Top 10 Places To Visit in North Carolina
It does not get any more “southern” than in North Carolina, this beautiful State situated at the eastern shores of the US facing the Atlantic Ocean is a great place to experience true Southern hospitality, historical attractions, Atlantic Ocean sandy beach stretches and the true beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. The Tar Heel State as it’s nicknamed is a place of contrasts where Old South meets New, where million dollar mansions come back to back with trailer park communities. That what makes it fun to explore, you just never know what might surprise you in this marvel of a state.
Our North Carolina Travel Guide presents top 10 places to visit in North Carolina.
1. Charlotte – The biggest and busiest city in the State that symbolizes New South with a decent deal of historical landmarks thrown in the mix. The Mint Museum holds an impressive collection of artwork, while Discovery Place is geared more towards families with kids and Carolinas Aviation museum is frequented to aviation buffs. Locals are also big on sports, so make sure to catch a football or basketball games or a NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. No North Carolina vacation is complete without tasting a true Southern BBQ that is served at a variety of joints here.
2. Raleigh – North Carolina’s capital is brimming with educational establishments, awesome museums and lovely restaurant and microbreweries scenes. To start off your visit, see several of Raleigh’s best museums like Raleigh City Museum, Museum of Art, Museum of History and Museum of Natural Sciences, to name just a few. North Carolina State Capitol also gets crowds of tourists along with Joel Lane Museum House designed in 18th century for a famous local plantation owner and politician.
3. Asheville – Located amidst beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a gem of a destination drawing more prosperous citizens of North Carolina to call this place their home. Without a doubt, Asheville’s top landmark is Biltmore Estate which architectural design mimics 19th century French Chateaux and contains over 250 rooms within its luxurious walls surrounded by well manicured lawns and gardens. Asheville’s art galleries are too numerous to list, annual festivals celebrate good food, wine and local brews while outdoor opportunities include hiking, fishing, horseback riding and even rafting.
4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – One of the notable double state Tennessee and North Carolina attractions due to its combination of historical and natural wonder landmarks that draw almost 10 million annual visitors. Hiking is the key activity because here you will find almost 800 miles of various trails, roads, paths including popular and internationally acclaimed Appalachian Trail set at scenic surroundings.
5. Outer Banks – Stretching along a 200 mile string along the North Carolina and Virginia coasts, visitors will find one of the major tourist places to visit in North Carolina. Great beaches, a whole a lot of history and activities are awaiting anyone arriving here. The perfect long sandy beaches were what helped the Wright Brothers make their first powered flight lasting only 12 seconds which will remain forever in history. Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial located in Kitty Hawk, NC which showcases a replica of their first aircraft. Outer Banks Lighthouses are another very interesting feature in North Carolina because the waters just off the Outer Banks are nicknamed the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” due to treacherous tidal and fog conditions. These lighthouses are like lifelines for many ships that pass by this area; Bodie Island Lighthouse and Currituck Beach Lighthouse are some of the oldest ones in the country and could be fun to tour if you have a few spare hours on your vacation.
6. Boone – This lovely University town is home to Appalachian University and one of the best places to retire in North Carolina. Blue Ridge Parkway is the top attraction presenting a scenic road that runs for almost 500 miles through Blue Ridge Mountain region. Take your time traveling along this parkway since there are literally hundreds of points of interest like lookouts providing breathtaking views, parks, picnic areas and so much more.
7. Wilmington – One of the most popular places to visit in North Carolina for beach lovers, rest assured here you will find plenty of beach activities, historical sites, great museums and festivals to enjoy year round. Historical plantations are on the top list to see for many travelers seeking to get in touch with NC past, including the Poplar Grove Plantation which is considered one of the oldest peanut plantations in the South. Bellamy Mansion is another fine example of historical architecture of the time that now houses museum of arts and history. Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach are both worthy attraction, the first one has a great seafront boardwalk with restaurants, shops and entertainment venues.
8. Stone Mountain State Park – Proclaimed a National Natural Landmarks, Stone Mountain is the hot local attractions. Its size, shape and composition of exposed granite make it one of the most popular rock climbing area in the state. Lovely creeks that flow through the Park create great trout fishing opportunities.
9. Tryon Palace – North Carolina’s Historic Site is a recreation of a governor’s mansion during colonial times combining not one but two historical museums on its grounds. These are not your ordinary museums but rather super interactive experiences visitors with families love to engage in. You will be asked to help a shop keeper of the time, make a quilt or do other tasks typical for that time period. Do not miss 16 acres of gardens with perfectly landscaped with plants native to the land of North Carolina.
10. South of the Border – Perhaps one of the cheesiest places to visit in North Carolina that is screaming stereotypes, but it nonetheless appears on many travelers’ “to see lists” in the Tar Heel State. You can expect to see gigantic neon signage with larger than life sombrero hats, ponchos and cacti. This roadside attraction features restaurants serving up expected Mexican dishes, souvenirs, adult goods and fireworks shopping. Just another one of NC tourists traps to check off your lists.