Top 5 Biltmore Family Favorites for Summer

Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, is a family-friendly destination all year long, but there’s something extra special about a summer getaway with the family on our 8,000-acre retreat… especially when we have discounted admission for kids all summer long!

Make the most of your summer vacation with our Top 5 Biltmore Family Favorite Activities for Summer that are sure to please your entire clan, from grandparents to grandchildren.

Winkie Bar Sundae in a waffle bowl
Try all the ice cream treats, including this delicious Winkie Bar Sundae served in a waffle bowl

5. Savor Our Favorite Flavors

Did you know that the vanilla ice cream served on the estate is based on a delicious original Biltmore Dairy recipe? With a visit to the Biltmore Dairy Bar® near Biltmore House and the Creamery in Antler Hill Village, you and your family can cool off while enjoying the same richly-flavored frozen treat savored by estate guests more than a century ago!

Tip: Take your treats — like ice cream sundaes, smoked barbeque sandwiches, or even some Biltmore Wine for the grownups — to-go from the Creamery or other restaurants in Antler Hill Village and enjoy on the nearby Village Green where you can cut a rug to live music at the bandstand!

Family biking at Biltmore
Bring the whole family along on your next biking adventure at Biltmore

4. Biking for All Ages

Ready to explore our wide-open spaces on two wheels? You’re welcome to bring your own bikes in tow or visit the Outdoor Adventure Center or Bike Barn in Antler Hill Village and choose from a selection of rentable mountain bikes for rugged trails or comfort cruisers for paved paths. Tandem rentals are also available so the younger members of the family can join the fun.

Tip: Consider a guided bike ride or other outdoor activities for more exciting ways to explore our 8,000 estate this summer!

Installation from Chihuly at Biltmore, March 25, 2024 – January 5, 2025 at Amherst. Dale Chihuly, Persian Ceiling, 2012, 25 x 15′, Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina, installed 2024 © 2012 Chihuly Studio. All rights reserved.

3. An Artistic Escape

Ignite your family’s imaginations as you explore the castle-like halls of America’s Largest Home and the awe-inspiring art installations on view inside Amherst during Chihuly at Biltmore. Chihuly’s mesmerizing work is sure to captivate young minds and inspire a love for creativity!

Tip: Chihuly at Biltmore is an awe-inspiring experience for families and guests of all ages. That said, due to the nature of the exhibition, all guests under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Goat mother and
Meet our working farm animals at the Farmyard in Antler Hill Village!

2. Family Fun at the Farmyard

Bring your kids to meet our kids at the Farmyard in Antler Hill Village! From learning about the working farm animals that are a part of our agricultural history at the Farmyard to handicrafts demonstrations and seasonal activities offered at The Barn nearby, your kiddos will have plenty to choose from for engaging and educational fun.

Our Farm to Table Tour & Taste experience (available exclusively to overnight guests and Passholders) offers even more in-depth discovery of Biltmore’s farming legacy and how that connects to our modern field-to-table philosophy.

Tip: Did you know that Biltmore Annual Passholders can bring their kids ages 16 and younger to enjoy Antler Hill Village for free year-round?

Family of four enjoys a river float with a guide.
If adventure is calling your name, check out our guided river activities!

1. All-Time Family Favorite: Exploring Our 8,000-acre Backyard!

With 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain backyard, you’ll never run out of places to explore at Biltmore! Enjoy more than 20 miles of hiking trails along the French Broad River, through lush green forests, or in the open meadows of the estate.

Whether you’re up for a Vanderbilt-era-inspired game of croquet, rafting on the French Broad River, or venturing out on guided nature experiences (or all three!), our Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village boasts an ever-changing variety of activities that are fun for the whole family.

Tip: Activities offered may sell out or have specific dates and times offered, so we strongly recommend checking our current offerings online and making reservations in advance to ensure availability during your visit. Visit the Bike Barn or Outdoor Adventure Center for a detailed trail map and orientation to the trails.

Aerial view of Biltmore's sprawling mountain landscape in Asheville, NC.

Discover Even More of Biltmore This Summer

Every day’s an invitation to vacation like a Vanderbilt at Biltmore, where the season’s longer days and leisurely nights allow more time to savor all your summer oasis has to offer! 

In addition to our top 5 family-favorite activities, we invite you to explore all of our activities currently offered so you can make the most of your quick summer getaway, family vacation, or long holiday weekends to Biltmore!

Family laughs poolside at Village Hotel
Make a splash at Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate

Need more time to explore?

Extend your Biltmore visit with an overnight stay at The Inn on Biltmore Estate, Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate, or our private historic Cottages on Biltmore Estate. Become a Biltmore Annual Passholder and enjoy year-round visits and exclusive member discounts on special events, dining, and more.

Buckspring Lodge: A Summer Retreat for Sheep

In addition to Biltmore House in Asheville, NC, the Vanderbilts had another home on the estate’s original 125,000 acres: Buckspring Lodge.

A rustic, Adirondack-style retreat on the slopes of Mt. Pisgah, located about 20 miles from Biltmore House, Buckspring Lodge was a world away from the elegantly landscaped terrain surrounding America’s Largest Home®.

George and Edith Vanderbilt at buckspring Lodge
George and Edith Vanderbilt sitting on the front steps of Buckspring Lodge, their rustic retreat on Mt. Pisgah

An Elevated View

It was fashionable at that time for wealthy families to create summer retreats in the mountains or by the seashore, often spending the entire season away from their main residence.

