When it comes to the best places to visit in North Carolina, the mountains and rugged coastline in this state provide the perfect playground for activities and adventure seekers. In fact, this is the perfect destination for rafting, hiking and even road tripping while stunning scenery acts as a truly stunning backdrop.
After all, it is here you can cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway or get lost in the Smoky Mountains before uncovering the long and fascinating history of the Outer Banks. Sure, North Carolina may not be the most famous tourist destination in the United States but make no mistake; this is a fascinating State with more than enough attractions to warrant a lengthy stay.
With this in mind, here are five attractions and unique encounters that you should seek out in terms of what to do in North Carolina:
Top Five Places to Visit in North Carolina
1. Blue Ridge Mountains ParkwayIn case you might be asking yourself, the “Parkway” refers to the road running through the famous Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.
As you might expect, this is a breathtaking route for a road trip and a convertible in particular as it winds its way through the Appalachian Mountains. In fact, the Parkway travels from Cherokee all the way to Virginia and is much quieter than alternative routes given that die load vehicles and trucks are not allowed on the road.
Furthermore, the speed limit is relatively low which appeases most drivers who wish to exercise caution and then patience when it comes to taking photograph stops along the way. With this in mind, the beautiful scenery is undoubtedly the highlight of the Blue Ridge Mountains but then there are also many stops enroute which provide easy access to other attractions.
For example, you will find art stalls, craft shops and every museum on several exists which go a long way to illustrating the long and fascinating history behind this majestic wilderness.
2. Chimney Rock State Park
Although North America is known for having some of the most iconic hiking trails, Chimney Rock State Park is home to some genuinely unique trails. Located just a short drive from Asheville, this hidden treasure also features an incredibly beautiful waterfall, Hickory Nut Falls. At the same time, the highlight of this park is the Chimney Rock which offers spectacular views of the surrounding area at the top of a rather significant climb.
That is to say, there are more than 500 steps leading to the top of the rock so visitors should be aware that accessibility is dependent on a little bit of physical activity. On the other hand, the rest of the park is overflowing with beautiful colors and leafy vegetation, which make this one of the most iconic places to visit in North Carolina. In this sense, whether you want to keep active or simply drink in the views, take a trip into this wilderness never fails to impress visitors, tourists and locals alike.
3. Great Smoky MountainsMany visitors are in no doubt in terms of what to do in North Carolina, for vibrant cities and colorful natural parks are plentiful throughout the state. Among these attractions, the Smoky Mountains is arguably the most famous and popular priority for intrepid travelers. In many ways, this popularity is due to the accessible nature of the park but the truth is, this is also a wildlife haven where more than 1,400 black bears roam free amidst fox, deer, elk and a variety of birdlife.
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While you will find day tours to the Smoky Mountains fro various cities, taking a road trip is usually the best option for getting around. In this respect, the roads are nicely paved and well marked while the prominent attractions in the park are just as easy to locate.
Furthermore, this is another hiking haven where waterfalls, rolling landscapes, and luscious vegetation accompany almost one thousand miles of hiking trails. While some of these are rather steep and strenuous to navigate, there are several trails which offer a nice option for taking a relaxing stroll in one of the most iconic National Parks in North America.
4. The Outer Banks
Meanwhile, along the Atlantic Coastline in North Carolina, you can also find an enchanting lineup of islands known as the Outer Banks. Interestingly, these islands were once famous for being inhabited by notorious pirates which included the legend “Blackbeard”.
However, the Outer Banks is now dominated by sand dunes and better known as the home of some truly beautiful wild horses. At the center of this region, you will find Nags Head which offers quite an entertaining albeit slightly touristic encounter. In other words, mini golf, craft shops, restaurants and souvenir stalls are common while the infrastructure is somewhat developed in comparison with the rest of the island.
Further out, Bodie and Roanoke Island are an interesting insight into colonial times or when British explorers began to settle in the region. Indeed, this period traces way back in the late 1500s which only serves to illustrate the historical significance of the Outer Banks. In fact, one of the towns in the region, Manteo, is often referred to as the “Lost Colony”.
Although the above-mentioned areas are the most visited, both Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras are two more iconic landmarks which ensure the Outer Banks is one of the most interesting places to visit in North Carolina.
If you yearn for one of the most awe-inspiring beaches in North Carolina, Kure, Wrightsville and Carolina beaches are some of the most impressive. In fact, the surf is nothing short of spectacular here and the sands are as fine as you will find anywhere along the coastline.
At the same time, Wilmington is also known for the historic port and NC Aquarium which is widely regarded as the best in North America. With this in mind, the Riverwalk in Wilmington is an incredibly interesting place for a stroll where plantations and mansions provide a story backdrop to the area. In this respect, you will find the longest-running peanut plantation in the country, Poplar Grove
Plantation and the particularly impressive Bellamy Mansion. However, this particular area is lined with galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes while you can find the Battleship North Carolina moored on the Cape Fear River which runs alongside. As you might expect, this historic ship is full of artifact and visitors can encounter a touch of World War history on board for a very small fee.
As you can see, attractions are plentiful in the region but needless to say, there are many more places to visit in North Carolina which are just as fascinating. Indeed, whether you take a trip through the Blue Ridge Mountains in a convertible or take a stroll along the beautiful waterfront in Wilmington; there is more than enough to encounter in this exciting pocket of North America.