25 Best Things to Do in North Carolina

North Carolina’s spectacular natural history is enough to entice any visitor.

In addition, the state has museums, art galleries, and theme parks. For outdoor enthusiasts, the state has more and more to offer.

Hiking in Linville Canyon and skiing in the Highlands are both fun and great ways to appreciate the state’s beauty, while the beaches and the state’s coastline offer opportunities to relax.

If culture and history are your thing, then rest assured that museums and art galleries are some of the best in the country.

Here’s our list of the best things to do in North Carolina:

1. Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate

This private residence in Asheville is the largest private estate in the United States and a top North Carolina attraction.

Located in the heart of 8,000 acres of stunning grounds, this mansion has 250 guest rooms, each containing impressive antiques and art.

After visiting the mansion, visitors should also take a walk around the gardens and farm.

2. USS North Carolina

USS North Carolina

USS North Carolina joined the U.S. fleet during World War II and was the first of ten battleships.

As you’d expect, the ship is well-equipped with 29 guns of various shapes and sizes, though all of them are intimidating.

Now retired, the ship is available for tours, including access to the officers’ quarters and mess hall.

The upper deck provides a close-up view of powerful weapons.

3. Morehead Planetarium

Morehead Planetarium

The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center first opened in 1949 and has welcomed 7 million guests since.

It can be found at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is guaranteed to have many daily shows to entertain.

The educational program is supported by many other fascinating information, such as how to spot the different planets and constellations in the night sky.

4. Linville Canyon

Linville Canyon, North Carolina

This spectacular natural attraction is one of the deepest canyons in the United States.

It is home to Linville Falls, the Linville River that flows into the canyon from a height of up to 90 feet.

The site is a great place to take pictures and get a chance to see the waterfall from a different angle.

There are also several walking trails of varying difficulty.

5. Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock State Park

Another natural attraction in North Carolina, Chimney Rock State Park is home to a remarkable 2,200-foot granite spire.

More special perhaps is the elevator in the mountain, which makes going up the mountain easy.

There are also several walking trails in the park, including a route to the base of Hickory Falls, which is just over 400 feet high.

6. Grandpa Hill

grandfather hill

Linville’s Grandfather Mountain is a hiker’s paradise. The area includes a variety of picturesque routes for beginner, intermediate and expert skill levels.

Regardless of your skill level, hiking in the area is always worthwhile thanks to the stunning panoramas.

Learning about the wildlife in the area is a rewarding experience, and the Mile High Swinging Bridge is as exciting as it sounds and offers unparalleled views.

7. North Carolina Aquarium

North Carolina Aquarium

The North Carolina Aquarium consists of four locations: Pine Hill Shores, Roanoke Island, Janet’s Pier and Fort Fisher.

Janet’s Pier allows visitors to observe animals in their natural habitat and can contact ahead to find out which animals you might visit during your trip.

Roanoke Island is home to a surprising number of sharks.

Fort Fisher highlights streams, marshes and the sea at Cape Fear.

Finally, Pine Knoll Shores allows visitors to learn about North Carolina’s diverse marine life.

8. North Carolina Zoo

North Carolina Zoo, Ashborough

Visitors to this impressive zoo can stroll along 5 miles of trails and see more than 1,600 animals.

The zoo’s enclosures are well-themed and represent the animals’ natural habitats, from lions and zebras in the African plains, to North American forests, and the habitats of bears and wolves.

There are also 52,000 different plant species in the zoo.

9. External Banks

Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Outer Banks is a beautiful 200-mile barrier island that offers fascinating history and quaint towns in addition to its natural charm.

The Outer Banks may not exist anymore due to coastal damage, which means visiting should be a top priority for North Carolina visitors.

Wild horses, shipwrecks and historic lighthouses are just a few of the attractions in the area.

Related Tours: The Bund: Full-Day Sea Sports Fishing Charter

10. NASCAR Hall of Fame

NASCAR Hall of Fame

Located in Charlotte, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a must for racing enthusiasts.

“Road to Glory” has many historic cars.

There’s also a Hall of Honors and a high-octane theater with a big screen showing some of the highlights of sports from past years.

11. Museum of Contemporary Art

contemporary art museum

This museum in Raleigh’s warehouse district proves that you can keep up with modern art even if you live outside of New York.

It showcases a variety of groundbreaking new art and designs and opened in May 2011.

The museum is also known for its educational and community programs.

