Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock/Sean PavoneSliding Rock, Pisgah ForestMax Patch with my beloved, Taj.At the top of Mt. Pisgah

Families will love:

  • Biltmore Estate
  • Outdoor activities, such as rafting and zip-lining
  • Nearby Hendersonville and Bat Cave, N.C.

When my dad and stepmom retired, we became one lucky family, as they chose a mountain retreat that's popular for families: Asheville, N.C. In days of old, before air conditioning, wealthy Northerners and coastal Southerners would retreat to these mountains to enjoy the cool breezes and fresh air. One wealthy resident was George Washington Vanderbilt II of the famed ... more
When my dad and stepmom retired, we became one lucky family, as they chose a mountain retreat that's popular for families: Asheville, N.C. In days of old, before air conditioning, wealthy Northerners and coastal Southerners would retreat to these mountains to enjoy the cool breezes and fresh air. One wealthy resident was George Washington Vanderbilt II of the famed Vanderbilt family. Instead of heading to Newport, R.I., like his family, George retreated to Asheville, where he built the largest privately owned house in the country, to this day. The Biltmore Estate sits on 8,000 acres, much of which were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park and Boston's Emerald Necklace. The chateau-style home features 250 rooms, of which a portion is open daily to tours. The estate also has its own vineyard and winery, an inn, restaurants, gardens, trails and annual activities families can enjoy.

But Asheville is much more than its famous mansion. Part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just over the border from Tennessee (an easy drive to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains), Asheville is home to a number of outdoor adventure companies inviting families to hike, zip line and explore the wooded surroundings. It's also home to an eclectic town of artists, with boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants, craft breweries and arts festivals and events.

Nearby Hendersonville is a must-visit in the fall months, when the apple trees are ripe for the picking. As the Apple Capital of North Carolina, apple festivals and groves welcoming apple pickers are popular destinations for locals and visitors alike.

Also near Asheville is Bat Cave, N.C., a fun little stop for kids. Visit Ghost Town in the Sky, a Western-themed park with a town, gunfights, entertainment and a roller coaster.

Written by Lissa Poirot less

Asheville, N.C. Planning & Tips
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