North Carolina Arboretum

#6 in Best Things To Do in Asheville, NC
North Carolina Arboretum
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. 

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