In terms of geography, North Carolina is one of the more unique states in our country. The state is split by three major geographical sections, the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Piedmont region and the Appalachian Mountains. Each section offers something different for every visitor.
Here are the top 10 places to see, in no particular order, during your next trip to North Carolina.
Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Located in Dare County on the Outer Banks, this state park is an excellent family destination as it doesn’t charge an admission, parking or program fee. Jockey’s Ridge is open year round, except for Christmas Day.
Jockey’s Ridge also offers the the largest active sand dune on the Eastern coast of the United States. Much like North Carolina, Jockey’s Ridge features three unique ecosystems: the Roanoke Sound, the dune system and the maritime forest.
Battleship North Carolina
The USS North Carolina was one of the first battleships to join the American fleet in WWII. These days, moored in a river across the street from downtown Wilmington, experience the famous battleship firsthand with tours of the innards of the ship, from the mess hall to the captain’s quarters.
The Wright Brothers National Monument
Although Ohio is technically considered the birth place of aviation, Wilbur and Orville Wright are the founding fathers of flight in North Carolina.
The massive granite monument is dedicated to the brothers who conducted the first flight in December 3, 1903 in Kill Devil Hills. Despite the flight lasting less than a minute, it paved the way for modern aviation transportation.
Currituck Beach Light
Located in the Outer Banks, the Currituck Beach Light offers a beautiful view for those willing to pay to climb to the top. The 158-foot tall lighthouse is still used as a navigational aid to this day. The lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historical Places in October, 1973.
The Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned house in the United States, is a massive expanse and tourist attraction in Asheville. With the main house an architectural attraction, the estate also offers gardens and farms for families to explore.
The estate covers 8,000 acres and includes restaurants and gift shops.
Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock State Park is undoubtedly one of North Carolina’s most visited attractions. The park offers something for everyone, including 75 miles of hiking trails and a beautiful 404-feet waterfall.
The best view the park has to offer is the namesake itself, Chimney Rock. Visitors can hike the trail to climb the massive granite rock formation to see yourself at an elevation over 2000 miles above sea level.
Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
This historical site preserves the location of the Roanoke Colony, the first English settlement in the present-day United States. Inside the site contains a visitor center, which showcases exhibits and history of the English colonies.
Also inside are the Elizabeth Gardens. The gardens cover more than 10 acres and includes a replica Tudor gate house.
Fort Macon State Park
The second most visited state park in North Carolina, seeing around 1.3 million visitors annually, Fort Macon State Park is open year round and does not charge for admission or parking.
The fully restored fort was home to the Battle of Fort Macon, which was fought during March and April 1862. These days, the state park offers rangers-guided tours, a protected swim area and nature trails.
Pisgah National Forest
Located in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, Pisgah National Forest covers 512,758 acres with elevations over 6,000 feet due to the mountainous terrain. The park offers spectacular scenery with hiking trails, waterfalls and a place to camp inside.
Charlotte Motor Speedway
If you’re planning a visit to North Carolina, a trip to Charlotte Motor Speedway has to be on the agenda. This 1.5 mile racetrack holds annual NASCAR races such as the Coca Cola 600, the Sprint All-Star Race and the Bank of America 500. If you’re looking for something exciting to do on your visit, NASCAR races are a must-see.
Have we missed anything? Have any special places you feel should be added to the list? Let us know! Tweet to us @DiscOurAmerica, like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Pinterest. Also, you can join in on the discussion using the hashtag #DiscoverOurAmerica.