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Top Rated Attractions in Asheville

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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 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, 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 forest's overall topography is an extremely diverse one. Blessed with the boundless bounties of nature, this lush green progression of primeval woodlands 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. Arboretum's Bonsai Collection is also noteworthy, which includes nearly 100 different species. These gardens are a must-visit destination.

Southern Highland Folk Art Center

Visit the Southern Highland Folk Art Center at Milepost 382 along the Blue Ridge Parkway and you will be surely amazed by all the cultural exhibits at this museum. The center explains the history of Southern Appalachian craftsmanship. There are three galleries with changing exhibits, a craft shop, a library, and an auditorium. Several of the thousands of pieces from the guild's turn-of-the-century permanent craft collection can be seen at certain times throughout the year.

The Botanical Gardens at Asheville

The Botanical Gardens at Ashville feature an independent collection of regional flora. This garden offers free admission to local and visiting horticulture enthusiasts. Spread across 10 acres (four hectares), this University of North Carolina botanical garden is dotted with over 3800 living plants, making it a beautiful and tranquil place to visit.

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