Biltmore again tops NC tourism list

Posted February 24, 2014

Biltmore Estate

— The Biltmore House in Asheville was again the most-visited attraction in North Carolina in 2013, according to Matthews-based Carolina Publishing Associates.

The former estate of the wealthy Vanderbilt family drew more than 1.2 million visitors for the year. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh also topped the million-visitor mark and the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro had a respectable 739,943 guests.

The Triangle claims seven of the top 30 most-visited attractions in the state.

Most-visited museums and attractions, 2013 

1. Biltmore, Asheville, 1,210,138.

2. NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, 1,026,177.

3. North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, 739,943.

4. Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, 722,260.

5. Discovery Place, Charlotte, 705,845.

6. Marbles Kids Museum, Raleigh. 648,450.

7. Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach. 614,158.

8.Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, 489,123.

9. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach, 447,892.

10. Museum of Life and Science, Durham, 421,095.

11. NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, 389, 612.

12. Jennette's Pier, Nags Head, 308,786.

13. North Carolina Arboretum, Asheville. 332,748.

14. Greensboro Science Center, 325,536.

15. NC Maritime Museums (Beaufort, Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, Hatteras, NC Maritime Museum at Southport), 325,921.

16. NC Museum of History, Raleigh. 288,800.

17. North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 287,605.

18. NC Aquarium at Roanoke Island, Manteo, 275,141.

19. Fort Raleigh National Historic Park, Manteo, 264,942.

20. Grandfather Mountain, Linville, 314,127.

21. Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington, 211,724

22. Chimney Rock State Park, Chimney Rock. 194,073.

23. Duke University Chapel, Durham, 182,215.

24. Tryon Palace, New Bern 181,350.

25. NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, 173,024.

26. Linville Caverns, Marion, 170,689.

27. Old Salem Museums & Gardens, Winston-Salem, 146,900.

28. Cherokee Cultural Attractions, Cherokee, 145,778.

29. Morehead Planetarium, Chapel Hill, NC 142,135.

30. Mint Museums, Charlotte, 142,057.


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  • lori27605 Feb 25, 2014

    An interesting thing I learned regarding the Biltmore was that George Vanderbilt (who built the house) and his wife Edith had actually booked a trip aboard the Titanic. However, a family member supposedly had concerns about them going and ultimately talked them out of it. Their luggage and one of their servants (Edward Wheeler) had already been sent and placed aboard the ship. There was no time to remove the luggage and the servant decided to stay aboard as a second-class passenger. The servant perished and of course George and Edith's lives were spared due to their last minute decision.

  • Huey Feb 25, 2014

    Been there - seen it - was very impressed but would not really care to go back. Other places on the list I've been to many times. Guess I'm still too much a kid.

  • Linzie Washington Feb 25, 2014
    user avatar

    "killing all of the people who consider Asheville a "bohemian" hotbed of evil liberalism"
    Quite the contrary, I think it is ironic that a city that is so liberal spouts about the evils of the rich while reaping the benefits of this symbol of capitalism, wealth and everything that they claim to hate.
    When we visited, the downtown college atmosphere with the political signs was a bit over the top, so we limited our time in that part of town, but the house was amazing. We also love visiting that part of the state - it is so beautiful, even if it is a hotbed of liberalism in parts.

  • TP4Real Feb 25, 2014

    This must be killing all of the people who consider Asheville a "bohemian" hotbed of evil liberalism and horrors. It's always enjoyable hearing all the old folks up here in the mountains swearing they'll never set foot in that devil's den. The lack of bigotry and hatred is what makes it such a nice place to visit.

  • luvstoQ Feb 25, 2014

    MIKE H -
    mindlessly tacky?? Have you been there? If you want to see 'tacky' go to Virginia Beach or Myrtle Beach - or some similar places.

    Biltmore is actually a very historical place and the grounds are gorgeous. Not for everyone, maybe, but it's very obvious to me why it is the most visited attraction in NC - so old, and totally unexpected in that environment.

    The 'behind the scenes' tour is amazing also. It was a place that was totally before it's time as far as inventions.

  • sinenomine Feb 25, 2014

    I've been to Biltmore twice, in 1970 and again in 2007. It's a must see but one tip - avoid it like the plague on a really hot, humid summer day. For all its luxe the place isn't air conditioned. You'll sweat off a good five pounds.

    Some say it's tacky, and in some ways it is. Just look around you, though. In any North Raleigh neighborhood of older homes you'll find places where scrapers have been replaced with mini-Biltmores which slavishly imitate the architectural hallmarks of the original. Like hidden headlights, half vinyl roofs, and opera lights on 1970s cars there's always a market for useless, tacky junk among those apt to fall for the ploy in the Emperor's New Clothes.

  • Forthe Newssite Feb 24, 2014
    user avatar

    I'm embarrassed to say that after living in NC since 1956 I went here for the first time last month. Its beautiful even in dead of winter and to listen to the history and see everything, how advanced it all was for the times......the swimming pool blew me away ;) Everyone should have the chance to see it-it's HISTORY not tacky

  • Paul Edwards Feb 24, 2014
    user avatar

    Great place. Capitalism at its finest. The original electrical wiring in that house from 1900 still passes code today. Naysayers, take a tour. You may learn something.

  • nghtstarz2 Feb 24, 2014

    The Biltmore Estate is beautiful and historic! It is worth every penny! Last time my family went, they had horseback riding available and it was the highlight of our trip. The house and gardens are great but the staff are so friendly and wonderfully helpful!

  • Bill of Rights Feb 24, 2014

    The Biltmore? I can't believe something so mindlessly tacky actually made it to the list, much less the top of the list ...