The North Carolina Arboretum is centrally located in Asheville right beside the Blue Ridge Parkway, near milepost 393. The 434-acre garden was originally used as a research garden by Fredrick law Olmstead, who was also responsible for the gardens at the Biltmore Estate and Biltmore Gardens.
Today, the North Carolina Arboretum is home to beautiful garden exhibits and ten miles of hiking trails that connect to areas like Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Guests can also take part in guided tours, view art displays, and there are plenty of activities for the kids.
The Arboretum is also home to a variety of popular art and botanical-focused annual events. The most popular annual event is the Arboretum's Winter Lights display which begins in mid-November and runs through the holidays in December. The display includes 500,000 energy efficient lights that are illuminating the gardens and grounds. Enjoy hot cider, beer or cocoa while listening to holiday-inspired music and viewing the stunning displays.
A trip to the Arboretum can be an affordable thing to do for your group as they don't charge a per person fee like many attractions do. Rather, there is a parking fee per vehicle. The Arboretum is open pretty long hours through the year making it easy to find a time to go - generally spring and summer (April - October)hours are 8am - 9pm and fall and winter (November - March) hours are 8am to 7pm.