Did you know that the history of commercial aviation in Asheville goes back to 1925? The Asheville Regional Airport as we know it opened on June 7, 1961 to serve residents and visitors across the region. Today, the airport sees more than one million passengers each year to their ultimate destinations.
There’s never been a better time to fly into or out of Asheville, NC! With six airlines offering direct flights to more than 15 airports around the country, it’s easy to plan a great vacation without spending too much time in a terminal.
Here are 15 cities offering direct flights to Asheville, along with a few ideas of things to do while you’re there.
At 134 square miles, there’s a lot of Atlanta to see! We always enjoy visiting Zoo Atlanta, which opened in 1889 and is one of only four places in the U.S. where you can view pandas. The Georgia Aquarium is also a great space for nature lovers of all ages, with more than 10 million gallons of tanks among its five galleries. If you miss the elevation of the mountains, try the High Museum. It actually has nothing to do with height, but is one of the leading art museums in the Southeast. Next door are the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) and Woodruff Arts Center, and nearby are the Center for Puppetry Arts, William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and Margaret Mitchell House.
So much American history began in Baltimore! If you’re only in town for a short time, don’t miss the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, where the inspiration for “The Star Spangled Banner” was born. Maritime lovers will also enjoy the Historic Ships in Baltimore museum, featuring an 1850s sloop-of-war, submarine, lighthouse, and more. There are also museums dedicated to Baltimore resident Edgar Allan Poe and native Babe Ruth. For a truly local experience, check out Power Plant Live!, a complex of bars, eateries, and music venues in a former power station along the Inner Harbor.
If the only part of Charlotte that you’ve seen is the international airport, you’ve been missing out! This former textile center is now a major commercial hub and banking center. Explore the dining and music of Uptown, along with the family-friendly Discovery Place Science. The innovative Levine Museum of the New South is focused on the evolution of the post-Civil War South. Uptown’s Third Ward district and nearby NoDa are also a great areas for art lovers. Don’t miss the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Cultures. White-water rafting, shopping, and entertainment are nearby, including the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Concord Mills Mall, organized in the shape of a speedway track.
Try not to eat too many hotdogs or deep-dish pizzas in Chicago—there are a ton of things to do! This third most populous city in America is famous for its architectural heritage. In addition to the 1,451-foot Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower, Chicago was the site of the 1893 World’s Columbia Exhibition. Learn about it all on a river cruise architecture tour, or dive into the city’s seedier history on the Devil in the White City tour, named after the historical book about serial murderer H.H. Holmes. Enjoy upscale shopping along the 13-block stretch of North Michigan Avenue known as the Magnificent Mile. When the weather is nice, check out Millennium Park, home to the reflective sculpture “Cloud Gate.”
Everything is bigger in Texas! Enjoy a BIG vacation in Dallas, with your pick of museums, lakeside activities, or amusement parks. Presidential history aficionados will appreciate the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza in the West End Historic District, as well as the nearby Sixth Floor Museum, overlooking Dealey Plaza at the intersection of Elm and Houston Streets. The iconic 171-foot Reunion Tower offers sweeping views of the downtown skyline and shopping district. If the weather is nice, don’t miss White Rock Lake and the adjacent Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Join sports enthusiasts at the Dallas Cowboys football stadium, or pass the afternoon on one of multiple golf courses.
Appalachian Mountains not high enough for you? Try the Mile High City! Denver’s Larimer Square dates back to the Old West era, with a number of landmark 19th-century buildings. The city’s saloons are no longer serving, but you can take your pick of modern craft breweries and live-music venues. While you’re playing cowboy, check out the Denver Mint, which still produces coins and gives tours. Dinosaur Ridge, just west of town, is one of the world’s most famous dinosaur fossil locations, and the nearby Red Rocks Amphitheatre is built right into a natural geological formation. Fancy a little rock and roll?
Get your motor running in Motor City! Detroit played a major role in the industrialization of America, and you can learn more at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex in the U.S., visited by 1.6 million people each year. Fans of arts and culture are sure to enjoy Motown Museum and the Diego Rivera murals at the neoclassical Detroit Institute of Arts. With 100 galleries covering more than 650,000 square feet, it’s one of the largest and most significant art collections in the country. Enjoy the local culture of the nearby neighborhood of Greektown, and don’t miss Comerica Park, where the Tigers baseball team plays.
