Best Places to Visit in North Carolina

North Carolina has an abundance of coastline, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, enabling visitors to experience scuba diving, sunbathing, or relaxing on the beach. Because of the state’s long history, significant heritage sites from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars can be found. Every traveler will find something to like in North Carolina places to visit. Beautiful beaches, breathtaking mountain vistas, as well as plenty of Old South charm abound in this state.

Because of the shifting seasons, you may warm up in North Carolina in the springtime by exploring mountains or coastal resorts. There are additional vineyards for adults to visit, as well as theme parks for people of all ages.

Hiking, mountain climbing, and skiing are just a few of the outdoor activities available, as well as a taste of Appalachian heritage in the Blue Ridge and Smokey mountains, or a visit to one of North Carolina’s increasingly diversified cities. Tourists to the state’s coastline region will find plenty of sun and sand, with the Outer Banks’ quiet coastal areas and Wilmington’s bustling beach-side city. The below list of top places to visit in North Carolina will definitely make your travel easy.

If you visit in the spring or summer, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a world-renowned music festival, but no matter when you go, don’t miss out on these top things to do and best tourist attractions in North Carolina:

Places to Visit in North Carolina

Biltmore Estate:

It is one of the most popular places to visit and tourist spots in North Carolina is the Biltmore Estate. The great estate is the largest privately held house in the United States. The Belmont family owns it, and the mansion and gardens are free to the public to tour.

The Biltmore Estate is a Gilded Age home that was constructed in 1895 and is currently on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States. It is one of the best things to do in North Carolina because it provides visitors with a variety of experiences.

Take a tour of the house to admire the maintained period décor that reflects the family’s affluence. The tours are self-guided and include audio to help you learn more about each room. Throughout the home, there are also various displays. You can stroll through the grounds, eat at the restaurant, or visit the winery for a wine sampling.

The greatest season to travel the mansion is in the spring, when the flowers are in bloom, or even during the holiday season when the festivities are in full swing.

Chimney Rock State Park:

Chimney Rock State Park, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from Asheville, features miles of hiking trails as well as the spectacular Hickory Nut Falls, which is 400 feet (120 meters) tall. Of course, the most well-known attraction in this state park is the Chimney Rock, a more than 300-foot (90-meter) monolith with spectacular amazing views area.

To reach the summit of the Chimney, tourists can either ride the 26-story elevator or walk 500 steps (about comparable to 31 flights of stairs). The North Carolina General Assembly officially established this park in 2005, therefore it is still relatively new.

Bald Head Island:

Bald Head Island is one of the great places to visit in North Carolina if you’re searching for a place where the pace is slower and there are no cars. This island, which can only be visited by ferry or private boat from the city of Southport, has 14 miles (23 kilometers) of beaches and a laid-back vibe. On this island, you can get around by walking, cycling, or riding on a golf cart.

Marshes, marine woods, and the Bald Head Island Golf Course are among the island’s landscapes. This island is also a turtle breeding site, and the Bald Head Island Conservancy offers Turtle Walks throughout the summer months for those who want to assist monitor a nest for emerging babies or keep an eye out for mothers coming ashore to lay their eggs.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best places to visit in North Carolina and a must-see during your stay. It is the most visited national park in the United States, with over 12 million visitors per year. The Park is a great place to go for sightseeing, outdoor leisure, and more.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers North Carolina and Tennessee and covers approximately 500,000 acres. The Great Smoky Mountain Range and parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains are also included. There are also a variety of other landscape characteristics, including forests and waterfalls.

Hanging Rock State Park:

This beautiful park in the Sauratown Mountains, adjacent to Winston-Salem, provides tourists over 18 miles (29 km) of trails ranging from simple to challenging, as well as a lake ideal for boating, fishing, and swimming. A variety of beautiful waterfalls can also be seen in the park.

For tourists who desire to stay in the park, Hanging Rock State Park includes eleven cabins and a tent and trailer campsite. The Devil’s Chimney and the eponymous Hanging Rock are two of Hanging Rock State Park’s most iconic quartzite structures and ridges.

Old Salem:

Old Salem is a historical place that recreates life in Winston-Salem during the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors can see and fully appreciate the culture and numerous trades of the Moravian colonizers who lived in this area by interacting with reenactments and strolling the streets of this National Historic Site.

Visitors to Old Salem, for example, can observe shoemakers, gunsmiths, and tailors performing their trades or creating their wares. In addition, some areas of Old Salem provide hands-on activities for visitors.

USS North Carolina Battleship:

Climb aboard the USS North Carolina Battleship to learn about its wartime heritage as one of World War II’s most successful vessels. Wilmington, NC is where the ship is docked. It’s a museum where visitors can wander through the ship and get a sense of what it’s like to be on board.

USS North Carolina Battleship was operated by the US Navy and it is one of the most popular places to visit in North Carolina. It served in the Pacific Ocean during WWII from 1940 to 1947, completing numerous successful missions. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1962 after being converted into a museum.

The ship retains its wartime appearance even after it has been deactivated. It provides an accurate depiction of life on board during the conflict. While learning about the ship’s history, you can take a self-guided tour of the nine decks. You can observe the original characteristics of the well-preserved ship in a variety of presentations.


