6 Best Places to Visit in North Carolina

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Best places to visit in North Carolina
Photo by Sergiy Galyonkin on Flickr

With sights like the breathtaking landscapes of the Blue Ridge Parkway or the refreshing sea breeze of the Crystal Coast, it has emerged as a landmark for tourists wishing to get away into the great outdoors and has no shortfall of the best places to visit in North Carolina.

North Carolina is a unique location with great natural scenery and delicious restaurants. It is a state situated in the Southeastern part of the country. Delicious and over-the-top buzzing beer, playoff basketball, and a tonne of recreational adventure activities have helped North Carolina earn the status of being a desirable travel destination.

North Carolina has it all with so many best places to visit in North Carolina when it relates to breathtaking scenery and picturesque vacations. Backpackers may explore a remote beach or a snow-capped slope for skiing in less than four hours, thanks to white squirrels, cascades, island boat excursions, and quaint towns that mark the route’s miles.

Narrowing it down wherever you desire to go initially is the toughest part. Luckily for you, USA Mocha has taken care of finding out the best places to visit in North Carolina for you.

North Carolina
Photo by eutrophication&hypoxia on Flickr

Even hardcore foodies adore North Carolina’s delicious cuisine and vibrant dining scene and consider its restaurants as the best places to visit in North Carolina. Other common dishes in the state are shrimp and grits, crispy green tomatoes, and Lexington-style bbq, among many others.

North Carolina is host to many cutting-edge chefs, eateries, and communities that are foodie-oriented in contrast to other masterpieces. The best places to visit in North Carolina are also home to numerous beautiful landscapes, from its imposing mountain ranges in the western region to its immaculate coastlines in the east.

6 Best Places to Visit in North Carolina

There are stunning views, breathtaking sunsets, and sandy beaches that appear to go on forever. Accordingly, when planning a vacation to this beauty, try out these 6 best places to visit in North Carolina if you are in lieu to take in some absolutely amazing landscapes and gain peace away from the city.

1. North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Ranking first on the list of best places to visit in North Carolina, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is the biggest organization of its type in the southeastern region of the USA and the most popular institution in the state. It is located in the heart of Raleigh and features exhibits on nature and science.

In addition to Prairie Ridge Ecostation, it also has satellite operations in Greenville, Whiteville, and Contentnea Cove, which adds another 300,000 square feet to its campus center. Altogether, they offer a range of curriculum-focused courses for pre-kindergarten to graduates all across the state, off-site, on-site, abroad, and on the web.

This is an excellent exhibit to tour if you are from North Carolina or will intend to visit the best places to visit in North Carolina. It has a great deal to offer that other institutions can’t match as the biggest natural sciences museum in the southeastern region of the US and the earliest founded exhibit in North Carolina.

This museum is highly family and child-friendly even though it also has a plethora of options for adults. Both kids and adults will appreciate the numerous displays and events that are packed with interesting scientific and nature-related knowledge. As an additional feature, the museum hosts a Science Cafe every Thursday night.

Natural Sciences Museum
Photo by Sergiy Galyonkin on Flickr

Since it is more academic in nature and will have specialists speaking on a range of subjects, including history, snake bites, and asteroids, it is predominantly an event for adults exclusively. The dual ideas of enlightenment and creativity are integrated throughout the work you undertake and the numerous narratives they tell as an exhibition of nature.

There is nothing more important now, with the immense environmental difficulties humanity faces. They are distinct because of this intersection of ideas. Their Nature Research Center offers an unrivaled experience to see physics in action by observing Museum researchers exploring the natural environment in real-time spanning three vivid levels of facilities and exhibitions.

The Nature Exploration Center’s displays and live animal shows highlight the diverse natural environments, animals, and topography of North Carolina. If you are a science lover, this place will top the list of best places to visit in North Carolina for you.

Although there is a nominal fee for the museum’s unique displays and 3-D films, normal entrance is free. The Nature Exploration Unit is open from  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., throughout the week except for Sundays.

The main hall is open later on the initial Friday of every month, till 9 p.m. The exhibit is open on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The adjacent Nature Research Center operates during the same times, with the exception of Thursdays when it stays open until nine o’clock.

2. Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is your best answer if you are looking for a beautiful drive this fall. “America’s favorite drive,” a 469-mile route across Western North Carolina and the Appalachian Mountains in Virginia, is home to several cascades and breathtaking views of the mountains.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is stunning throughout the year, but the fall is especially lovely because of the intense red, orange, and yellow hues. Then, add views of the mountains, making it the ideal location for discovering the best places to visit in North Carolina.

Contrary to popular belief, the Blue Ridge Parkway hosted 14.1 million excursion visitors in 2020, as reported by the National Park Service. Another exceptionally well-liked nature reserve, the Great Smoky Highlands saw 12.1 million visitors for leisure.

The vibrant autumnal colors are one of the biggest draws to the Blue Ridge Parkway in the months of fall. You have a better possibility of seeing NC fall foliage because there is a wide selection of both higher and lower peaks, with heights rising to 6,683 ft.

Blue ridge parkway
Photo by Mary Anne Baker on Flickr

This widens the timeframe for autumnal hues as autumn descends the hills. Due to this, fall has become the most favored season for parkway driving. Imagine traveling through forest tunnels where orange and yellow leaves are lobbing the road.

Then include numerous pull-offs that welcome you with unhindered vistas of mountains draped in fall foliage and the eternal sky. Grandfather Mountain is among the Blue Ridge Parkway’s prime locations for seeing the autumnal foliage.

You have probably seen the well-known image of the infamous Linn Cove Viaduct surrounded by bursts of autumn color. In this enormous region, which is still enclosed by sloping hills of forests stretching out something like grassland to the skyline, just 300,000 of Virginia’s 8.6 million citizens dwell here, giving you an option to explore the wilds.

It is a tranquil area with charming tiny villages, farmers’ markets, picturesque pathways, and countryside stores. There are many sites to see while traveling down the park road. You may begin and finish your vacation with some extra beauty, though, if you plan to stick with it.

No issue when you arrive, you are guaranteed to see stunning foliage because different altitudes along the park road brighten up with autumn hues at varying periods. It is one of the most calming and best places to visit in North Carolina.

You have some flexibility when it comes to scheduling your trip because the foliage season typically lasts from late September to late October. The absence of crowds will also ease your concerns related to Covid if any.

3. Emerald Isle

Explore Emerald Isle Beach when in the USA but especially in the fall months if you can’t take the heat. Fall is one of the finest seasons to explore the coast because of the colder, crisper weather as well as the fantastic sales and events that are available. It is the ideal time of year to visit relatives or take a weekend trip with pals when looking for the best places to visit in North Carolina.

On Bogue Banks Isle, which is a section of North Carolina’s Crystal Coastline, is a town called Emerald Isle. On Emerald Isle’s stunning beach, dip your feet into the warm water while basking in the sunshine.

The Emerald Isle of North Carolina is renowned for its stretches of breathtaking coastlines and emerald-green waterways, which are ideal for sunbathing or testing your luck at a range of water sports like canoeing or catching fish.

Emrald isle
Photo by Zebralongwing on Flickr

Spend your free time lounging on the beaches, where even the most straightforward pursuits, like making a sandcastle or looking for shells, may result in some of the most memorable experiences. Have you ever visited a theme park near the ocean? Because you can do even that here.

Nothing compares to enjoying the fresh sea breeze while racing your children in a go-kart or competing against your family members in a game of mini-golf. Thus, regardless of how many hours the children spend at the beach splashing around in the waters, nothing compares to a day spent at a waterpark competing to make the greatest splashes while speeding down slides.

The Aquarium of North Carolina based in Pine Knoll Beaches must also be seen as part of any vacation to the Crystal Coastline. See riverside otters, crocodiles, sea turtles, manatees, sharks, and even more close-ups.

There is a tonne of opportunities to have fun and make new memories with your loved ones at Emerald Isle activities, and some of them can even make you nostalgic. Discover the Hammocks Beach State Park’s acres of pristine barrier island shores and coastal woodlands.

Or perhaps go to Fort Macon State Park to see a Civil War recreation. For those who enjoy the outdoors or are searching for a picturesque hike, you will discover a wealth of beautiful nature that is flourishing in an almost isolated manner.

