From the beaches of the Outer Banks to the tallest mountains of the Blue Ridge range, North Carolina contains endless opportunities for sightseeing and activities. It’s home to some of the oldest towns and settlements of the United States, and its diverse small towns are absolutely worth a trip, whether for an afternoon or a weekend. From rock climbing at Chimney Rock to exploring the history of the Cherokee Nation in Cherokee to relaxing on the boardwalk or sunbathing at Carolina Beach, North Carolina, has so much to offer that is definitely not to be missed.

Nearby trips: Best Beaches, Best Weekend Getaways, Best Day Trips


1. Asheville

Asheville
© Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com

Asheville, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is renowned for its arts and cultural scene as well as for its historic buildings. It’s a beautiful city with a thriving culture, and there’s no shortage of things to do in Asheville. Visitors can tour the elaborate house and gardens at the Biltmore Estate, visit the Asheville Pinball Museum, or sit back and enjoy a tasty beer at the New Belgium Brewery and Tasting Room. Those looking to get out into the great outdoors will find a plethora of opportunity within a short driving distance for hiking, biking, kayaking, and mountain views. Things to Do in Asheville

Fun day trip ideas close to me: Ohio, From San Francisco, Weekend Getaways from NYC, Texas, CA quick trip, Oregon, Florida


2.Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach
© Courtesy of alexbuess - Fotolia.com


The boardwalk at Carolina Beach is famous nationwide for its shops, restaurants, rides, and entertainment for visitors of all ages. During the summer, weekly firework shows and regular concerts and events add even more to the experience. On the beach itself, there is ample opportunity for sunbathing and watersports, and at nearby Carolina Beach State Park, visitors can wander a sandy trail that leads to an awe inspiring view of Cape Fear River. Whether they are looking for a relaxing weekend away, or a day trip full of excitement, families, friends, and solo travelers will all find something to love about Carolina Beach.

Things to do near me: Sarasota, From Boston, OR, NC, AK, Boulder, From Houston, NJ, GA, Orlando


3.Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock
© Courtesy of JAMES - Fotolia.com

With its quaint shops and stunning location (it is one of the only towns directly along the Blue Ridge Parkway), Blowing Rock claims the title of “Crown of the Blue Ridge.” In Blowing Rock, which is located near the impressive Grandfather Mountain, visitors can hike, bike, or boulder, but they can also relax and enjoy this charming town and all it has to offer. The Tweetsie Railroad, a Wild West themed park, is a great destination for families, and Blowing Rock Art and History Museum offers some cultural education for history buffs. And with over a hundred unique shops in its downtown area, Blowing Rock is a fantastic place to treat yourself to something new.

Long weekend getaways with friends near you, what to do in: Poconos, NY, TN, MI, OC, New England, Cleveland, All Inclusive, Charleston, IL, VA, San Diego, TX



4.Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest
© Courtesy of skiserge1 - Fotolia.com


Nature lovers will delight in the thickly wooded slopes of Pisgah National Forest, whose 500,000 acres are home to hiking trails that extend for more than 1600 miles over rivers, past cascading waterfalls, and through the beautiful North Carolina wilderness. There are several tall peaks within the forest, including Black Balsam Knob, Cold Mountain, and Tennant Mountain. Trails to the summits of these peaks vary in length and difficulty for hikers of all ability levels, and camping in Pisgah National Forest is permitted at both established campsites and in backcountry locations.

More romantic getaways, honeymoon: Cincinnati, MD, OR, HI, Retreats, Asheville, Indoor Amusement Parks, WI, San Francisco


5.Brevard

Brevard
© Courtesy of WideAwake - Fotolia.com


In Brevard, visitors can find all the outdoor activities they’d expect to find in a North Carolina mountain town, including hiking, cycling, and rock climbing, as well as a vibrant cultural scene with music, food, and festivals. Brevard hosts six festivals every year, and countless events on top of that, but it still manages to maintain the charm of a small town community, with locally owned shops and restaurants and friendly inhabitants. Visitors to Brevard will adore the atmosphere in the town, which is cultured yet quiet, and boasts a thriving music scene with everything from symphonic orchestras, live bar performances, and bustling music festivals.

