If you’re reading this it can only mean two things:
1. You’re planning a trip to North Carolina
2. You need help planning
With so much to see and so little time to see it, we want to make the most of our travels. North Carolina may just be a blip on your radar, but between its beaches, bustling cities, and wilderness, its got something for everyone.
Of course, unless you’re planning on moving to the Tar Heel State, you probably won’t have enough time to see everything it has to offer. That’s why we’ve prepared the ultimate guide of things to do in North Carolina, just for you.
Trust us, you’re going to want to take notes.
Your Ultimate Things to Do in North Carolina Guide
From the coastline to mountain ranges, North Carolina is jam-packed with an incredible history, art galleries, monuments, civil war sites, museums, beaches, and so much more. Whether you’re going for a weekend getaway or planning an extended stay, you’ll never run out of things to do here.
Where to start will probably the hardest decision to make, so we’ll leave that entirely up to you. Now without further adieu, here are the top places to visit in North Carolina:
#1 The Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore Estate is one of the top North Carolina attractions as it is the largest private estate in the United States. The estate sits on top of 8,000 acres of gorgeous land—which includes a farm and gardens. You can tour the land once you’ve finished walking among the 250 rooms fulls of antiques and artwork.
#2 The Pisgah National Forest
While you’re in Asheville, you’re going to want to take a nature hike through the Pisgah National Forest. If hiking isn’t your thing, perhaps waterslides are—that’s right, located within the forest is a 60-foot tall and completely natural water slide. During certain times of the year, the water below the slide pools up to seven feet, and the water temperature reaches up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Book your cabin rental in Asheville now, this spot gets pretty crowded.
#3 Lake Lure
Lake Lure is referred to as “the crown jewel of North Carolina” and has the most beautiful man-made lake nestled within the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s just 27 miles outside of Asheville, it’s the perfect place for a romantic getaway with its stunning views, shops, restaurants, and its lakeside beach.
It also doesn’t hurt that Dirty Dancing was filmed in part there—they even have a Dirty Dancing festival each year.
#4 The Battleship North Carolina
Just across the river from downtown Wilmington, the Battleship North Carolina is an integral piece of American history. This ship was the most decorated battleship from World War II with fifteen battleship stars, and it’s now a museum for tourists to marvel at. It’s also a historic national landmark.
#5 The Mountains to Sea Trail
The Mountains to Sea Trail is the official state-hiking trail of North Carolina, and there’s really nothing like it. The trail begins at the Great Smokey Mountains and ends—1,175 miles later—at the Outer Banks Islands. With many other trails spreading throughout, you’ll even come across a section of the famous Appalachian Trail.
You don’t have to hike the entire trail, although many people do, camping along the way.
#6 The Outer Banks
The Outer Banks (OBX) is also known as America’s first beach because it’s where the English first tried to settle in the “new world”. It’s full of uncrowded beaches and of endless possibilities. There’s plenty of history, day trip spots, great surf, diverse restaurants, shopping, art, events, and so much more. The OBX is a great place for families and friends to gather.
You can visit Roanoake Island while you’re here, and explore the location of the historically famed lost settlement.
#7 The Linville Gorge Wilderness
The Linville Gorge Wilderness is home to one of the United State’s deepest gorges. Dubbed the “Grandy Canyon of the East”, the gorge is complemented by 90-foot cascading waterfalls and several hiking trails. It’s part of the Pisgah National Forest in Asheville, North Carolina, and it’s arguably one of the most scenic locations in all of Eastern America.
#8 The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center
You’ll find this popular tourist attraction in the heart of Chapel Hill at the University of North Carolina. The planetarium has been open to guests since 1949, offering a scheduled rotation of different shows and exhibits in the Science Center featuring a special look into their history of astronaut training and celestial navigation. It’s quite a special place, especially if you consider that many of the astronauts who trained here made it to the moon.
#9 The Blue Ridge Parkway
If you’re renting a car during your trip, you’re going to want to take the famous scenic drive otherwise known as “America’s favorite drive”. The drive itself hosts one of a kind views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the endless scenery of its surrounding landscape. There are plenty of pull-off spots along the highway for picnics, hiking, and camping.
It’s especially popular to drive through during summer when azaleas and rhododendrons are in full bloom and even more so in October, aka foliage season.
#10 The Museum of Natural Sciences
Located in the city of Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is free and offers more than 25 incredible exhibits. Here you can watch research scientists in action and learn all about the discoveries made among the state’s mountain ranges and coastal regions. It’s also the largest natural history museum in Southeast America.
You’ll Fall in Love with North Carolina
With all of the incredible places and things to do in North Carolina, you’ll never want to leave. Whether you go alone, with a lover, family, or friends, the memories you make will be unforgettable.
Check back with us daily as we’re always posting about our favorite places to visit and more.