NOW CLOSED: Cheap, Fun Spring Break? Think Asheville, NC & a Giveaway

Ashville, NC

Many people are cutting back on travel due to the economy, I know we canceled our normal Florida Spring Break trip because of uncertainty in the construction industry.We have been looking for something to do for a couple of days or a long weekend. Something family friendly AND wallet friendly!

While at Blissdom 2009 (are you sick of hearing about that yet?), I met a few folks who had great things to say about Asheville, NC. The Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau has launched a special “micro site” called It is FILLED with money saving tips, lists of FREE things to do, special offers, and coupons you can use during your trip. They even have a list of the hotels with FREE breakfast. That’s the only kind of hotel I want to stay at.

ASHEVILLE - Any Way You Like it

Here’s a sampling of just a few FREE or inexpensive family activities:

  • As part of the creation of Biltmore Estate, Chief Forester Dr. Carl Schenck created the first forestry school in America – now the Cradle of Forestry. Hands-on exhibits and learning opportunities are abundant in the Forest Discovery Center. It’s free on Tuesdays for everyone and free for youth 15 years and younger throughout the year.
    Sliding Rock Asheville, NC
  • The Pisgah Center of Wildlife Education features exhibits about wildlife and habitats in the North Carolina mountains. You can even feed some of the mountain trout!
  • You will want to visit the  Mast General Store in downtown Asheville. The kids (and adults) will love the old fashioned candy in the candy barrels.
  • Water Fall Adventures

One really cool promotion is the Go Blue Ridge Card. It is like all pass card. For one low price you get admission to top attractions like (there are many many more in addition to these!):

Go Blue Ridge Pass
  • Biltmore
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Smoky Mountain Jet Boats
  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Chimney Rock Park
  • Linville Caverns
  • Tweetsie Railroad
  • Gray Line Trolley Tours of Asheville
  • Wine Tasting

The Blue Ridge card also comes with a FREE full color guidebook, VIP savings on shopping & dining. You can purchase 2, 3, or 5 day passes depending on how you are visiting.

Bargain Tip: You can purchase Go Card are available in other cities. So check out before you plan your next trip.

I have a funny story about the Biltmore. Many years ago, my parents and I were on our way home from a family reunion. I really wanted to go to the Biltmore after seeing pictures my mom had taken on a previous trip with just her and dad. My dad would not backtrack so we could go. So needless to say, to this day, I have still not seen this beautiful palace.

We are still undecided as to our travel plans. Maybe will do nothing over Spring Break. Kind of flying by the seat of our pants this year! For more insider tips about Asheville visit the Asheville Travel Blog.

So what is in it for you?

Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau is going to give one lucky reader (2) Go Blue Ridge Cards and piece of Appalachian Pottery, a local artist shop. You will get your pottery before your trip – so get a little piece of Asheville before you leave.

How to Win?

Easy Entry: Visit Explore Asheville, sign up for their E Newsletter, and  post a comment on what you would look most forward to doing in Asheville. (While you are at it – sign up for their RSS feed too! Trust me, you will want to do this to get all the latest scoop from their blog! It is updated regularly with ongoing happenings and seasonal events!)

Bonus entries (Up to 4 additional entries):

  • Leave me a comment with a budget travel tip.
  • Blog about this giveaway.
  • Grab my button. (It is on my sidebar)
  • Subscribe to my free newsletter via email or RSS. (You don’t want to miss out on any deals/giveaways!!!)
  • Digg, Technorati, Twitter, Stumble, etc. If you twitter, be sure to include me (@bargainbriana) in the twitter so it see it.

Leave a separate comment for each extra entry. It is very important that you leave a separate comment for each additional extra entry.

Ends around 3/6 at 11:59 EST. (As long as you can still comment you can enter!) Winner, chosen by, will be announced on the Giveaway Winners Page by 03/07/09 and I will contact you. (If winner doesn’t respond to my email within 48 hours, I will pick another winner.)

Want to win more? Enter to win the rest of my current giveaways!

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  1. 91

    Amanda says

    When we travel we always take a cooler full of drinks and a basket full of snacks. This saves sooo much money. Drinks and snacks at gas stations can become very expensive!!!

  2. 95


    I checked out the Asheville website. The waterfalls look amazing! I’ve always wanted to check out Biltmore too. I’ve seen video tours, but to see that grandeur in real life would be an experience. But mostly, hiking through the woods around beautiful waterfalls sounds like such a relaxing time to me. Don’t know what Dawson (baby) would think of it, but I’m sure he would love it too.

