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Last updated: June 10, 2021 • Traveling Around the World

Tourist Destinations in North Carolina You Don’t Want to Miss

Looking over the map of the United States of America, there’s no shortage of places that might catch your interest when planning your next trip, but for this article, we’re going to be focusing on one in particular: the state of North Carolina. With breathtaking natural scenery, thriving metropolises, and a warm, welcoming populace, this is the perfect place to take a vacation. 

Many songs are ballads and hymns to North Carolina’s mountain ranges, sunny skies, and the land of pines that hit the right chords. Nostalgia is kicked into high gear for all those who grew up in the state, and pride overwhelms the listener every time. There’s nothing like living in a state with such natural beauty and soul that beckons you to explore every inch on your own time.

Whether you’re just planning a holiday or thinking about moving to the state, some of the best small towns in North Carolina are ideal for those who want a peaceful life, but peaceful does not mean inactive in this state. Finding the best places to live in North Carolina won’t be easy as there are plenty of options to choose from.  How could you be inactive with so many amazing destinations to visit, explore and enjoy throughout the state?

Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte NC May 27

Being the largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte has plenty of things to offer to those visiting it or moving there. Also known as the Queen City, Charlotte manages to attract visitors from all over the country for a wide variety of attractions. The most famous tourist attraction in the city is the NASCAR Hall of Fame. There, you’ll get the chance to learn everything there is to know about drivers who became legends, see the extensive collection of race cars, climb in a race car simulator and enjoy every other interactive display available. You can also find the largest man-made whitewater park in Charlotte. The US National Whitewater Center, an ideal destination for family trips where the kids can make unforgettable memories, or, for some unconventional education, you can take your children and the entire family to Discovery Place, a combination of an aquarium and science museum. For more NASCAR-related memorabilia, you can find just about anything related to NASCAR to take home with you in the nearby suburb of Mooresville. For more information about relocating to this exciting city, you can contact real estate agents in Charlotte NC.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Spring sunrise view layered

Spreading over 500,000 acres across the states of North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free to visitors, which also results in this tourist destination being the most visited in the US. Over 12 million people come here every year to hike, bike, fish, horseback ride, or enjoy any other recreational activity you can think of being one of the most beautiful national parks in America. As it is close to major cities like Asheville, North Carolina, getting there is not a struggle. However long your drive might be, the national park’s wildlife and scenery are worth the journey. Wandering through this natural heaven, you have high chances of coming across wild animals like deer, fox, bear, and elk, so a certain level of safety precautions are necessary, but you can also appreciate the wilderness greatly from afar. While hiking some of the 850 miles of trails, coming across some breathtaking waterfalls is possible, so make sure you bring your camera. The Cades Cove should not be missed by anyone who ventures across this stunning mountain range.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh NC museum of natural science

Raleigh, North Carolina, has a plethora of tourist attractions to be enjoyed by those visiting or living in the city. However, one short trip will have you contacting realtors in Raleigh NC in search of your dream home because the city is just astounding. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is among the most visited attractions in the state, with around 1.2 million visitors crossing its threshold every year. As the oldest museum in the state, a walk inside will give you a taste of the prehistoric creatures that ruled the earth as well as the marine giants that still swim beneath the water’s surface. The human anatomy is displayed for visitors’ curiosity, and many hands-on exhibitions allow you to feel the weight of evolution beneath your fingertips. The city’s tech-savvy community embraces education and makes it easily approachable for children through the Marbles Kids Museum located downtown. However, nature plays an important role, and the Neuse River Trail is the perfect example. The wooded area of Umstead State Park, the vast greenery at Pullen park, or the horse riding adventures at Dead Broke Farm all underline the city’s dual passion as both a smart city and an outdoorsy lifestyle.

Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Parkway

The cities of Asheville and Boone, North Carolina, along with many others are located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains enjoying a year-round scenery that’s bound to increase one’s appetite for hiking or other outdoor activities. One of the most infamous attractions in North Carolina is the Blue Ridge Parkway, a destination that could easily be added to the places you should visit after restrictions are lifted. As one of the scenic roads in the United States, this winding stretch of asphalt is also one of the best places to visit in North Carolina. Giving visitors some of the most breathtaking views of the mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway runs through several states, connecting multiple state parks and going all the way to the Great Smoky Mountains. For those who can’t get enough of the mountain ranges in North Carolina, this road is ideal as it also provides excellent views of settlements from early American life. Whether you are an experienced or a rookie adventurer, the Blue Ridge Mountain trails have great variety, suitable for any hiker, so start packing your bag.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Vie from Peak Hanging Rock State Park

The twin city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, attracts visitors through its eclectic art scene, historical charm, and unforgettable wine. Still, the city’s nightlife placed it on the national stage for its downtown bars, music venues, and restaurants.  With so many things to keep you busy within the city, many people are prone to overlook the Hanging Rock State Park with its 18 miles of trails and unique scenery. Close by, there’s also a lake that provides an excellent destination for fishing, swimming, and boating, or you could simply settle for a picnic by one of the numerous waterfalls in the area. Cabins and camping grounds can be rented however, if you find yourself falling in love with this city and want to make it officially home then contact one of our real estate agents in Winston Salem NC. Old Salem, also, shouldn’t be missed by history aficionados as this living museum will give you a first-hand experience of what life was like in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Grandfather Mountain

Mile High swinging bridge in fog

One look at the image above might give one a shiver down their spine, but this mountain is a natural wonder at nearly 6,000 feet. To reach it, you’ll need to get on the Mile High Swinging Bridge, the highest pedestrian suspension bridge in America, giving a 360-degree panoramic view of the whole area. As one of the most outstanding summits of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Grandfather Mountain provides unforgettable scenic views where visitors can hike at their leisure. But that’s not all. The area around it is a natural preserve that covers 720-acres of natural attractions. Among the wildlife most often sighted in the area there are elk, eagles, cougars, and bears so make sure you are safe. As a nonprofit attraction, all the proceeds go towards the preservation of the environment and the area. Being a popular tourist destination, consider adding it to your travel plans this summer.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Chapel Hill North Carolina

From its beginning, the city of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was designated to serve the UNC-Chapel Hill, and from 1793 the city expanded. One of North Carolina’s top attractions is the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, located on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. As the largest planetarium in the US, countless interactive activities are available for people of all ages to enjoy. Built in 1949, the planetarium is used as a training site for NASA astronauts, but the general public can learn more about outer space here as well. The planetarium is one of the most visited activities within the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, capable of seating 240 individuals in a massive dome through their universe exploration journey. Don’t miss the Carolina Skies show where you can see the night-sky constellations from the city’s perspective.

Greensboro, North Carolina

Revolutionary War cannons at battleground

As North Carolina’s third-largest city, Greensboro has been at the forefront of many historical events of national significance like the Greensboro sit-ins or the Revolutionary War. Because of its expansive history, visitors can watch reenactments at the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park and visit the city’s many museums. If you’re planning to relocate here, real estate agents in Greensboro NC can even try to find you a home close to some historic landmarks and buildings like the Woolworth merchandise store. There are also plenty of areas where nature lovers can enjoy a stroll and the city’s beautiful gardens are just the tip of the iceberg. Families with children are sure to indulge in the Greensboro Science Center where their children can receive a more hands-on type of education that revolves around proven facts and learning science through interesting experiments.


Traveling through the large expanse of North Carolina’s geographical area will provide a wide variety of attractions, nature, historical, entertaining, or all of the above. From its high peaks to the Atlantic coast, North Carolina is spread far and wide to encompass a plethora of tourist destinations. Knowing what to expect from visiting one of the oldest parts of the country is one thing, but actually experiencing it is something else entirely. With all the natural beauty to explore in North Carolina, knowing your do’s and don’ts in nature is important but most importantly, don’t forget to respect nature as well as any other inhabited area you will visit. The state of North Caroline is bound to give you some amazing experiences during your visit so make sure you take plenty of pictures from your trip.

Let us know in the comments below what your favorite North Carolina tourist destination is and why. There are more than enough to choose from and if it’s not mentioned in this list, shed some light on it. Considering the wide variety of places to visit in North Carolina, it is highly possible that we missed a few to say the least. Like & Share this article with friends and family and make a group vacation out of it. These places are too beautiful not to be shared among those close to you. And don’t forget to always have fun on your trips.


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