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Savvy Travel & Family Time

Exploring the Old North State: 9 Places to Visit in North Carolina

Are you planning to visit the Old North State for the first time? You’re in for a treat! Here are 9 exciting places to visit in North Carolina.

North Carolina is the kind of state where one visit won’t be enough. With its rugged coastline, extraordinary mountainous parks, and fascinating local history, a vacation in NC will be unforgettable. 

The best places to visit in North Carolina often revolve around the great outdoors. That’s because this state has easy access to beautiful landscapes of every type. Don’t think you have to travel far from civilization either. In NC, you can go from city to scenery in a moment. 

Bursting with museums, arty districts, and cozy restaurants, there’s a lot to keep you entertained indoors too. Kids will love interactive attractions and families can fill every day with excitement. 

Keep reading to discover some of the most wonderful places to see in North Carolina. 

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

There’s only one problem with visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once you visit, you’ll never want to leave. 

This immense park is covered in vibrant forests with waterfalls and streams around every corner. Hiking to the peaks and through the valleys is an enchanting experience and you’ll see wildlife everywhere. 

Kids will love the Clingmans Dome observation deck, well worth the trip just over the Tennessee border. Treat the family to a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad steam train and stop off at Mingo Falls. 

2. Asheville

If you’re looking for a city base for your NC vacation, booking one of the vacation rentals Asheville has to offer is a great idea. 

This city in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is laid-back, pedestrian-friendly, and filled with independent shops. Craft breweries and family-owned restaurants cement the happy local vibe and visitors are welcomed with open arms. 

In Asheville, you can visit Biltmore Village and the Biltmore Estate with its grand house and vast grounds. Get to know the city by taking a hop-on, hop-off trolley tour, the coolest way to get around. 

3. Pisgah National Forest

Outside of Asheville, you’ll find a haven for mountain bikers in Pisgah National Forest. One of the best places for mountain biking in the United States, Pisgah is a beautiful place no matter how good you are on a bike. 

You can rent mountain bikes from many local businesses and with hundreds of miles of trails, you’ll always find one that suits your abilities. 

You can hike and camp in Pisgah too, so don’t miss an opportunity to embrace this phenomenal park. 

4. Carolina Beach

North Carolina is well known for its incredible mountains but it also has 322 miles of coastline! Carolina Beach is a great place to take a beach vacation as it’s lively and has plenty to do for couples and families. 

With sand dunes and lots of summer sun, take a book and relax on the shore. When you’re in danger of falling asleep, go explore the boardwalk and take the kids to the arcade or for a game of miniature golf. 

With fishing, surfing, yoga, and running all popular Carolina Beach activities, your vacation can be both relaxing and active. 

5. Raleigh

The capital of North Carolina, Raleigh makes for a fantastic base. If you love the culture, galleries, and vibrant cities, you’ll love it here.

One of the best ways to explore Raleigh is by signing up for a walking tour. From beer and food tours to historic buildings, you’ll soon feel right at home. 

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is nationally renowned and children will find plenty to do in there as well. When the sun is shining, head to Pullen Park with its green spaces, paddle boats, and carousel. 

6. Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the best places to visit in North Carolina isn’t really a place at all, it’s a road. The Blue Ridge Parkway is an astounding road that travels hundreds of miles through mountains and valleys. 

Turning your vacation into a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip guarantees you stunning sights and endless adventure. With campgrounds and historic destinations along the route, you could spend a week or more enjoying this road. Hike, bike, and look out for the local wildlife. 

7. Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras is infamous among sailors but when you’re on vacation, it’s a fantastic place to visit. A promontory island reaching out into the Atlantic, when you stand on the National Seashore here, you’ll be looking across the ocean to Europe. 

Visit the Cape Hatteras lighthouse and the breathtaking Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum to learn more about the area. The beach is beautiful too, so make time to sunbathe and go swimming. 

8. Croatan National Forest

Sandwiched between Jacksonville and New Bern, Croatan National Forest is a beautiful place for an active, family vacation. Unlike many of North Carolina’s forests, Croatan is relatively flat and has abundant lakes. 

Camping here is one of the best ways to embrace the park and you can hike bike, and even kayak. Swimming in the lakes is fun for the whole family and when everyone’s hungry, a picnic is the icing on the cake. 

9. Cape Lookout National Seashore

Not far from Croatan National Forest is the coastline and the barrier islands of Cape Lookout. This area is remote and undeveloped, giving visitors an experience of wilderness. 

Take a boat ride to the island and walk along the sandy beach with Atlantic waves crashing on the shoreline. Camp right on the sand and see if you can find the wild horses that live on Shackleford Banks. 

Staying at Cape Lookout is the perfect way to get away from the hectic activity of modern life and experience something more wild and free. 

The Best Places to Visit in North Carolina

North Carolina is a state of rugged coastlines and forested mountains. It’s rich in culture and has a welcoming, friendly atmosphere no matter where you go. The best places to visit in North Carolina offer outdoor activities and a chance to escape day-to-day life. 

Watch the vast Atlantic crash onto NC shores, go mountain biking in Pisgah, drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, and explore the funky streets of Asheville. Your North Carolina vacation might be your first visit to this wonderful state, but it won’t be the last. 

Follow us for more amazing insights into the best places to vacation in and make the most of your time off. 

2 Comments

  • Dana Rodriguez

    Beautiful state for sure. Great Smoky Mountains is an excellent suggestion. Being from TN originally I have been there many many times and you are right. You won’t want to leave.

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