Known for its enthusiastic efforts in sustainable living and its support of local crafts, Asheville is a hip city tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina.
Visitors will feel right at home mingling with locals at the farmer’s markets, micro-breweries, and craft shows as they learn more about the city’s offerings. Not only does Asheville have lots to do within its borders, but it sits among some of the most breathtaking scenery in the United States.
Here’s how you should spend a day in Asheville, North Carolina:
8:00 a.m.: Ride a Trail Through Pisgah National Forest
Image via Trover by Gary-Heather Kobza
If you’re in Asheville, you don’t want to miss the chance to take a bike ride through the scenic Pisgah National Forest. It sits on more than 500,000 acres of beautiful mountains, rivers and waterfalls. You’ll also find hundreds of miles of trails for your enjoyment.
Luckily for those whose bike can’t fit in checked luggage, Pisgah Forest offers another solution. About a mile away from the park, you’ll find Backcountry Outdoors. Here you can rent several styles of bikes and gear for your early morning ride. Get your fill of nature to start your day off on the right track.
11 a.m.: Browse Local Works at the Folk Art Center
Image via Flickr by PunkToad
After a morning ride through the Pisgah National Forest, make your way to the Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center for works of art inspired by the beauty of the surrounding land. Peruse the goods and take home a treasure from Asheville. You can buy items on site or purchase them online later.
Located just a few minutes from Downtown Asheville, the Folk Art Center showcases traditional and contemporary work of the best artists in the area. You’ll find special exhibits and craft galleries of unique handmade items made from local materials. During the warmer months, artists entertain visitors with live craft demonstrations.
1 p.m.: Ride Along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Image via Trover by Sendhil Kumar
One of the top scenic roads in the United States, the Blue Ridge Parkway features an entrance just moments away from the Folk Art Center.
Make sure to charge your camera for a journey that will leave you in awe of the area’s natural beauty. As you navigate a section of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s 469 miles, you will have several opportunities to pull over at scenic overlooks and marvel at the surrounding sites. Pack a picnic and enjoy your meal during one of your stops.
The ride is almost as thrilling as the views. If you’re not used to driving winding, mountainside roads with no guard rails, this jaunt through the Parkway will provide an unforgettable adventure.
5 p.m.: Massage Away the Day at the Salt Cave
Image via Asheville Salt Cave
After getting your fill of external beauty, enjoy a mini retreat at the Asheville Salt Cave to work on your internal beauty. This spa specializes in salt therapy sessions, which have been known to clear airways, improve lung function, and help with common ailments such as acne, eczema, and snoring.
If you want another level of rejuvenation, opt for a massage following your salt treatment. While it might be challenging to build a salt cave in your home, you can take some of the products home. Visit the gift shop to check out the goodies for continued wellness.
Must See: The City From The Amazing Pubcycle
Image via The Amazing Pubcycle
If you’ve never been on a beer bike, take the Amazing Pubcycle tour through Asheville. Make new friends over a brew while you leisurely paddle through the city. After a few drinks, get ready for singing, joking, and laughing without inhibition.
Riders don’t have to worry about running out of fuel because the driver makes numerous bar stops along the way. If you prefer, bring your own beer or wine aboard.
Where to Stay in Asheville, NC
Image via The Aloft Asheville Downtown
Although there are plenty of hotels in Asheville from $64, the Aloft Asheville Downtown is a top choice for savvy travelers. The Aloft Asheville Downtown from $179 per night, features an unbeatable location that provides guests with access to all the major attractions in the city. Two blocks from the hotel, you’ll find streets lined with the most popular restaurants in Asheville, including Curate and Limones. Other great restaurants, bars, and breweries are all within blocks of this jump-off location.
The above itinerary ensures you enjoy the best of Asheville during your one-day visit. After a good night’s sleep at an Asheville hotel, you can start making plans to return.