North Carolina Arboretum

#6 in Best Things To Do in Asheville, NC
North Carolina Arboretum picture
JillLang/Getty Images

Key Info

100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way

Details

Parks and Gardens Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

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 393, the arboretum is a 434-acre public garden within Pisgah National Park.

Visitors can wander through 65 acres of gardens, including the National Native Azalea Collection, the Bonsai Exhibition Garden and a Heritage Garden that celebrates Southern Appalachian horticulture, plus much more. Affiliated with the University of North Carolina, the gardens also offer more than 10 miles of hiking and biking trails that vary in levels of difficulty. (Recent visitors said the walking trails were an unexpected highlight of their time at the arboretum.) Kids can take part in a variety of interactive youth activities, such as loaner discovery backpacks (available for free) and hands-on lessons from Shelly, the arboretum's resident box turtle.

There is no individual admission cost, just a $14 vehicle parking fee. Hours vary by seasons and facilities, so check out the arboretum's website before making a visit. 

See all Hotels in Asheville, NC »

More Best Things To Do in Asheville, NC

Biltmore Estate1 of 8
Appalachian Trail2 of 8
Type
Time to Spend
#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 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.

Read more
The Biltmore Company
See full list of Best Things To Do in Asheville, NC »

Explore More of Asheville, NC

When purchasing from our site, we may earn commissions. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

22 Top Sonoma Wineries to Visit

Sip world-class wines while enjoying vineyard and mountain views.

Gwen PratesiAugust 19, 2019

30 Amazing Caribbean Islands to Visit

It's time to plan your next tropical getaway.

Holly JohnsonAugust 8, 2019

The Best Travel Rewards Programs for 2019-20

See which airline and hotel loyalty programs come out on top.

Erin ShieldsAugust 6, 2019

20 Surprising Ways to Earn Loyalty Program Points or Miles

Branch out beyond hotel stays and flights to maximize your earnings.

Christine SmithAugust 6, 2019

The 12 Best Cancun Tours

These excursions will show you what lies beyond the city's bright beaches.

Lyn MettlerJuly 26, 2019

Traveling With Toddlers: 16 Tips to Make Your Vacation Go Smoothly

These expert travel hacks guarantee a happy trip for the whole family.

Kyle McCarthyJuly 25, 2019

The 11 Best New Orleans Ghost Tours

Hear chilling tales of the city's paranormal activity on one of these guided tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 25, 2019

The 10 Best Seattle Boat Tours

Take in the Emerald City's top sights from the water.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJuly 24, 2019

The 6 Best Maui Helicopter Tours

Combine sightseeing with a breathtaking adventure on one of these flights.

Gwen PratesiJuly 23, 2019

The 7 Best San Francisco Boat Tours

Take in the city's major sights by water with one of these excursions.

Holly JohnsonJuly 22, 2019