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Top Rated Attractions in Asheville

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Cradle of Forestry

There is much fun to be had in them there hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If the natural beauty of the mountains is not enough to keep you busy with sightseeing, then check out all there is to do at The Cradle of Forestry. There are guided tours, restored historic buildings, exhibits, a gift shop and more. Kids will certainly enjoy seeing the restored locomotive and wandering the forest.

French Broad Rafting & Ziplines

The river is calling. French Broad Rafting Company offers river sports for all ages and all levels of water experience. If you're after thrills, go on one of the whitewater excursions. There are two levels: calm water (an introduction) and faster rapids. Both offer an experienced guide to lead and all equipment and refreshments are provided. Trips last 3 to 4 hours. Canoes, funkyaks and rafts are available to rent and use on a calmer section. With no guide, trips last about 3 hours. Call for details.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most traveled routes in the US National Park system. The scenic thoroughfare is 470 miles (756 kilometers) long and passes through the mountains of the Shenandoah to the Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina. Some of the more popular stops in the area are Linville Gorge, Craggy Gardens and Graveyard Fields. Pass by undulating meadows and gaze in awe at the majesty of the surrounding mountains, or explore the many attractions dotting the stunning landscape of this region as you glide along the roadway's scenic expanse.

Pisgah National Forest

Founded in 1916, the Pisgah National Forest is one of the oldest nature preserves in North Carolina. Nestled high up in the Appalachian Mountains that dominate the entire landscape of the state's western boundaries, the park's overall topography is an extremely diverse one. Blessed with the boundless bounties of nature, this lush green progression of primeval forests and breathtaking geological marvels is most notably home to the West Prong Hickey Fork Creek Waterfall, which is known for its majestic cascading flow. Superabundant with interconnecting trails for mountain biking, hiking and climbing, the park's grounds are a paradise for outdoor sports and adventure enthusiasts.

Basilica of St. Lawrence

The Basilica of St. Lawrence is a basilica which stands tall in the downtown neighborhood of Ashville. Established in 1906 it is said to have one of the greatest domes in North America. The imposing structure of the basilica is inspired by the Spanish Baroque style of architecture. The interiors of the church are equally mesmerizing. Several statues of saints make the interiors enchanting, thereby giving the basilica an ancient feel. The stained glasses on walls and the serene ambiance of the church make the experience worthwhile. Both self-guided and guided tours of the basilica are available for visitors. The Basilica of St. Lawrence is worth visiting for its sheer grandeur.

The North Carolina Arboretum

Painted from nature's palette, the North Carolina Arboretum welcomes visitors into its abode of rare and colorful species of flora. The expansive gardens cover 434 acres (175.6 hectares) and include designated biking and hiking trails that let you explore at leisure. Also noteworthy is the Arboretum's Bonsai Collection, which includes nearly 100 different species. These gardens are a must-visit destination. There is a standard parking fee that allows access to the arboretum as well.

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