Awesome Ways to Spend Time in North Carolina


From the mountains to the coast, North Carolina has everything vacations are made of and there’s an endless list of awesome places to visit. Having lived here for seven years, I thought I’d choose a special place I visited during each of my years, and hope this list inspires you to visit North Carolina soon.


Visit the Biltmore

Experience the grandeur of the Biltmore Estate – the largest private home in the US! This magnificent country mansion in Asheville is a true marvel, showcasing exquisite architecture, stunning artwork, meticulously designed interiors, and picturesque landscaping.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the estate by exploring at your own pace on a self-guided tour. For an even more enriching experience, join one of the captivating docent-led behind-the-scenes tours.

And don’t miss out on a visit to the winery, where you can indulge in a complimentary wine tasting.


Stroll the Washington Waterfront Boardwalk in Washington

Experience the tranquil charm of this historic town on the Pamlico River, where the soothing presence of water is sure to nurture your soul. From the gentle lapping of waves against sailboats to the warm, golden glow of a sunset, be captivated by the peaceful allure of this scenic destination.


Visit the Largest Museum Art Park in the Country

Art and nature are woven together beautifully in this Raleigh community park filled with giant art installations, colorful gardens, a terraced pond, picnic areas and miles of recreational trails.

After your visit to the park, check out the best sweet shops in Raleigh from our local Destination Expert Karen.


Go Hiking at Pilot Mountain State Park

Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the Old Sauratown Mountains with two remarkable peaks that seemingly emerge out of nowhere. Take a hike to the summit of the smaller pinnacle and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of Big Pinnacle and the Piedmont region.

For the more daring adventurers, embark on a thrilling trek around Big Pinnacle, bringing you just inches away from its magnificent rock face.


Take a Mayberry Squad Car Tour

Welcome to the charming town of Mt. Airy, where you’ll be instantly transported to the nostalgic world of Mayberry. As you cruise down Main Street in one of the iconic squad car replicas from the beloved Andy Griffith show, you’ll pass by Floyd’s Barbershop and Snappy’s Lunch, feeling like a true Mayberry local.

But there’s more than just charm here – get ready to be amazed by fascinating trivia and behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the show. This North Carolina town is truly one-of-a-kind.


Walk the Mile-High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain

Discover the awe-inspiring Linville Peak, the tallest summit in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. Brace yourself for an unforgettable panoramic vista that will take your breath away. Immerse yourself in nature at the nature center, where you can marvel at wildlife and wildflowers on the enchanting walking and hiking trails.

With a single entrance fee to Grandfather Mountain, you have the freedom to explore all the attractions at your leisure, spending as much time as you desire in each area. And don’t fret – crossing the swinging bridge is optional, but the view from above is truly spectacular!

Relax in the Quiet of Ocracoke Island

Embark on a ferry journey to the tranquil Ocracoke Island, located at the Southern tip of the Outer Banks. This idyllic paradise offers a soothing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Immerse yourself in the laid-back and charming atmosphere, where golf carts and bikes are the preferred mode of transportation.

Whether you prefer to relax under the sun or explore the island’s lighthouse, historical sites, delightful eateries, and boutiques, Ocracoke Island is sure to leave a lasting impression on your heart and soul.


This article was originally written/published by Liz Mays of Eat, Move, Make in 2018. It has been partially updated by staff in 2023.

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Check out our other North Carolina posts:

Annual Dirty Dancing Festival in Lake Lure

Asheville: Small Town Flavor with a Twist of Sophistication

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