The Crystal Coast of North Carolina is renowned across the world for its magnificent sunsets that stretch beyond what the eyes could see. It is the ideal way to start your mornings or the ideal way to conclude the day. Take a camera with you and be ready to admire nature’s creation.

Enjoy fantastic local food that may match any wallet, from gourmet places to eat featuring tables with an incredible view and chef-driven dishes to family-style eateries presenting wide cuisines.

All around the lunch table with the ones you love, a few of the best memories will be made. You may enjoy making even more adventures in your abode away from home, thanks to the fully-equipped kitchenette and roomy dining rooms in your holiday home, as well as the nearby supermarkets that offer delivery and doorstep pickup choices.

A lot of homes also have gas or grills, which are great for cooking a family dinner outside as the sun sets or for putting on the day’s catches after a good day on the lake. You may simply design the ideal environment for your seashore experience with the abundance of amenities available to you.

4. Grandfather Mountain

Are you searching for one last family vacation at the best places to visit in North Carolina for experience just before kids go back to school? There remains an opportunity to tour Grandfather Mountain’s latest foundation – the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery and take advantage of various innovative events and programs that are suitable for people of all ages.

The Linville, North Carolina, an environmental preserve is renowned for its Mile High Swinging Bridges, wildlife sanctuaries, 360-degree landscapes, and immersive programs aimed to encourage discovery and preservation of the natural environment. It is run by the charitable foundation of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship.

Planning one last summer vacation is the ideal option for both first-time visitors and returning tourists to Grandfather Mountain to explore what surprises are in store for them. Grandfather Mountain has pathways for people of all fitness levels to discover.

Their array of nature paths and hikes will lead you through tranquil pastures and woodlands or up rocky peaks reached by ropes and ladders. Discover the fauna and breathtaking scenery that make Grandfather remarkable.

Grandfather mountains
Photo by Amy Meredith on Flickr

These forests have 16 different natural habitats and are characteristic of Canadian weather. 73 rarest or protected creatures, notably 32 that are internationally vulnerable, can be found on the mountain. Grandfather Mountain is not just one of the “trendiest” destinations around, but it also has a tonne of brand-new offerings that are ideal for a last-minute holiday vacation.

In your area, are you suffering from extreme heat? No worries, as the mountain has experienced a maximum temperature of 83.2 ℉. Grandfather is consistently 10 to 20 points colder than the nearby foothills, which is a pleasant difference. A special activity called “Paint with a Bear” involves a tour of the bear enclosure.

Following their pick of harmless paint colors, visitors witness a black bear from Grandfather Mountain using its paws to make a piece of art. From May to October, the event is held on weekends at 11:30 a.m. sharp. Making a reservation ahead of time is advised because this is certain to be a well-liked unique adventure.

5. Chimney Rock State Park

There is nothing not to adore in North Carolina, especially with so many best places to visit in North Carolina and places to visit as beautiful as Chimney Rock State Park. A genuine haven for outdoor enthusiasts, this amazing park is a bundle of activities and is situated just outside the well-known city of Asheville.

The park offers a variety of trekking paths and scenic vistas across its more than 8,000 acres. The 535-million-year-old monolithic rock that bears the park’s title is the focal point of Chimney Rock State Park. Have a look at 10 tips to camping safely whilst also having fun for more assistance on trekking safety. Here, you will be rewarded with beautiful scenery of the unique Hickory Nut Gorge spanning 75 miles once you get to The Rock.

A 400-foot cascade and excellent prospects for wildlife observation are also found in the Park. The southeastern region of Asheville, in Western North Carolina, at the base of the Blue Mountains, is where you will find Chimney Rock State Park. Only 27 miles separate the center of Asheville from Chimney Rock.

Chimney rock state park
Photo by Domenico Convertini on Flickr

By trekking the Outcroppings Route, you can ascend the strenuous 494 steps to the peak of Chimney Rock. Although there are many spectacular views at the summit, the road there is also lovely, passing by places like the Gneiss Cave, Pulpit Rocks, and Grotto.

If you don’t feel physically capable of tackling the Outcroppings Route, you can also use the cutting-edge elevator and then ascend 44 steps to reach the viewpoint. Enjoy the stunning 75-mile panorama of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure from Chimney Rock’s summit.