Ready for some fun in the sun? At the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, there are volleyball and basketball courts, a playground, and picnic tables—in addition to the beautiful beaches that characterize southeastern Florida. Plus, you’re in walking distance to the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the launch point for Jungle Queen Riverboat, offering dinner and a show with your sightseeing cruise of the Intracoastal Waterway. For a truly magical experience, don’t miss Butterfly World. With more than 20,000 live butterflies, it is the largest butterfly park in the world! Shop your heart out along The Strip, and enjoy the nightlife of downtown’s Las Olas Boulevard.
Do you know anything about Florida’s fascinating railroad history? (We’re not kidding!) Learn all about it at the Railroad Museum of South Florida in Fort Myers, or experience it for yourself on the Seminole Gulf Railway. Fort Myers is also a great destination for nature lovers, with Manatee Park, Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, and Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium. The winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are major attractions, and the complex features a historical museum and 21-acre botanical garden.
New York City
From Asheville, you can take your pick of entry points to fabulous New York City. From either Newark or LaGuardia Airport, you have easy access to Manhattan, Brooklyn, and all the amazing sites of NYC. See all the highlights, from the Statue of Liberty to Central Park, experience the theater district and Times Square, or take your pick of internationally acclaimed art museums and cultural centers. For a taste of home, create a tour of features that inspired Asheville architects, including the Flatiron Building, designed by Daniel Burnham. In Brooklyn, check out the Dumbo neighborhood’s cobblestone streets and converted warehouse buildings. They’re a scenic backdrop for independent boutiques, high-end restaurants, and trendy cafes.
Is there any city filled with more magic than Orlando? With more than a dozen theme parks and water parks, Orlando offers fun for kids of any age. You know Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, but don’t forget about SeaWorld, Legoland, Gatorland and its wildlife preserve, and Holy Land Experience, a Christian-themed park. If roller coasters and movie mascots aren’t your thing, Orlando also offers plenty of outdoor activities, from world-class golf resorts to swimming with dolphins and wildlife boat tours through nearby swamps. From Sanford Airport, your destination from Asheville, you’re also only an hour from the Space Coast, including destinations like the Kennedy Space Center.
America’s first capital city is filled to the brim with fascinating national history! Among the highlights are the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed), and the Betsy Ross House. Race up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, just like Rocky, for that perfect Instagram shot. Or for alternative tourist destinations, take a tour of Eastern State Penitentiary, where Al Capone was housed, and the Mütter Museum, which houses collections of anatomical and pathological specimens, wax models, and antique medical equipment. The Please Touch Museum in the Centennial District focuses on interactive exhibits aimed at children seven years old and younger.
Did you know that Sarasota, Florida was once the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus? The circus left a permanent impression on the city, with the Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, and Ca’ d’Zan (a Venetian-style mansion built by the Ringling family in the 1920s) in close proximity to each other. You can’t visit the Florida coast without taking advantage of the white-sand beaches and shallow waters. Siesta Key Beach is 99% quartz sand, which stays cool on your feet. The barrier island of Lido Beach is also a popular spot for recreation, relaxation, and a rocking nightlife. There are also a number of science museums, aquariums, and gardens, but Big Cat Habitat Gulf Coast Sanctuary may be the most unique.
Tampa, Florida is a major business center with extensive cultural offerings and animal attractions. Busch Gardens amusement park offers thrill rides and animal-viewing areas. Additional options include Lowry Park Zoo and the Florida Aquarium, which has shark exhibits and a coral reef. The Tampa Museum of Art hosts exhibits of both modern and ancient art. Across the bay in St. Petersburg, you’ll find the Salvador Dali Museum, which houses an extensive collection by the surrealist painter. Developed by Cuban and Spanish cigar-factory workers over 100 years ago, the historic Ybor City neighborhood is today a thriving dining and nightlife destination.
Our nation’s capital is both the seat of our government and the center of our national history, culture, and identity. The focal point of this master-planned city is the National Mall, a formal green space containing the Washington Monument, a number of war memorials, and memorials to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Also on the Mall are a variety of Smithsonian Institution museums dedicated to art, history, natural history, space, and culture. Other interesting highlights include the Newseum, International Spy Museum, and Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. While you’re in town, don’t miss Dupont Circle’s trendy shops, Georgetown’s posh restaurants, and the vibrant nightlife along the U Street Corridor.