  3. 96


    My cheap travel trip is to always bring stuff for your own breakfast (or free continental at the hotel), get a hotel with a mini fridge for keeping drinks for later rather than buying from vending machines. Have a late lunch at a buffet, then fast food for dinner.

    Personally though, I find cruises to be the absolute most economical. Your fee covers your hotel room and all of your meals and a big part of your entertainment. If you know the ports of call you’re stopping at, you can find cheap entertainment there too. In Jamaica there’s a Jimmy Buffet restaurant where you can swim all day for free, with a swim up bar! Other ports have things like that too.

    Danielle Millers last blog post..My Favorite Walgreens Deal This Week

  4. 98

    Holly Renodin says

    Visiting Asheville would be such an incredible gift! My grandparents lived in NC when I was a little girl I remember seeing of one of the HUGE fireplaces in the Biltmore. We haven’t been able to take my kids to see my Grandparents who live there and it would be a dream come true since we can’t afford to make the trip this year.

  5. 99

    Holly Renodin says

    Visiting Asheville would be such an incredible gift! When I was a little girl and I have a memory of one of the HUGE fireplaces in the Biltmore. We haven’t been able to take my kids to see my Grandparents (who live there, but I havent visited in over 10 years) and it would be a dream come true since we can’t afford to make the trip this year.

  6. 100

    Molly says

    When we travel we always keep a cooler in between the seats filled with as many meals as we can fill it with. It keeps down the food budget and it is usually tons healthier than fast food. Also we usually drive straight through as much as we can to avoid needing to stay in hotels!

  7. 101

    Molly says

    I would love to visit the Biltmore- I have heard wonderful things about it. Also I have family in NC so it would be a great all around trip!

  8. 103

    Amy Saul says

    I love Asheville. My husband and I went for our 5th anniversary. The Biltmore Estate is extraordinary. Can’t wait to go back at a different time of the year. Maybe Christmas. That would be beautiful. The winery is gorgeous. Lots of little shops. Great food.

  9. 105

    Lisa Lambeth says

    For a budget meal that feels rich–Pack a picnic. There are plenty of scenic places around Asheville to enjoy some sandwiches and cupcakes. Of course, you can get fancier if you like. Don’t forget the blanket!

  10. 111

    Dina says

    Get snacks and drinks from home – always cheaper than buying them during the trip.

    Dinas last blog post..$25 CVS Gift Card Giveaway: Ends Today

  11. 112

    Dina says

    I would love to go to the Tweetsie Railroad!

    Dinas last blog post..$25 CVS Gift Card Giveaway: Ends Today

  12. 113

    Felicia says

    This is where i live!!! WE love it here and buy season passes to the Biltmore every year!!! You should email me if you have any questions about it ..or where to go!!

    Tip: Always, always, always ask the hotel what their special discounts are! A lot of times they will not post stuff.. but will tell you discounts!!! Especially here in the south!

  13. 117

    Helen S says

    I signed up for their newsletter. I would love to visit Biltmore, especially in the spring. I was there years ago as a highschool student and would love to take my family there.

  14. 118

    katie klein says

    My budget travel tip would be to also stop at tourist bureaus or visitors centers, and check the airport for free brochures that could have money savings coupons.

  15. 122

    Peggy Gorman says

    I am a subscriber and looking at the site the Roses, Romance & Ramada package looks wonderful!! I would love it ,the massage,and site seeing would be so much fun!

  16. 128

    Jill Gardner says

    When travelling with my kids, I get so tired of the constant bickering. I give them each a $10 roll of quarters at the start of the trip and when the bickering starts,they have to give me a quarter. They can keep what they have left when we reach our destination!

  17. 131

    CrystalGB says

    I have always wanted to go to Biltmore and to Grandfather Mountain.
    My travel tip is to pack drinks, snacks and sandwich fixings and to search online for hotel, dining and attraction discount coupons.

  18. 132

    Aaren says

    We comparison shop on the internet for the best available prices for hotels and entertainment–my husband is never afraid to ask for discounts at hotels either. Sometimes they say yes and sometimes not, but hey, you can try! We also try to hit as many free attractions as we can–zoos, parks, historical places.

  19. 134

    Aaren says

    I would love to take my husband to see the Biltmore Estate! Some generous friends took me when I was in college and it is incredible! You have to eat in their restaurant that used to be the horse stable. You can still see the outline of the stalls where the booths are placed.

  20. 137


    We visit relatives and stay with them for our vacations. We also have a cooler that plugs into the van so that we can keep milk and other refrigerated items in the “fridge” while driving to our destination. We take it right into the hotel and plug it in for the night if we have to stay overnight somewhere.

