If you’re searching for the perfect place to explore or spend a vacation together with your friends and family, look no further than North Carolina.
Sandy beaches, towering peaks, charming small towns, many national parks, white water rafting, lighthouses and more. This state has it all. It’s perfect for a family vacation because of the local’s friendly attitude and hospitality.
If you still wonder why you should visit this ideal mix of scenery, people, history, delicious food, and relaxation, we are sure that this list of best places to visit on your trip to North Carolina will make it clear and make you gasp.
If you want to attend a port city in North Carolina, Wilmington is the place to go. It’s the best place known for the Cape Fear Coast sandy beaches like Carolina and Wrightsville.
Part of the center’s historic district is filled with countless shops, galleries and fancy restaurants you can visit. They’ve all lined up the Riverwalk where you can also see the North Carolina Battleship. It represents an artifact of the WW2 war history.
You can also check out other objects at the Cape Fear Museum of History and science and learn more about the historical background of the city.
Visit the Airlie Gardens if you want to enjoy nature and observe rich birdlife and visit a butterfly house. Or enter the Aquarium where you can see an albino alligator, stingrays, and sharks.
If you plan to attend this city, keep in mind that it’s best to do it between June and August while the weather is nice. Winters in Wilmington are mild, in general.
However, if you want to catch the North Carolina Jazz Festival that hosts artists from all over the world, visit in February. There’s also another event you can find if you visit in April. It’s called the North Carolina Azalea Festival that features a street fair, parade and garden tours.
9. The Great Smoky Mountains
If you want to visit the best mountain range in North Carolina, visit the Great Smoky Mountains that rise along the Tennessee border.
We’re talking about a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains. The field is often referred to as “Smokies” and visiting this place will provide the best experience, especially if you’re a first time visitor.
You can visit the National Park within the area. It protected the range and was established back in 1934. If you wonder if it’s one of the best places to visit in North Carolina, know that approximately 11 million visitors come to see this place throughout the year.
And it’s the most visited park in the country. Besides being one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, Smokies also represent home to salamander and black bear outside of the tropics.
Within the national park comes countless trails, campgrounds, flora and fauna, fishing streams, so you have endless recreation options. If you plan to visit, know that it’s best to do it between April and October while the weather is still lovely.
You will catch the Music of the Mountains festival if you visit in the period we suggest. Winters in the Great Smoky Mountains can be cold and cold.
8. Kill Devil Hills
If you’re intrigued by the name and want to visit right away, you should learn more about the Kill Devil Hills. It’s a city in Dare County with a population of only 6,000 by 2010. Perhaps, the number increased. Or declined over the years.
But that’s not so important to know. What’s important to remember is that the city was commemorated by the Wright Brothers National Memorial in 1932 because it’s where the brothers first airplane flights back in 1903.
They’ve chosen this place because of the high winds. Visiting this place will allow you to check the monument dedicated to the brothers.
Not surprisingly, the site was visited by millions since its opening because it’s the landmark of the state and serves as a reminder of the first flight ever taken by humanity.
However, this isn’t the only attraction you can see here. You can also visit the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve. Or enter the Avalon Fishing Pier. Or enjoy the beach and have a nice meal at some of the best restaurants in the popular area.
7. Blowing Rock
Blowing Rock represents a village situated in western North Carolina. It’s on our list of best places to visit because it’s located on charming Blue Ridge Parkway.
It was named after a formation with captivating views of the Johns River Gorge, forests and peaks.
If you decide to visit, don’t miss the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum that displays local artwork and admire the masterpieces. Also, you can visit the Moses H. Cone Park.
It’s a memorial park with a 1901 mansion you can see. If you’re a nature lover, visit the Annie Cannon Gardens and follow the trail that will take you to see Glen Marie and Glen Burney waterfalls.
If you plan to attend, keep in mind that it’s best to do it between June and August while the weather is still warm. Winters in Blowing Rock are cold and showy. But if you visit in January, you will catch the Blowing Rock Festival.
And if you visit in the period we suggest, you can be a part of the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show.
6. Maggie Valley
Maggie Valley is a picturesque city in North Carolina. It’s close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So, don’t forget to stop by if you plan to visit the mountains.
You can enjoy stunning landscapes and stretch your legs on the Deep Creek Trail. You can also visit the Wheels Through Time Museum that displays vintage old autos and motorcycles.