Asheville, located in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Foothills, has a history of being a thriving, artsy community. Its town center is home to several boutiques showcasing local products, as well as bars and excellent dining options.

The entire creative spirit of Ashville is enhanced by strolling musicians and street entertainers. This gorgeous and distinctive town has received numerous honors over the years, like “America’s Quirkiest Town” from “Travel & Leisure” in September 2014 and then being titled one of “Good Morning, America’s” “Most Amazing Spots in America.” In addition, Ashville is adjacent to the world-famous Biltmore Estate.

Blue Ridge Parkway:

Many people would consider the Blue Ridge Parkway to be one of the top tourist attractions of North Carolina, as well as one of the top spots to visit in North Carolina. This winding length of the road, which has been designated as both a National Parkway and an All-American Road, is particularly beautiful in the fall when the surrounding mountains turn colors of orange, yellow, and red.

In the spring, when the Carolina shrubs and dogwoods are in bloom, the parkway is especially lovely. From the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway stretches for 469 miles (755 kilometers).

Linville Gorge:

Linville Gorge, often known as the Grand Canyon of the East, is a great place to visit if you’re seeking a great vacation site. On the eastern side of the country, it may be located in the Pisgah Forest Preserve and it is one of America’s most spectacular and largest of its kind. The Linville River flows into the 90-foot Linville Falls and then continues for another 12 kilometers, filling the gorge.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, at Milepost 316, provides access to Linville Gorge’s trails. It is one of the best places to see in North Carolina, offering stunning photo opportunities for photographers as well as a variety of activities for explorers, visitors, and nature lovers.

Wright Brothers National Memorial:

The Wright Brothers are early air flight innovators. The Wright Brothers National Memorial honors their accomplishments in creating the first powered machine. Despite being from Ohio, the brothers moved to the site to work on the first plane. The site now contains a wealth of information regarding the successful flight.

On the same site utilized for flight testing, the Wright Brothers National Memorial incorporates various attractions. The tourist center houses a museum with a model of the plane used for the journey, as well as information on various flight experiments, tools, and other items.

A facsimile of the Wright Brothers’ home is also on display at the memorial. The memorial monument at the top of Kill Devil Hill is also one of the attractions’ features.

Visitors can walk the flight path, which includes markers at key take-off, landing, and other sites. The memorial attracts almost half a million visitors each year, making it one of the most popular sites in North Carolina. On the same site utilized for flight testing, the Wright Brothers National Memorial incorporates various attractions. The tourist center houses a museum with a model of the plane used for the journey, as well as information on various flight experiments, tools, and other items.

Linville Gorge and Falls:

Linville Falls is formed by the Linville River, which flows through the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s one of North Carolina’s largest waterfalls, a multi-tiered cascade with many 150-foot drops. Before finishing in the Linville Gorge, the falls have an upper part.

Linville Falls is one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Carolina for those who want to take in the scenery. There are a variety of hiking trails surrounding the waterfall and down in the valley that is appropriate for hikers of all abilities. Hike the Upper Falls trek to get a view of the falls from the summit. Alternatively, follow the Plunge Basin Trail to an overlook for a different perspective.

There is a visitor center at the outdoor attraction where you can learn more about the waterfall. At the falls, you’ll have significant exposure to maps and paths for all of the trails. 

Carolina Beach State Park:

The Carolina Beach State Park is located on Pleasure Island, one of North Carolina’s coastal areas. The Venus flytrap, a carnivorous plant that grows naturally in the park, is one of the area’s most notable features.

Carolina Beach State Park encompasses about 760 acres of land on the island, the majority of which is made up of marshes. Tourists can travel through the park on pathways, which also include boardwalk areas for walking across swamp areas.

Be on the lookout for carnivorous plants. The Flytrap Trail, where you’ll see several of the plants, is one of the most popular. The park’s ecosystem is also home to a diverse range of wildlife.

Other activities include boats, picnics, and camping, in addition to hiking. There is a marina and various picnic areas in the park. Make a point of visiting to the visitor center to explore the park’s natural history exhibits.

North Carolina Aquariums:

The North Carolina Aquariums have grown to 3 places since starting in 1976, and visitors to any of the facilities will be able to see local marine species. Fort Fisher is home to the biggest aquarium, with sections at Pine Knoll Shores and Roanoke Island.

Marine life from the Cape Fear Peninsula is on display at Fort Fisher. The Cape Fear River and wetlands are part of the region’s complex environment. It’s regarded as one of the best aquariums in the United States, with exhibits focusing on various topics. Alligators, sea turtles, sharks, eels, octopuses, and jellyfish are among the species you’ll observe.

The above travel guide covers the vast list of best places to visit and top things to do in North Carolina. North Carolina’s vast history, heritage, and culture provide a variety of vacation options, many of which are close enough to visit this weekend. Regardless matter how long you’ll be in North Carolina, we hope this list has assisted you in narrowing down your options.

What’s next waiting for you?

Now you know where to go and what to do in North Carolina, you can plan your travel with utmost enthusiasm. Check out our other travel guides to explore some of the best places to visit near North Carolina.

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