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The Biltmore Estate picture in Asheville, NC
The Biltmore Company

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  • Historic Homes/Mansions Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.9
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    4.5
  • Facilities
    5.0
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

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This enormous French Renaissance-style estate of George Vanderbilt has a storied past dating back to 1889. Considered America's largest private home, the 250-room estate – with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms and a whopping 65 fireplaces – took six years to construct. The 8,000 acres of gardens were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (the same landscape architect responsible for Central Park) and feature 2 ½ miles of walking paths.

Amassing 125,000 acres at its peak, 87,000 acres were sold after Vanderbilt's death in 1914 to form what is now Pisgah National Forest. But its history doesn't stop there: During World War II the estate stored pieces from the National Gallery of Art, and in the 1970s a winery was added. In the 2000s, inns and hotels were opened on the property.

Today, visitors can explore the architecture, artwork and history of the estate and gardens via various tours. The property features different events each season, including the Biltmore Blooms in spring, a summer concert series and the grand Christmas displays that include more than 40 opulent trees. The estate recommends at least 1 ½ to 2 hours to tour the house, but you should set aside more time for wandering the expansive gardens, dining or shopping at the Antler Hill Village, or taking a free tour of the winery.

The $60 admission fee is steep for some, but the majority of visitors are astounded by the sheer size and attention to detail of the property (save up to $10 by purchasing your ticket before your visit). You can opt for an audio tour, a guided tour or specialty tours at the winery or estate grounds for additional fees. The estate also offers a variety of seasonal outdoor activities like horseback riding and stand-up paddle boarding. Admission for children younger than 9 is free year-round; entrance for children ages 10 to 16 is free seasonally. Hours vary seasonally, but generally, the house is open to tour from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can extend your experience on the grounds by staying at one of the on-site hotels, including the Inn on Biltmore Estate. Note that on certain high volume days, reservations are required to visit. The estate is located about 3 miles from downtown, off of Highway 25, which is accessible from both the Blue Ridge Parkway and Interstate 40. For more information, visit the Biltmore Estate's website

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#1 Biltmore Estate This enormous French Renaissance-style estate of George Vanderbilt has a storied past dating back to 1889. Considered America's largest private home, the 250-room estate – with 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms ... Read more » The Biltmore Company

#2 Appalachian Trail Winding its way from Maine to Georgia, the Appalachian Trail spans 2,190 miles through 14 states. About 320 of those miles are found in North Carolina (including 224 miles ... Read more » Brett Maurer / Getty Images

#3 Asheville Urban Trail Weaving through downtown, the 1.7-mile-long Asheville Urban Trail walks visitors through the cultural and architectural history of the city. Created by the city of Asheville to showcase its unique ... Read more » ExploreAsheville.com

#4 Pisgah National Forest Offering more than 500,000 acres of land about 40 miles northeast of downtown Asheville, Pisgah National Park is jampacked with activities and breathtaking vistas. With hundreds of miles of ... Read more » Dalriada50 / Getty Images

#5 Blue Ridge Parkway The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway begins in Virginia and meanders through about 250 miles of western North Carolina. With a maximum speed of 45 mph, the highway offers drivers numerous ... Read more » Pierre Leclerc Photography / Getty Images

#6 North Carolina Arboretum Those with green thumbs will want to put the North Carolina Arboretum on their to-do list. Located about 10 miles south of downtown Asheville off of Blue Ridge Parkway milepost ... Read more » JillLang / Getty Images

#7 Breweries With more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the United States and about 100 local beers to try, Asheville has emerged as the beer capital of the southeast. Sampling ... Read more » Mark Gaw / EyeEm / Getty Images

#8 Folk Art Center At milepost 382 off the Blue Ridge Parkway, you'll find the Folk Art Center, home to the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The guild dates back to the 1890s and ... Read more » Southern Highlands Craft Guild

#9 River Arts District When artists came to Asheville to soak up the natural beauty and free-spirited atmosphere, they had to find large spaces to work. Enter the River Arts District. Comprising 22 former ... Read more » Misha Schmeidke

The Biltmore Estate picture in Asheville, NC
Appalachian Trail picture in Asheville, NC
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Breweries picture in Asheville, NC
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The Biltmore Estate picture in Asheville, NC
Appalachian Trail picture in Asheville, NC
Asheville Urban Trail picture in Asheville, NC
Pisgah National Forest picture in Asheville, NC
Blue Ridge Parkway picture in Asheville, NC
North Carolina Arboretum picture in Asheville, NC
Breweries picture in Asheville, NC
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One of the biggest draws to the area is the massive Biltmore Estate, the home of George Vanderbilt dating back to 1889.  The Biltmore Company

About 320 miles of the Appalachian Trail are located in North Carolina and along the border of Tennessee.  Brett Maurer / Getty Images

Learn about the history of the city by taking a stroll downtown along the Asheville Urban Trail ExploreAsheville.com

Home to numerous waterfalls that are popular swimming holes in the summer, Pisgah National Forest spans 500,000 acres.  Dalriada50 / Getty Images

Asheville sits off of milepost 384 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pierre Leclerc Photography / Getty Images

The North Carolina Arboretum features 65 acres of gardens and 10 miles of biking and hiking trails.  JillLang / Getty Images

Spend an afternoon (or two) tasting beer from one of the city's many breweries Mark Gaw / EyeEm / Getty Images

The Folk Art Center is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and offers shops and demonstrations in addition to a gallery of important works.  Southern Highlands Craft Guild

The River Arts District helps define Asheville’s distinct personality.   Misha Schmeidke

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