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Top 19 Places To Visit In The North Carolina Mountains (Western NC)

family posing in front of great smoky mountains national park sign

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Now that we live permanently in Raleigh, we’re constantly on the look out for places to explore in our own Tar Heel state.

We regularly take road trips with our kids and our favorite places to visit are in the North Carolina mountains. 

We’re huge fans of the great outdoors, and love hiking, exploring waterfalls, kayaking down rivers – anything that gets us out into nature.

In North Carolina, we’re not short of these places. The North Carolina Mountains are made up of two mountain ranges, The Great Smoky Mountains and The Blue Ridge Mountains.

Both ranges have a vastly different landscape and offers different experiences, so we’ve decided to list our favorite places to visit in the North Carolina mountains so you can decide which outdoor destination is best for you!

We are going to focus on our favorite places to visit in Western North Carolina mountains, broken up into three regions, Asheville & The Foothills, Smokey Mountains & Cherokee and High Country.

Best Places To Visit in North Carolina Mountains

1. Asheville and The Foothills

girl in front of river arts mural of mythical creature
River Arts District, Asheville

Situated in North Carolina’s southern Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville has become one of the best places to visit in North Carolina for those who love mountain retreats.

We first visited way back in 2004 and loved the artsy, music, foodie, and hiking scene and have visited briefly on a few occasions since then, and the city has boomed in every way!

The city oozes character and quirky charm and is well known for art galleries, excellent breweries, fabulous restaurants, thriving live music scene, hiking trails, healing resorts, the French Broad River, and America’s largest home, Biltmore House.

Whilst thriving, the historic downtown remains beautifully preserved, and the awe-inspiring scenery of the NC mountains is nearby with a wide diversity of outdoor adventure for an active and healthy getaway.

Suggested activities:

More helpful Asheville guides:

2. Biltmore Estate

multi gen family in front of biltmore estate
We took Caroline’s parents to Biltmore Estate

Biltmore House is only 15-minutes drive from downtown Asheville, but as America’s largest home and one of the top things to see in North Carolina, I thought it deserved its own section.

This 250 room mansion sits on an 8,000 acre estate nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. George Vanderbilt was the grandson of Cornelius…

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