For some of that Old South charm, stunning beaches and admirable mountain scenery, North Carolina is the place to visit. And of course, the world-famous NASCAR sporting event can’t be forgotten – it is America’s top spectator sport. There are endless amounts of fun activities to get stuck into and experience in North Carolina; whether you’re an outdoors go-getter, a laid-back beach swimmer or a vibrant city dweller, this South-eastern state has something for you to enjoy.
1. Beaches of Outer Banks
Known to the locals as OBX, these barrier islands, which were once a favorite destination for pirates, run 200-miles along the North Carolina Coastline. Outer Banks is now a popular tourist destination due to its white sandy beaches, summer sun and fun activities. For energetic travelers, it’s a popular destination for surfing, biking, fishing, kayaking and hang gliding. There are numerous lighthouses to climb, including Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. There is a preservation area where unique and endangered birds can be spotted, along with the nesting grounds of several sea turtle species. There is nothing more fun than getting family or friends together and driving out to a beach house for a relaxing summer vacation.
As the largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte brings a lot of activities to the table, especially if you are big into motorsports. The NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Motor Speedway are found here, and almost all the race shops are open to the public. If you are from out of state, check out these legal ways to gamble online in Indiana so you can place your bets at the next NASCAR event. For those of you less interested in cars, there is an abundance of green space running through the city, including the picturesque Little Sugar Creek Greenway. A visit to Charlotte would not be complete without experiencing the thrill of water sports at the US National Whitewater Center, where you can have a go at anything and everything, from kayaking and rafting to an aerial obstacle course. Try something new, step out of your comfort zone and experience a thrill you will never forget!
2. Blue Ridge Mountains
There are extensive hiking trails in the vast Blue Ridge Mountains, and many are easily accessed by the Blue Ridge Parkway, the 469-mile road that links the Great Smoky Mountains to Shenandoah National Park. The surrounding landscapes are surreal, especially in fall when the trees are illuminated with vibrant reds, yellows and oranges. There are numerous picnic spots for you to absorb the view, and you can find campgrounds in sublime settings. Visitor centers and museums can be found on route, including Mabry Mill, which has demonstrations of traditional jobs, and The Folk-Art Center which allows local craftspeople to showcase their work. Also a popular route for cyclists and motorcyclists, the endless views and spectacular scenery can be enjoyed and admired by everyone.
Asheville is home to America’s largest private home, Vanderbilt Mansion, which boasts over 250 rooms decorated with admirable works of art and interesting antiques and architecture. After exploring the ornate pools and sculptures in the grounds and spotting deer in the forest, you can go wine tasting in the Biltmore Estate Winery. If beer is more your thing, downtown Asheville has more brewers per capita than any city in America. The dynamic and artsy community that has been recently revitalized features boutique shopping experiences, local crafts stores, funky bars and innovative restaurants. Named America’s Quirkiest Town by Travel & Leisure in 2014, you are guaranteed to have fun here.
Don’t listen to TLC, you should definitely go chasing waterfalls, and the mountains of North Carolina are full of incredible cascades just waiting to be discovered. Many of them are easy to access through trails and short walks, whereas others are deeper into the lush wilderness and are for the more adventurous hikers. Linville Gorge is one of the most scenic in the area, located in the Pisgah National Forest. The river drops a staggering 90 feet and tumbles through 12 miles of steep rock walls. An easy trail takes you to four overlooks of these monumental falls, but there are numerous smaller, yet just as enticing falls to visit in the area.
There are five ski resorts for avid mountain enthusiasts to choose from – the two biggest being Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain, which top over 5,000 feet and provide easy access to Banner Elk, a quirky little town full of culture, dining and arts. Wolf Ridge’s gentle slopes are more suited to families, whereas the Appalachian Ski Mountain has three terrain parks for experienced skiers and boarders to test out their skills. Finally, Cataloochee Ski Area is a typical, laid-back resort with a range of runs for all abilities. Whether you’re a seasoned snow bunny or a complete beginner, skiing or snowboarding is a fun winter activity to enjoy in North Carolina.
There’s such a variety of things to do and see in North Carolina that you’re sure to find something fun in no time!