12. King Bar

King Barricade, Raleigh

Raleigh’s King is one of North Carolina’s top music venues.

They host a variety of shows, from national stars to local rising stars.

Game nights as well as comedy and other shows can also be enjoyed when the music is not playing.

The downstairs bar, Neptunes, is a great place for dance parties and regularly hosts guest DJs.

13. William B. Umstead State Park

William B. Umstead State Park

Opened in 1937, William B. Umstead State Park is another area of ​​natural beauty in North Carolina and another destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The park features several trails and trails and is also great for hiking, boating and fishing.

The 5,500-acre state park has ample camping and parking spots.

14. James B. Hunt Jr. Library

James B. Hunt Jr. Library

This high-tech library on the Centennial University of North Carolina campus is a modern-looking building with technology to match.

The library uses a state-of-the-art BookBot delivery system, which is automated and allows a massive collection of 2 million volumes to be stored in an area 1/9 the size of a traditional library shelf.

15. Raleigh Greenway System

Raleigh Greenway System

This extensive trail network is the perfect way to explore the city of Raleigh.

You can join the network from almost anywhere in the city, with paths covering approximately 100 miles.

These trails are a great way to get around, but also offer a unique perspective of Raleigh for cyclists, runners, and dog walkers.

16. Pullen Park

Raleigh Pullen Park, North Carolina

Pullen Park, North Carolina’s first park, offers a wide variety of activities and attractions for the whole family.

Visitors will find a restored traditional carousel, boats and a mini train for children.

For adults, the park features tennis courts, a baseball field, and an arts center, allowing you to experience culture in a peaceful setting.

17. Lincoln Theater

Lincoln Theater

If you’re a fan of the performing arts, the Lincoln Theater is a must-see in North Carolina.

The theatre hosts a wide variety of performances, including music from cover bands and local artists as well as musicals and plays.

Regardless of the ticket purchased, the tiers in the theater guarantee perfect views and allow space to dance as a bonus.

18. North Carolina Museum of Natural Science

North Carolina Museum of Natural Science

This impressive museum is located in downtown Raleigh. It offers a large number of exhibits and is one of the largest natural history museums in the southeastern United States.

In addition to the exhibits, there are labs and interactive exhibits to keep everyone interested.

The museum is also home to Willow, the only dinosaur in the world with a fossilized heart.

19. Mordecai Historical Park

Mordecai Historical Park

This historic park is best known as the birthplace of the 17th President of the United States, Andrew Johnson.

The site also houses the oldest residence in Raleigh, the Mordecai Residence.

The property is a great example of a plantation that has dominated the area in the past.

20. North Carolina State Capitol

North Carolina State Capitol

A wonderful and fascinating example of Greek Revival architecture, the North Carolina State Capitol is one of the best-preserved buildings in the United States.

It was built in 1840 and served as the seat of North Carolina state government until 1888.

Business is now on the ground floor, but the building is also open to guided tours, which provide an in-depth look at the history of the building and the U.S. government.

21. JS Doton Arena

JS Dorton Arena

Located in Raleigh, JS Dorton Arena is an excellent example of modern architecture.

The building is recognized around the world as a perfect blend of engineering and architecture.

It was built in 1952 as an arena for judging livestock in competitions.

Today, the arena is a venue for live performances and exhibitions.

22. JC Raulston Botanical Gardens

JC Raulston Botanical Garden

This 10-acre botanical garden features a variety of plants from all regions and climates.

The Botanic Garden is dedicated to researching and evaluating all of its plants.

There are more than 5,000 plant species to see here, and there is enough variety to fascinate visitors.

23. North Carolina Museum of History

North Carolina Museum of History

The best place to learn more about North Carolina history is, of course, the History Museum.

Exhibits here cover the Civil War and other events in American history, including women’s rights and the toil of Native Americans.

There’s also information on the area’s first residents and the state’s Sports Hall of Fame.

24. Marble Children’s Museum

Marble Children's Museum

The Marble Children’s Museum is a hands-on event for children’s learning and interactive education.

There are five galleries and two outdoor attractions as well as an Imax cinema.

There’s a lot to like here for young children, especially those under the age of 10.

25. Bankrupt Farm

dead farm

Great place for animal and farm lovers or those who want to experience North Carolina farm life.

Activities available to guests include horseback riding (private and trail), Western riding lessons and camping trips.

For inexperienced riders or children, there is also a pony ride.

Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in North Carolina (NC)
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