Without exploring Asheville, which is situated in the picturesque Mountain Range and serves as the starting point for the renowned Blue Ridge Parkway, no trip to this park would be whole. In addition to its stunning scenery, Asheville is renowned for its robust arts scene and iconic buildings like the Biltmore Estates.

Asheville is a very lovely place to explore, amongst the top best places to visit in North Carolina, and it also has a tonne of activities to do for different types of tourists. You will rarely run out of activities to do in Asheville, North Carolina. Get outside and go trekking in the Rocky Mountains, browse for cascades, relax the day away at a beautiful beach, explore the culture, and travel to other mountain villages nearby.

6. Barrier Islands

When relaxing anywhere throughout the Great Barrier Island, the natural world reigns supreme, from the west beach’s wide coves and serene sandy coves to the east beach’s beautiful, white sand beaches and towering cliffs. Additionally, the entire island is covered in pure natural shrubbery that stretches from mountainsides to lowlands.

Just on the island’s eastern shore, at Kaitoke Beach, are these lovely natural rock ponds that are perfect for diving or just relaxing while taking in the scenery. From the cliffs, you can go swimming and snorkeling.

As sediments are continuously deposited along to the shore by waves, barrier islands are formed. These islands continuously migrate, erode, and develop as a result of wind and wave shifts caused by local topographical features and climate patterns. They might perhaps completely vanish.

Coastal rivers, coves, and lagoons typically divide them from the continent. The half of the island that faces the ocean develops coastlines and sand dune formations; the side that faces the shore frequently has wetlands, coastal waters, and nautical forests.

These places serve as vital habitats for birds, fishes, crabs, and sea turtles that are laying their eggs. The East coasts and US Gulf have a lot of barrier islands, such as North Carolina has Outer Banks. Networks of barrier islands typically develop close to river deltas, in regions with little geological movements, and along coastlines that are generally flat.

Barrier islands cannot emerge along the West Coast due to plate tectonic movements, stony cliffs, and other topographical factors and tides. But who says you cannot have a little fun here?

Barrier islands
Photo by j van cise photos on Flickr

Is North Carolina Expensive?

For your trip to North Carolina, you should budget about $153 per day, which is the estimated average cost based on what other travelers spend there. Although if you plan to visit all the best places to visit in North Carolina, make your itinerary ahead, and if possible, consult a travel agent.

A weeklong trip to North Carolina typically costs an individual approximately $1,036. Thus, a weeklong vacation to North Carolina for a pair would cost about $2,072. In North Carolina, a two-week vacation for two individuals costs $4,144. Explore the most of a trip to North Carolina & the cheapest time to Visit North Carolina to plan your trip effectively.

What’s Special About North Carolina?

You will be able to visit either the North Carolina Coastline or the mountains whenever you want, regardless of what you prefer, there is something special for everyone here. Towards the western region of North Carolina are the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, and to the east are more than 300 miles of coastlines of Barrier Islands.

Both of these places include a tonne of outdoor activities that are great both for day getaways and longer holidays. Late March to mid-June and September to late October are the ideal times to travel to North Carolina.

The spring season in North Carolina lasts from the months of March to May, and the state records four different seasons. Although, the best season to visit is the fall without any doubt. You will adore the excessive humidity and comfortable temperatures of this season.

You can be assured that there are plenty of outdoor activities in North Carolina considering the state’s varied topography, beautiful surroundings, and exciting locations. In fact, visitors and tourists from throughout the nation come to North Carolina to enjoy the state’s spectacular natural and recreational activities.

Apart from the places mentioned above, you can also visit the Great Smoky Mountains – the most visited national park in North Carolina, the Chapel hill, Cape Hatteras national seashore, Pisgah national forest, and Great smoky mountains (for the best hiking trails), Cape fear river for a quick dip, and other places.

Whitewater canoeing, bike riding, kayaking, sledding, rafting, and trekking are a few of the popular leisure pursuits that locals enjoy. There are many interesting places to include and discover in the list of best places to visit in North Carolina, from the breathtaking Mountains of Blue Ridge to the lovely beaches.

Also read: “Best Places to visit in Utah

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