Planning a trip to Asheville, North Carolina this fall, to see the foliage, or to visit Biltmore Estate for the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday? If so, there’s no need to fret too much over the price of gasoline. Adventures in and around Asheville that require little or no gas are plentiful. Here are some fun suggestions for outings that let you take in the town while conserving fuel.

Asheville has a population of approximately 73,000 people and can be traversed within 10-15 minutes by highway or crossing through town. Parking and walking downtown work well. Walking is one way to interact more closely with locals and other visitors.

Much of downtown Asheville can be crossed on foot. For a guided tour consider taking the Urban Trail. The guided Urban Trail tour costs only $5 for adults and $2 for children and is an historical walking tour of the downtown area, which includes highlights about famous people who lived in Asheville, and their accomplishments in medicine, science, literature, architecture, and politics. A local all-suite hotel, The Residences at Biltmore, is offering a Fall Asheville Experience package that includes an Urban Trail map for the visitor who wants to take a self–guided tour.

Downtown Asheville offers shopping in unique stores, outdoor cafes and eateries, and street entertainers. Visit the Grove Arcade, take a walk along Wall Street, and enjoy the lively atmosphere during the day and in the evening. Don’t miss Asheville’s “left bank” at the bottom of the hill on Lexington Avenue, where used clothing stores, records, memorabilia, coffee, and books can be purchased from independent shop owners.

Visit the River Arts District

Not far from downtown is the River Arts District. Described as “shabby chic” this district is becoming more popular for people of all ages. Park and tour artist studios or take a break to sip a microbrew beer made right in the River Arts District at The Wedge. Or visit the Clingman Café for a cup of coffee or some sweets while watching people pass by.

Trolley Tours of Asheville

Park at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce and take the Grey Line Tour of Asheville on a red trolley. Visit the Montford and Grove Park Inn historic districts, see art deco architecture in downtown Asheville and experience the River Arts District and Biltmore Village. Trolley tours are a great way to see Asheville without walking up and down steep inclines. Learn about the history of the town and its artsy and progressive residents on this narrated tour.

Whitewater Rafting Near Asheville – A Pleasant Way to see the Mountains

Venturing into the wilderness is easier when you choose to take a guided whitewater rafting trip. The Blue Ridge Mountains surround Asheville and The French Broad River cuts right through it. In a short drive of only 40 minutes to one hour a group can embark upon a white water rafting trip. A run down the river offers stunning views of mountain scenery anytime of year. There are several whitewater rafting companies nearby Asheville. One well-known company is the Nantahala Outdoor Center, with guided rafting trips of the Nantahala River and the French Broad River. USA Raft and Blue Ridge Rafting provide float trips down the French Broad River through Marshall and Hot Springs. Southern Waterways offers float trips on the French Broad River in West Asheville, convenient to the Amboy Road exit of 240 East.

Park Your Car and Spend the Day in the Forest

Some visitors to the Asheville area come specifically to see the wilderness areas and high country surrounding the city. Anyone can take a short hike into the woods for a break. There are many great hiking trails near Asheville in the Pisgah Forest and close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, with several convenient entrances in Asheville.

Park and Stay: A Great Outing

Park and stay attractions are a great way to spend the day with loved ones while touring Asheville and its surrounds. Some recommendations for parking and staying the day include Biltmore Estate in South Asheville, Chimney Rock Park, one hour east of Asheville, and Pack Place, in downtown Asheville. All of these destinations offer the visitor multiple ways to entertain: self-guided and narrated tours, exhibits, films, and shopping.

Asheville is the type of town that a visitor can travel through easily, in little time, with minimal expenditures on gas. In addition to green living and recycling, Asheville’s residents are known for using alternative methods of transportation to save gas. Some residents use mopeds, segways, or Smart Cars, to get around. In Asheville, bio diesel vehicles are also a popular choice of car or truck. Look around, and you’ll see many people biking and walking in their own neighborhoods.

There are numerous ways to see Asheville while being conscious of gas usage. Visit Explore Asheville for even more ideas on touring Asheville.

Elizabeth Kirwin is a travel and leisure writer who publishes articles on the Asheville and Western North Carolina area. Visit or or email for more information.
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