandwiches, donuts, confections, ales, sodas … and so on … Asheville has to offer.
3. Adorable Small-Town Feel
One of the best reasons to visit Asheville is its combination of big-city amenities and small-town feel. You can spend a week here and want for nothing, yet feel like you’re visiting cousins in the country.
4. Fresh Air
Fresh air enthusiast? Summer pollen sufferer? Asthma victim? If you’re looking for somewhere to go that won’t trouble the lungs – or simply has that awesome “fresh air feel” – then Asheville is the place to go. According to recent stats, “Asheville is among the top seven cities in the nation ranking among the cleanest for all three pollutant measures.”
5. Outdoor Adventures
When it comes to natural beauty, Asheville offers more than a few mountains, of course. There are hikes, waterfalls, and rafting trips, oh my! If you feel like paying for a tour, you’ll find plenty to choose from. If, on the other hand, your preference is to explore the outdoors yourself, there’s no lack of places to go. It all depends on your sense of adventure.
6. A Downtown to Die For
If you love a downtown that combines history, food, and fun, you’ve found it. The Urban Trail is a good way to get around, so follow this self-guided walking tour for a few hours of historic infotainment.
7. Waterfalls Galore
We said waterfalls, right? If all you want is a Kodak moment, try Looking Glass Falls, accessible from the side of Highway 276. Silver Run Falls is a beauty, dropping into a lovely swimming hole for a summer dip. Or you can check out DuPont State Forest for a true waterfall tour.
8. Four Distinct Seasons
One of the best things about Asheville, according to locals and visitors alike, is how distinct its seasons are. Due to its vantage point in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it has snappy winters and muggy summers. Fall and spring are cool, with bright leaves and stunning flowers, respectively. It’s a can’t-miss at any time of year.
9. Breathtaking Views
The views just don’t quit around here. If you’re in town, you can look out the bowl of the mountains around you. Up on the mountains, you can see down into the town and for mile upon mile over the crested rises that make up greater Appalachia.
10. Mountain Weather, Y’All
Along with the seasons, mountain weather is a popular draw. Because it’s higher up, Asheville has cool mornings, even in summer. The average high in summer is around 85 degrees, which is a far cry from what they soar to in the rest of the South.
11. Access to the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway, AKA “America’s favorite drive,” has several entrances in the Asheville area. All told it is 469 miles long, but you can enjoy a lovely stretch of it right out your (vacation rental) back door.
12. Day Trip Paradise
Everything you can imagine doing in a wilderness paradise, you can do in Asheville. And because all the adventures are so close by, you can use the town as your home base and not have to move all week!
13. Black Bears Every Which-a-Where
Love a black bear sighting? Love the photos? Love to capture them on video while voicing their bearish thoughts in the background? (Um, just us?) Asheville is the place to do it. Black bear sightings are common here, and in the spring and summer, you may even see a mama with her cubs.
14. The Biltmore Estate
If “America’s largest home” sounds impressive to you, then you’ll likely be pretty impressed with the Biltmore Estate. Constructed by George Vanderbilt, this 800-acre estate sits against the lovely Blue Ridge backdrop with grandeur. The home itself is 175,000 square feet, and you can stay on-site for less than $100 a night.
Asheville abounds in wineries. Set up a tour yourself or with some friends, or sign on for a guided day trip.
16. Leaf Season!
I know we already talked about the four distinct seasons, but leaf season deserves its own special mention in Asheville … and in the Blue Ridge Mountains in general. The leaves in this area last longer and are brighter than in most other places in the United States, making it an October destination for celebration.
17. Theater and Music
Love a show in a small theater? Enjoy a musical performance in a café? Like your entertainment with a side of intimate vibes? Asheville can provide.
18. Wellness Vibes
Believe it or not, First Peoples considered this neck of the woods a center of healing and wellness for time immemorial. European docs have been following their lead and prescribing the mountains of North Carolina to their patients for centuries. If you’re ailing – or simply in need of some spiritual cleansing – then the fresh breezes and lush wilderness surrounding Asheville could do the trick.
19. Literature and Architecture
Thomas Wolfe and William Sydney Porter (pen name “O. Henry”) both lived and worked in Asheville and are honored in numerous ways. The house Wolfe made famous in Look Homeward, Angel – his semiautobiographical novel – is a great stop on a self-guided tour.
Yes, we do have a fondness for the self-improvement potential of travel and the outdoors, but that’s not what we’re talking about. Asheville offers lots of fun classes, from ceramics to cooking, glass-blowing to jewelry crafts. Go try your hand at making something new, and if nothing else, you’ll have a fun memento from the trip!
There you have it … 20 reasons to get on over to Asheville today. What are you waiting for?