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Things to do in North Carolina

Because the state is so diverse, it’s important to decide what type of experience you want to have before planning what to do in North Carolina.

Beach lovers craving relaxation should head to the Outer Banks, a two-hundred-mile-long strip of barrier islands. Captured in movies like “Prince of Tides” and “Cape Fear”, its picturesque beauty makes the region a not-to-be-missed spot when planning what to do in North Carolina. Hatteras Island, one of these barrier islands, divides the Atlantic Ocean and the Pamlico Sound. With a population of just over four thousand, it is a perfect retreat from the mainland. The island has seven quaint villages, seven popular lighthouses worth exploring, and stunning beaches you can walk or just relax on.

If a mountain getaway full of waterfalls and gorgeous hikes is on your list of things to do in North Carolina, head to the Western side of the state.

The Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway are two of the most-visited attractions in America, and you’ll find endless opportunities to hike, mountain climb, and whitewater raft from your mountain cabin.

History buffs will also find plenty of things to do in North Carolina. Fort Macon is just one of the historic sites along the North Carolina Civil War Trail, while the International Civil Rights Museum offers a poignant look at another major era in American history. You could also go to where flight began at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk. Or re-trace Blackbeard’s journey along the coast and view treasures from his sunken ship at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

  • 3CUPS

  • Archaeology at Warren Wilson College

    Summer sessions up to a month long are offered at Warren Wilson College’s archaeology field school, where adults and kids as young as 14 are put on... More
  • Ariel Craft Gallery

  • Asheville Wine Market

  • Ava Gardner Museum

  • Biltmore

    The 1895 George Vanderbilt estate features 75 acres of gardens, which are bursting with hundreds of chrysanthemums through September. More
  • Biltmore Estate Winery

  • Blue Spiral 1

  • Cane Creek Farm

  • Capitol

    Superbly curated emporium of women’s designer clothing and accessories. More
  • Carolina Basketball Museum

    The museum doubles as a de facto shrine to alum Michael Jordan (old jerseys included). More
  • Castle Rock Gardens

  • Childress Vineyards

    Childress Vineyards, Yadkin’s newest winery, is owned by legendary NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and consists of a 65-acre vineyard and winer... More
  • Dean Dome

    Come November, tickets that haven’t been snapped up by students are available to the public. More
  • Dean Smith Center

    In season (if you’ve bought tickets far in advance), catch the Tar Heels playing basketball at the University of North Carolina. More

Explore things to do in U.S. for more options.

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