George Vanderbilt had already acquired a cottage in Bar Harbor, Maine, which he enlarged and renamed Pointe d’Acadie, but he spent less time there after making Biltmore his permanent home, choosing instead to enjoy the cool heights and splendid views of the Blue Ridge Mountains

A flock of sheep being tended near Buckspring Lodge with Mount Pisgah in the background.
A flock of sheep being tended near Buckspring Lodge with Mount Pisgah in the background.

Family, Friends & Biltmore Sheep

In addition to the main Buckspring Lodge building, which was designed by Biltmore architect Richard Morris Hunt and completed under the direction of his son Richard Howland Hunt, there was separate kitchen structure, a smaller guest cottage, and a stable that would eventually become a garage. Edith Vanderbilt added a garden and a tennis court to the site, and guests could hike and hunt to their hearts’ content. 

Family and friends weren’t the only visitors, however—a flock of Biltmore sheep spent time there, as well, providing effective “grounds maintenance” in return for their room and board. The sheep kept the grass short and added a pleasant pastoral note to the ambience of the Vanderbilt’s private mountain retreat. 

Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village
Today, our Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village is your headquarters for estate exploration.

New Life for an Old Cabin

After George Vanderbilt‘s death in 1914, Edith Vanderbilt sold most of the estate’s Pisgah Forest land to the federal government to become a national forest. Her grandson George Cecil inherited the property, eventually selling it to allow unobstructed construction of the Mount Pisgah section of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

A ranger’s cabin, constructed in 1912 of decades-old logs salvaged from early settler’s cabins on Vanderbilt’s Pisgah Forest tract, was removed from the site at that time and rebuilt in Asheville as a family home.

In 2015, this historic cabin and some of its furnishings were donated to Biltmore. Now restored in Antler Hill Village, the cabin serves as the headquarters for our Outdoor Adventure Center and Land Rover Experience.

Biltmore Trails: 22 Miles to Explore

Whether you’re visiting for the day or you’re a Biltmore Annual Passholder, exploring Biltmore Estate’s 22 miles of trails is an excellent way to get some outdoor exercise.

From leisurely strolls to intense workouts or trailside picnics, our estate trails offer a variety of routes that can be tailored to your skill level with spectacular views in every season.

Access to Biltmore’s private trail system requires an admission ticket, Biltmore Annual Pass, or an overnight stay.

Walk in our manicured gardens on paved paths in Biltmore's Italian and Shrub Gardens
Enjoy the manicured landscape along paved paths in our historic gardens.

Easy Biltmore Trails

Historic Gardens (walking)

Our historic garden paths incorporate the Italian Garden (gravel), Shrub Garden (paved), Walled Garden (paved), and Spring Garden (mulch). Routes stretch approximately 1-2 miles depending on which paths you choose. Enjoy seasonal blooms with benches nearby to take a break and soak it all in.

Azalea Garden (walking)

This mostly paved walking path can be accessed from either the Spring Garden or Walled Garden. It is a great opportunity to go even deeper into Biltmore’s historic gardens, offering benches along the way, and leads to Bass Pond Waterfall and Boat House. Take in spectacular views across the Bass Pond at approximately 1 mile.

View of the west side of Biltmore House from the Lagoon
The Lagoon offers a striking reflection of the west side of Biltmore House.

Moderate Biltmore Trails

Lagoon Trail (walking, running, biking)

This mostly flat, paved trail leads to the Lagoon, which offers a striking view of the west side of Biltmore House (a popular picnic spot). Start and end at Antler Hill Village for a pleasant 3-mile trip. The French Broad River and estate farmland provide pleasant scenery as you explore the path. 

Farm Trail (walking, running, biking)

This flat gravel and dirt road runs along the perimeter of Biltmore’s grounds and the French Broad River. Totaling 6 miles, this trail leads to the Arbor Trace Trail at one end and the Lagoon Trail at the other.

Westover Trails (hiking, trail running, biking)

Access this set of Biltmore trails from the Bike Barn or The Inn on Biltmore Estate® to see Biltmore’s beautiful woodlands. The green (1.7 miles) and blue routes (2.8 miles) immerse you in nature while offering wide trails for a comfortable experience with a few challenging hills.

On Biltmore's Westover trails, a bridge in the woods
The Westover Trails provide access to some of the estate’s more secluded woodlands.

Challenging Biltmore Trails

Westover Trails (hiking, trail running, biking)

The black route totals 3.5 miles round-trip inside Biltmore’s beautiful woodland. The narrow trail offers steep hills and is great for a technical single-track bike ride or an authentic hiking experience.

Arbor Trace Trail (hiking, trail running, biking)

This trail can only be accessed by first following the Farm Trail. The 3.5-mile round-trip route travels in and out of the woods providing scenic views of the estate’s agriculture and the historic Market Gardener’s Cottage on Biltmore Estate™. The last stretch of the trail (black) is quite narrow and an optional loop.

Deer Park Trail (walking, running, biking)

This challenging uphill trek is quite popular due to the stunning view of Biltmore House it offers. To extend the challenge, start at Antler Hill Village and take the Farm Trail to the Lagoon Trail which leads to the Deer Park Trail. 

Quick Overview of Biltmore’s 22 miles of trails

Download Our Trail Map

Be sure to check out, download, or print our trail map before you embark. Orientation and detailed maps are available at the Bike Barn and Outdoor Adventure Center in Antler Hill Village.

All Biltmore trails are pet-friendly, well-maintained, and accessible only to Passholders, lodging guests, and ticketed guests. If you’re looking for a more curated experience, consider one of our guided hiking or biking offerings.

See you on the trails!