Samantha Brown's Favorite US Destination For Outdoor Adventures

Samantha Brown is a world traveler who has been to more than 60 countries and 250 cities. Brown's expertise has led to her hosting shows on the Travel Channel and producing one on PBS. She also has a luggage line and a blog that documents her experiences. Given her time traveling, she's come up with some favorite destinations. One of them, as she revealed on her blog, is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

The beautiful estate boasts over 8,000 acres and has history in its halls. It consists of 250 rooms and the walls are adorned with an extensive art collection. Brown's favorite part is the gardens — there are six of them ready to be explored. They serve as a beautiful hidden gem because, according to Brown, most people overlook them when they stay in the estate's house. You'll find various forms of plant life in the neatly manicured gardens. The green space is magnificent, and you'll be able to wander around for hours. People of all ages can take in the beauty and serenity of the massive gardens, and you likely won't have to hassle with large crowds. Visit yourself and see why Brown puts this spot at the top of her U.S. outdoor travel list.

A wondrous garden

The Biltmore Estate belongs to the Vanderbilt family and has been in the family since it was built in 1895. George Washington Vanderbilt, the grandson of the famous industrialist Cornelius Vanderbilt, had it built as a summer home. Today, it is the country's biggest privately owned home, and will likely continue to be passed down to future generations to come.

The gardens at the Biltmore Estate are pristine and kept that way by professional horticulturists. Their attention to detail is impeccable. You'll find beautiful flowers like azaleas, witch hazel, and tulips blooming in the spring, and gorgeous foliage in the fall. In addition to wandering amongst the plants, you can take advantage of the many activities available for visitors. Try your hand at archery or clay shooting; hop on a raft or kayak and leisurely drift along the French Broad River; hike, bike, or horseback ride along the many trails throughout the estate — all of these options and more await you. They also decorate according to the holidays, giving the place a festive flare.

"Despite the pricey admission charge, at least once in your lifetime, you have to experience the grandeur of the Biltmore Estate," a reviewer on TripAdvisor wrote. "It's awe-inspiring, enthralling, and leaves you simply amazed." Tickets cost between $70 and $110 depending on when you go and grant you access to all parts of the estate, not just the gardens.

More to the estate

The other parts of the historic mansion include the conservatory, house, winery, and Antler Hill Village, which is a small village inside the estate that's great for shopping. Each section is worth visiting, however, just be prepared to see plenty of people trying to do the same — meaning, you'll likely run into crowds in the house and at the shops in the village.

If you're interested in tropical plants, then the conservatory is the perfect stop for you. "The Conservatory offers a year-round indoor tropical oasis that will make you forget the outside temperatures for a while," conservatory horticulturist Todd Roy told Biltmore.

You can stay overnight at the estate in one of their cottages, the hotel, or the inn, or dine in one of the four-star restaurants on-site when you purchase a day ticket. Check out their website for specials, including packages that allow for fascinating experiences. See for yourself why Samantha Brown adores the Biltmore Estate and its majestic gardens.