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.
Buzz over town in a WWII-era biplane. Or, for an even more thrilling adventure, take wing yourself with a hang glider over Kitty Hawk’s powdery dunes (Kitty Hawk Kites offers three-hour lessons for $100).
The gallery is owned by Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former senator John Edwards.
See real pirate relics, including artifacts from what’s believed to be Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. There's also a Civil War gunship and parts of a German U-boat that once trolled nearby waters.
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 sites to dig and excavate history while uncovering a 16th-century Native American town and an early Spanish settlement.
Pick up mango pastries and supersweet tropical desserts.
The largest family-owned winery in North Carolina, and sponsors a concert series on its 200-acre estate every summer.
Sitting squarely atop Mount McAlpine in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sky Top is aptly named—with an elevation of 2,900 feet, it's one of the highest peaks in the area. From the grounds, you can see the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Pisgah National Forest, 10 miles away.
The 1895 George Vanderbilt estate features 75 acres of gardens, which are bursting with hundreds of chrysanthemums through September.
Then look for your perfect spot to sun worship, beneath the dunes.
Every May, a team of 200 actors and designers put together a theatrical imagining of Roanoke’s doomed 16th-century settlement.