Discover Asheville on America’s Favorite Drive

October 19, 2021

Asheville lies in the heart of “America’s Favorite Drive”, the iconic and historic Blue Ridge Parkway. The Blue Ridge Parkway winds its way along the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains connecting the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, a 469-mile stretch of natural splendor and outdoor recreation.

Top 3 Day Trips from Asheville

It’s the year of the road trip and discovering the best of the Blue Ridge Parkway is easy when you base yourself in our favorite mountain town, Asheville. Whether you travel north or south along Blue Ridge Parkway, an epic day trip from Asheville will uncover the best of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Scenic overlooks and picnic spots, roadside waterfalls, healing hot springs, whitewater parks, easy trails for a quick stretch, quaint mountain towns, and some of the top attractions in the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains.

Asheville Loop

Distance: 36-miles return

Directions: Head north on Merrimon Avenue

The Asheville Loops showcases the destination highlights of Asheville. The loop starts in Merrimon Avenue N in downtown Asheville and travels along the Weaverville Highway through North Asheville and the town of Woodfin. Head west on the Old Marshall Highway across I-26 to continue your journey south along the scenic French Broad River (watch for adrenaline-infused river rafters!) to downtown Asheville.


The French Broad River


View Biltmore from the Blue Ridge Parkway!

The first stop is the River Arts District with funky eateries, galleries, studios, and a creative vibe, next up are local treats at the WNC Farmer’s Market then south on Brevard Road to the North Carolina Arboretum at the entrance to Blue Ridge Parkway. Head east on Blue Ridge Parkway then north through the Biltmore Forest to America’s largest home, the beautiful Biltmore Estate. After touring the home, exploring the grounds, and enjoying the activities and attractions of Biltmore, enjoying a scenic drive home to the comfort of a welcoming cabin in the mountains!


Marshall and Hot Springs Loop

Distance: 82-miles return

Directions: Head north out of town towards Weaverville.


This scenic loop takes you along the French Broad River and through the Reems Creek Valley to the historic riverside town of Marshall, only one street wide and a mile long. The Main Street of Marshall is lined with original buildings, galleries, studios, eateries, and a whole lot of charm. Watch the paddlers ride the rapids of the French Broad River along the Old Marshall Highway or book a river adventure of your own with French Broad Adventures.

French Broad Rafting

Rafters taking on the French Broad River!

Continue north onto Hot Springs, known for its healing mineral hot springs and scenic mountain setting. The Appalachian Trail meets the French Broad River and passes through downtown Hot Springs, so pack your hiking shoes and follow the easy Lover’s Leap Trail for scenic views of the town followed by a rejuvenating soak in a private tub in the woods before heading back to Asheville through the countryside of Leicester.

Asheville to Grandfather Mountain

Distance: 180-miles return

Directions: A mile of Blue Ridge Parkway at Mile Post 305

Note: High elevation sections may be closed November to April


North Carolina’s Grandfather Mountain is one of the most famous mountains in the Blue Ridge Mountains, located in Grandfather Mountain State Park only 75 miles north of Asheville. The state park is home to a network of scenic mountain trails, including the Grandfather Trail “the granddaddy of technical hikes”, the Forrest Gump Curve, and one of the top Blue Ridge attractions, Grandfather Mountain. This family-friendly Blue Ridge attraction sits within the park and is known for the famous mile-high swinging bridge, diverse wildlife habitats, a nature museum with excellent exhibits, and panoramic views of North Carolina’s Majestic peaks (on a clear day you can see the Charlotte skyline, 90 miles away!).

The Grandfather Mountain Mile High Bridge


Crabtree Falls

From Asheville head north along the Blue Ridge Parkway towards Craggy Gardens. Set time aside to take a short, forested hike on the Craggy Pinnacle trail to the summit overlook for unbeatable, panoramic 360o views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Continue north on Blue Ridge Parkway with more scenic vantage points at the Green Knob Lookout Tower, Curtis Valley Overlook and an easy hike along the creek to Crabtree Falls. The route continues through the quaint mountain town of Little Switzerland, the jewel of the Blue Ridge Parkway with Swiss architecture, majestic fall foliage, and dining with a view at the Switzerland Inn.

The Blue Ridge Parkway passes through the Little Switzerland tunnels, winding on through the Linville Gorge Wilderness to Linville Falls, with five viewpoints easily accessible on a short trail from the visitors center. The fascinating Linn Cove Viaduct leads you to Grandfather Mountain State Park. It’s an action-packed and breathtaking scenic drive from Asheville!

Linn Cove Viaduct


Where to Stay in Asheville

Asheville is surrounded by small towns nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, all with easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway. Xplorie partners with Carolina Mornings and Coldwell Banker King to offer a diverse selection of Blue Ridge mountain rentals in and around Asheville. Stay waterfront on Lake Lure at Chimney Rock State Park, cozy up in a charming historic cottage in the heart of Asheville, or treat your loved ones to a secluded hideaway with panoramic views high up in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Wherever you choose to lay your head, Xplorie partners with local attractions and activity providers for free adventures in Asheville. Combine your day-trip from Asheville with a wilderness whitewater experience through the Pisgah National Forest, kid-friendly activities in a treetop park, or a canopy tour through the Appalachian forest.

A professionally managed vacation home with free local activities and attractions, every day of your stay! A win-win for your next Asheville vacation.

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