If you go to the Haywood County Quilt Trails, you will notice building and bars marked in blocks covered in vivid patterns. If you wonder when to visit the Maggie Valley, it’s best to do it between May and October.
It’s the most preferred period by tourists. However, if you want to escape the busy period, know that summers are hot, while winters are cold and snowy. Nonetheless, it’s definitely worth the effort.
If you visit in June, September, and October, you can buy yourself a unique painting made by local artists and artisans who display their original creations during this period.
5. Ocean Isle Beach
If you want to visit a charming part of North Carolina, go to Ocean Isle Beach. It’s a tiny seaside city situated in Brunswick County with a population of only 550 by 2010.
It represents a part of the Myrtle Beach urban region. Located at the Atlantic Ocean coastline, this place offers a lot to tourists.
You can rent some of the seasonal homes and give yourself some time to visit the multiple tourist attractions like the Museum of the Coastal Carolinas. Or explore natural environment at the Shallotte River Swamp and Outdoor Center.
Or enjoy your day by lying on one of the powder sand beaches.
4. Nags Head
If you’re in for visiting one more beach town in North Carolina, go to Nags Head. It’s best known for the imposing dunes you can check at the Jockey’s Ridge State Park.
But what makes it outstanding is the surrounding flora and fauna of the boardwalk. You can enjoy lying on a quiet sandy beach if you walk through Nags Head Woods and follow the Roanoke Trail.
Or you can climb the Bodie Island Lighthouse build around 1870 that offers captivating landscapes of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. If this was enough to convince you to visit, keep in mind that it’s best to do it between May and September.
Winters in Nags Head aren’t that cold. However, you can expect rain almost every time of the year. If you visit in August, you’ll catch the Pirate festival.
There’s also one more held in October called the Outer Banks Seafood festival where you get to enjoy live music and food. It’s a celebration of the fishing trade.
Asheville represents a town nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it’s one of the best places to go in western North Carolina. Known for the historic architecture and vibrant artistic atmosphere, the city will charm you at first sight.
If you decide to visit, you can check out artwork by famous artists like Renoir, displayed by the significant Biltmore estate.
You can also enter the many museums and galleries located in the art district in the center of the city. Or attend some of the plays and musicals hosted by the city’s music venues.
Asheville represents the perfect getaway where you can hike the Appalachian Trail. Or enjoy the beautiful views on the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you’re intrigued, know that there isn’t the best time to visit because you will enjoy your stay no matter what time you choose.
If you visit in August, you’ll catch the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. Winders are cold. But not crowded. So, if you are looking for a calm place where you can spend your winter vacation, this is it.
And the best part is that many hotels will offer you a discount at this time of the year.
Charlotte is one of the biggest cities in North Carolina. It represents a commercial center with a modern uptown where you can visit the Levine Museum of the New South. It inspects the history of the Civil War in the South.
You can also visit Discovery Place that displays scientific projects. Uptown is also famous for the Hall of Fame which celebrates auto racing as a sport through films and interactive presentations.
If you decide to visit, you can also enter the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and admire contemporary artwork created by masters like Joan Miro.
You can also visit the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts and Cultures that displays beautiful artworks by African American artists.
If you want to visit art galleries or have a cup of coffee at a fashionable cafe, visit the NoDa neighborhood on the east.
However, if you’re into outdoor activities, visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center that offers kayaking, rock climbing, canoeing, and white-water rafting.
There’s also an amusement park that’s quite popular in the area, Carowinds that stands between South and North Carolina. If you plan to visit, the best to do it between May and September while it’s still warm.
The list of best places to visit in North Carolina wouldn’t be complete without the capital, Raleigh.
It’s a modern city with a vibrant atmosphere, best known for the universities and numerous scholarly and technology institutions.
They’re all located around Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh turning the area into something called the Research Triangle. On your stay here, you can visit the 19th-century building in Greek Revival style, the North Carolina State Capitol.
Or enter the Museum of Natural Sciences and check out the Nature Research Center, the Nature Exploration Center, and the 3-story Daily Planet theater within the institution.
If you plan to visit, know that there’s no specific time travelers prefer because it’s always a good time to visit Raleigh. Summers are still hot, while winters are cold and sometimes snowy.