    Karis last blog post..I’ve finally done it…

  21. 140

    Chrissy says

    I signed up on their website and request free info. We like to go away on the weekends usually often. We need a change, and i’ve never been there.

  22. 142


    I would love to visit Ashville. I am fascinated by health and nutrition so I would definitely fit in a trip to The Health Adventure.

    Danielle Garcias last blog post..Giveaway Winner!

  23. 144

    MaryBeth I says

    I would love to go to some of the art and bead shops in downtown Ashville in addition to seeing the Biltmore. We live in NC and have never gone to Ashville.

    MaryBeth Is last blog post..Add your giveaway!

  24. 148

    Kelly says

    Budget travel tip – vacation to destinations where relatives and friends live. Stay with them a few days to cut cost of hotel rooms

  25. 149

    Kelly says

    I signed up for the newsletter. We’re only 1.5 hours away from Asheville and have always wanted to go to the Biltmore since we moved here back in August! It was cost prohibitive for a family so we haven’t :( I hope that will get it right! LOL

  26. 155


    My budget travel tip? Stay with family!!! Our only vacations are the ones we take to NC, and we stay at my Grama’s. The first day we’re there, we plan out our menus for our stay and hit the grocery store. One day we’ll venture on to bigger vacations, but for our growing family this helps us get away and save a TON of money!

  27. 156


    ACK! My family lives an hour from Asheville. I’d LOVE to win this. We’re up there at least a few times a year. I signed up for the Newsletter. What I’d most like to do in Asheville is go back to Biltmore. I haven’t been since…..oh gosh, 1997 or 1998 when I took a field trip with one of my Community College classes. I keep meaning to get back every year, especially at Christmas, but haven’t made it yet.

  28. 158

    Nancy says

    My budget travel tip is to use the Internet ahead of time to get the lowest prices possible. Research the areas you are traveling in before you go. Either request or print paper or Internet coupons and literature from attractions, restaurants, and hotels. If you stay in a chain hotel, join their loyalty club and get points toward free stays or other free items like gasoline cards. Look online for the cheapest gasoline along your route and plan your stops accordingly. Of course stop at the Visitor’s Centers at the various state lines for a free, clean and safe place to use the facilities, get maps, coupons, and literature on attractions – sometimes they even have free small coffees and sodas for the visitors. Have a great inexpensive trip!

  29. 159

    Nancy says

    We have been to Asheville several times and would love to go again. Asheville is beautiful in all the seasons. We would visit Biltmore again, tour the winery there, eat at the Deer Park Inn, and for the first time we would take a trolley tour!

  30. 161

    Carolyn G says

    I live in NC close to Asheville but not close enough to visit all the time. I have always wanted to go to the Biltmore. I have heard such great things and during the Christmas season they decorate it beautifully and I want to go see that.

  31. 162


    I have always wanted to go to the Biltmore, I also would love to take the Historical Trolley Tour, I took a similar tour when we were in Savannah Georgia, it was great. It was actually a good starting point so that we then knew what to look for when we were walking around.
    I signed up for the newsletter and also for the tourism package. Thanks

  32. 168

    kim says

    My tip? Visit relatives and stay with them and take day trips around the area they live in. If someone offers their home to you– take them up on the offer!!

    Also travel to places on the off season when possible. Camping is also inexpensive! Also always visit the State Welcome Center for coupon books- early bird dinners can be really cheap!

  33. 169

    Sarah @ Mom's Marbles says

    We’re headed that way soon so this would be great!
    My tip?
    We make sure to get a hotel room with a fridge so we can bring some groceries for breakfast and lunch. Then we can feel better about spending more on nice dinners. :)

  34. 170

    Tina Middleton says

    Definetly bringing your own snacks and drinks in the car. Prices are so high at gas stations. Also my husbands mother came up with a cool idea for road trips. By a bunch of fun toys or books at the dollar store and then every hour the kids get a new surprise to keep them happy and busy through out the trip!

  35. 171

    Laura says

    Cheap travel trips-always pack your own food. We generally only eat one real meal per day when traveling and always order water!

  36. 172

    Laura says

    I signed up for the newsletter. I’ve briefly visited Asheville in the past and love to walk around and look in the unique shops.

  37. 174

    Jen says

    Pack snacks! This helps reduce the urge to pick up a bag of chips here and a soda there. Helps with reducing your travel budget!

  38. 175

    Selene M. says

    When traveling, save money on dining by taking your own snacks, staying in hotels with free breakfast, and eating a large meal at lunch when prices may be cheaper and you’ll have the chance to walk off some of those calories.

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