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If you’re planning an Asheville, NC, vacation soon, there is plenty you need to know. What season is best for travel, what to do, where to stay and how to get around — these are just a few of the questions you probably have, especially if you’ve never been to this popular mountain hot spot. Here are some of the top tips that will help you plan your vacation with ease.

Choosing a Season for Travel

Quite frankly, there isn’t a bad time to travel to Asheville. Every season has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, fall is considered peak season because of the beautiful foliage in the area, but it’s also crowded, and prices are a little higher. Summers are also crowded with families on vacation, but the average highs range from 82 to 85, and the weather is beautiful. In spring, the city’s flowers and greenery are gorgeous as they come alive, and you’ll find that many festivals and other events take place between March and May. Just don’t forget your umbrella in case of a rain shower. As for winter, it can get cold, but you’ll find that prices are lower, and there are multiple holiday activities and celebrations in which you can participate, including Christmas at Biltmore.

Getting Around Town

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Getting to Asheville is easy. The Asheville Regional Airport offers nonstop flights to major cities like New York, Atlanta, Orlando, Chicago and Charlotte. There are also several major interstates (I-26, I-40 and I-240) that lead right into the area if you choose to drive to your vacation destination. Once you get to Asheville, you have several options when it comes to transportation, although it largely depends on what you plan to do. Downtown Asheville is a walkable part of the city, although you also have taxis and options like Uber and Lyft. If you prefer something a little more unique, you can take a bike taxi, a Segway or the old-fashioned trolley. However, if you plan to get outside of the downtown area and explore the mountains and surrounding communities, you’ll probably want to rent a car or drive your own if you brought it along.

Get to Know the Locals

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If you’re wondering who you will encounter when you visit Asheville, the quick answer is one of the most diverse crowds you’ve ever seen, especially in the midst of the Blue Ridge Mountains. First of all, it’s family-friendly, so you’ll see many young families there, especially during the tourist season. It’s also a hot spot for retirees who moved from up north down to Florida but decided they wanted a little more seasonal weather. There’s a bustling gay community, and you’ll find your share or artists and other creative types. No matter your age, race, gender or interests, you’re sure to find a place to fit in Asheville.

Figure Out What to Do

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There is no shortage of things to do in Asheville, NC, and depending on what your vacation goals are, you can pack plenty of those bucket list items into one trip. If it’s your first time visiting the city, these are some of the things you’ll probably want to mark off your list:

  • The Biltmore Estate: Built by George Vanderbilt in 1895, the Biltmore is America’s castle and Asheville’s most famous attraction.
  • Downtown Asheville: Spend a day walking the streets of Asheville’s vibrant and eclectic downtown area. You’ll discover locally owned shops, farm-to-table restaurants, art galleries, live music, microbreweries and much more.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway: It’s 469 miles long, but you can’t leave town without taking a drive on at least part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s been called “America’s Favorite Drive,” and it offers plenty of beautiful scenery and outdoor adventures.
  • Food: Farmers’ markets, farm stores, farm-to-table restaurants, food tours, wineries and foraging expeditions are abundant in Asheville. The city is quickly becoming a culinary mecca for both foodies and those who like to try delicious homegrown meals.
  • Mountain culture: Asheville may be a little more cosmopolitan than some of its neighbors, but it’s still a beloved mountain town at heart. Experience the culture in a number of ways, including checking out a play at one of the theaters in the area, stopping on the street to hear buskers play live music, checking out the Asheville Art Museum or visiting the River Arts District.

Decide Where to Stay

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When it comes to Asheville vacation rentals, your options are practically endless. Whether you prefer a cozy mountain cabin with stunning views of the forests and waterfalls that surround the city or you’re looking for a convenient place downtown that affords you the opportunity to walk to your favorite coffee shop or art gallery, you’ll find them both and everything else in between. There are upscale hotels and quaint homes as well as campgrounds and chic apartments. You’ll discover homes, hotels, bed and breakfasts and more both in the downtown area and in the more rural surrounding communities. Keep in mind that prices are higher during summer and fall because it is peak tourist season.