Top 10 Most Famous North Carolina Landmarks Travelers Talk About

North Carolina may have one of the unique landscapes of any state in the country. In its west can be found ample, cloud covered mountains that give way to central plains and hills. It’s east coast is covered in sand dunes and pristine beaches upon some of which roam wild Spanish horses. The entire state is packed with adventure and interesting places to visit, including some of the most famous North Carolina landmarks. We’ve listed ten of them here from west to east to help plan the perfect southern journey.

1. Biltmore Estate: The western portion of the state is home to the largest house in The United States, the daunting, magnificent and absolutely enormous home known as Biltmore. Situated in the mountains, the still family owned residence welcomes visitors to enjoy the rich history and fine craftsmanship that make the house one of the most famous of all North Carolina landmarks. Over one hundred years ago, the massive structure was settled on more than 8,000 acres which include a stunning garden entrance and grand village as well as a winery and more.

2. Cherokee Museum: Near Asheville can be found a true testament to the first inhabitants of the region now settled as North Carolina. A museum dedicated to the people of the Indian Tribe Cherokee can be found here and features numerous displays and exhibits spanning many eras of the civilizations past. The museum is one of the most important North Carolina landmarks because the organization focuses on outreach, education and support and still works to preserve many traditions of the American Indian community including dress, pottery and music.

3. Grandfather Mountain: At just under six thousand feet tall, this generational natural feature is a relatively tall order when it comes to eastern mountains. It’s situated in a part of the Appalachians known as The Blue Ridge Mountains, and cutely passes over an area that is known as Grandmother Gap. It was actually privately owned until 2008, although has always been open to tourists and considered a nature reserve. Photography is very popular here, and so is one of the most precarious looking of all North Carolina landmarks. Here, visitors can traipse across the safely suspended bridge at staggering heights while taking in the stunning scenery all around them.

4. Mount Mitchell: Named for a professor, this perfect peak is the tallest in the Appalachian Mountains and is over 6,500 feet in height. Maybe best viewed from afar from a nearby peak known as Mount Craig, the mountain does provide access for tourists wishing to climb to its top. However, unlike most North Carolina landmarks, this mountain has a tragic past. Professor Mitchell, whom the mount is named for, fell to her death while measuring its height. Her tomb is at the mountain’s summit, along with an observation deck.

5. Craggy Gardens: The high altitude of these near Asheville gardens is what makes them so alluring to guests that want to take in the sights of frosted peaks while also being in awe of the stunning floral displays at their feet. Looking similar to something out of a fairy tale, rooted paths found in the gardens give way to natural rock staircases as visitors weave in and out of the tempered trails. Pink and purple flowers provide a gorgeous backdrop to a picnic or hike, and the gardens as a result are one of the most visited amongst natural North Carolina landmarks each and every year.

6. Looking Glass Falls: South of Asheville can be found a stunning natural water feature that is no doubt one of the most beautiful of all North Carolina landmarks, but may be popular for another reason. Many of the waterfalls found in the state can be challenging to get to, but Looking Glass is easily accessible by car. The falls get their name from their appearance in colder months when the sides freeze, which causes a glistening effect, similar to that produced from a looking glass.

7. Duke University: Northeast of Raleigh in the eastern portion of the state can be found one of the most well known universities in the country and one of the most well known of all North Carolina landmarks. Duke is a private research school that was founded in the early 1800s that retains a great deal of its old world charm and historic appearance. Although it’s a busy campus, guests can still visit some of the old buildings found on site and enjoy some of the rich history that is found at Duke.

8. Kill Devil Hills: This area is known as being one of the more developed towns found within the state’s Outer Banks region and is nearby many historical areas of significance including the monument built to honor the Wright Brothers for their first flight. In fact, many North Carolina landmarks can be found in this area including Jockey’s Ridge State Park, a literal desert near the beach where kites are popular and the sand dunes look like something straight out of the Sahara. The dunes themselves are well known throughout the Outer Banks area, and the shifting sands have successfully covered up putt-putt courses and multiple homes as they sway with the surf and winds.

9. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse: The tallest brick lighthouse in the world and the tallest of any lighthouse in the US can be found at this southern portion of the state’s Outer Banks region. A nearby museum and bookstore await guests with the endurance to climb the structures more than two hundred stairs for what can only be described as an epic view of the outlying areas surrounding it. Lighthouses are common North Carolina landmarks, and the frequency of shipwrecks in the area make them a common sight, but the tower at Hatteras beats them all in terms of grandeur and scale.

10. Bald Island: Although the Outer Banks region of North Carolina is considered a quiet, beachside getaway, it does get crowded during busy season and traffic can become nightmarish. For guests willing to make the drive to the far south of the banks and then hop aboard a ferry, a pedestrian paradise awaits where there are no cars allowed and foot traffic and golf carts provide the modes of transport. The most beautiful of all North Carolina landmarks can be found here, in the form of fourteen miles of stunning beaches. Shopping, golf, dining and more await guests looking for a secluded paradise.