Visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina is a getaway that many people hope to experience at least once in their lifetime. Whether it’s the colorful fall foliage or the magical waterfall hikes that pique your interest, it’s no secret that we’re lucky to be surrounded by so much natural beauty.
Check out our list of the best things to include in your Western North Carolina bucket list to ensure that you have the vacation of your dreams!
12 of the Best Things to Include in Your Western North Carolina Bucket List
1. Climb the Highest Peak of the Appalachian Mountains
During your visit to the NC mountains, why not find the tallest peak of the Appalachian Mountains? Mount Mitchell towers over the East Coast, standing at 6,684 feet tall. Mount Mitchell State Park is one of the most popular state parks in the area, which is about an hour and a half away from our inn, making it an excellent option for a day trip.
2. Explore Biltmore Estate and Gardens
The Biltmore Estate in North Carolina can be visited for the entire day, making it an ideal day trip during your stay with us! The 8,000-acre estate includes the Biltmore House, a winery, numerous restaurants, gift shops, hiking trails, and other attractions. There is always something new to see, no matter what time of year you visit.
3. Go Horseback Riding in the Mountains
Whether you’re an experienced rider or have never been near a horse in your life, you should consider a horseback riding adventure in the mountains of Western North Carolina. There’s something so special about taking in the scenery from the back of a horse! By the end of the trip, you’ll be best friends with your trusty steed, and you’ll have memories that you will take with you for a lifetime.
4. Sip on the Best Local Coffee, Wine, or Beer
Maybe you like to order locally brewed drip coffee at trendy coffee shops around the country. Perhaps you prefer swirling wine glasses and deciphering different notes and flavors at award-winning wineries. Or you might just like to try the best local IPAs while you’re visiting a new town. Western North Carolina has everything from top-quality coffee, wine, and beer.
5. Hand-Pick Delicious Apples in the Fall
Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year in Western North Carolina. The trees gradually change from green to brilliant red and yellow hues. As the leaves begin to fall, their vibrant colors are carried through the crisp autumn air. With the change of seasons comes one of our favorite autumn activities: apple picking!
6. Embark on the Gorge Zipline Canopy Tour
Spend the day zipping from treetop to treetop on America’s steepest and fastest zipline canopy tour. Begin your adventure on the rim of the Green River Gorge and descend into the untouched wilderness via 11 ziplines, a 100-foot sky bridge, and three massive rappels. The Gorge, which debuted in March 2015, is the first canopy tour to provide a true free-fall experience from a treetop.
Ask us about our North Carolina Adventure Package, which includes The Gorge Zipline Canopy Adventure as an option!
7. Rappel 200 Feet Down Big Bradley Waterfall
Embark on the most over-the-top adventure yet – a 200ft Waterfall Rappel. Green River Adventures prepares you to hone your skills on a 30-foot vertical rock face before your 200-foot descent down one of the most dramatically beautiful waterfalls in the region. Be prepared to get wet, and remember to keep your eyes peeled for the abundant salamanders clinging to the wall!
Ask us about our North Carolina Adventure Package, which includes the Big Bradley Waterfall Rappel Adventure as an option!
8. Enjoy Dinner with a Mountain View
Every visitor to Newman’s Restaurant, our onsite restaurant, has an unforgettable dining experience. The menu consists of three courses and dessert, and there is an extensive wine list that your server can assist you in pairing with the courses you choose. The menu changes weekly based on the freshest, local ingredients available; only the freshest, local ingredients are used in each dish. With stunning views of the surrounding mountains, you’ll want to return again and again.
*** WNC Bucket List Bonus: Winter Holiday Edition ***
9. View the Gingerbread Display in Downtown Asheville
If you’re visiting the area for the holidays, then you don’t want to miss the nationally recognized Gingerbread Display at the Omni Hotel in downtown Asheville! Peruse impressive scenes constructed from gingerbread cookies and delicate icing decorations. Guests who aren’t staying at the hotel are welcome to view the display Sunday through Thursday over the course of the holiday season.
10. Experience Biltmore Estate During the Holidays
There is no denying the splendor of Biltmore Estate, no matter the season. However, as the holiday season approaches, the estate assumes a new appearance. Watch as the lavish mansion comes alive with over 50 Christmas trees, stunning ornaments, and flickering candles! It’s also the perfect place to finish up your holiday shopping!
11. Reserve a Seat at The Orchard Inn’s Dickens Dinners
The holiday season is a wonderful time of year. Our Dickens Dinners are a great way to get into the holiday spirit and are becoming increasingly popular. Enjoy the chef’s unforgettable four-course dinner, complete with readings from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Dinner will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude with a Smoking Bishop by candlelight by the roaring fire.
12. Stay at The Orchard Inn Year-Round
There is no place like the mountains of Western North Carolina, and there is no place like The Orchard Inn. Trust us. You’ll want to include a stay on our charming Saluda, NC, property to your Western North Carolina bucket list! It doesn’t get any better than this with our gorgeous mountain views, excellent location, onsite spa, and farm-to-table restaurant. Start planning your stay by looking through our rooms, suites, and cottages. We can’t wait to welcome you.
Need Additional Help Planning Your Visit to WNC?
Request a free copy of our Vacation Guide for even more local insight! Inside, you’ll find thoughtful suggestions for things to do, what to eat, and places to see!