More kid-friendly fun things to do near me today: Iowa, WI, From New Orleans, ME, ID, FL, LA, From Minneapolis, From Dallas, FL, Carlsbad, CA, Charlotte, Williamsburg, LA, PA


6.Bryson City

Bryson City
© Courtesy of Jill Lang - Fotolia.com


North Carolina has lots of options for outdoor enthusiasts, from hiking mountains to swimming in the ocean, and a day trip or weekend excursion to Bryson City should definitely be added to that list. Situated just an hour’s drive from Asheville, Bryson City invites visitors to kayak or navigate the rapids in a raft on the Nantahala River, head to the famous Tsali trails for some mountain biking, hike or horseback ride through forests and past waterfalls, or spend a peaceful day fishing on Fontana Lake. The town is tucked away in the Smokies surrounded by steep slopes, rushing creeks, and stunning nature that is sure to leave visitors breathless.

Top-rated things to see near me, beach and last minute resort ideas: Charleston WV, Pensacola, Baton Rouge, Encinitas, Colorado Springs, Dayton OH, Dauphin Island, Provincetown, VT, VA, Atlanta, From Chicago, CA, AZ, From NYC, GA beaches, CO


7.Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach
© Courtesy of iofoto - Fotolia.com

Atlantic Beach is one of only five communities located on the barrier island of Bogue Banks in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. With a beach that is nationally recognized as one of the best in the country and an array of state parks and attractions that offer a combination of history, nature, and fun, Atlantic Beach has something for everyone. A boat ride to Cape Lookout National Seashore allows visitors to explore a lighthouse watch wild horses on the beaches, and tour a historic town, while Fort Macon State Park is a great place to walk, explore, visit the beach, and learn about its history as a Civil War fort.

Top things to see near me, weekend breaks in April, May, June: East Coast Beaches, SC, Beaches near Orlando, Last Minute, Palm Springs, Portland, Bar Harbor, Destin, Houston, Newport Beach, NH, Flagstaff, Minneapolis, Jacksonville


8. Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill
© Courtesy of Jill Lang - Fotolia.com

A visit to Chapel Hill will show visitors almost immediately why it’s such a popular destination for tourists. It has everything, including restaurants, family activities, a music scene, parks, art and museums, and lots of history. Visitors can view collections of art from all over the world at the Ackland Art Museum, take some time to smell the roses at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, or head to the Carolina Basketball Museum for exhibits about the history of UNC basketball. Chapel Hill is also home to the Carr Mill Mall, a historic market, and the Weaver Street Market, where visitors will find not only shopping but also food and music. Things to Do in Chapel Hill

Luxury resorts & hotels to visit in July, August, September around me: Best caves in the U.S., SD, Taos, NH, East Coast, DE, Disney, Portland, Martha's Vineyard, From D.C., Destin, MA, AK, Vegas, From LA, Hot Springs, Midwest , KY, Dream vacation spots, Southwest vacations


9. Cherokee

Cherokee
© Courtesy of Jill Lang - Fotolia.com

Cherokee, North Carolina is a town inside the Eastern Cherokee Reservation, and it offers visitors an amazing look into Native American culture and history through museums, shops, and shows. Live demonstrations at Oconaluftee Indian Village will show visitors what life was like in an 18th century Cherokee village, and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian will teach about the history of the Cherokee Nation in the region. Cherokee is located at the doorstep of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so it’s situated in some beautiful natural settings and also serves as a great jumping point for exploring the park. Things to Do in Cherokee

What to do near my location downtown in winter, summer: Wedding venues in Illinois, MA, VA, CT, MD, NJ, TN, AR, Raleigh, Canada, WV, RI, MT, Indianapolis, London, From Kansas City


10.Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock
© Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com

Located in Hickory Nut Gorge just beneath the towering hulk of Chimney Rock Mountain is Chimney Rock Village, a charmingly quirky town with plenty of shops, hotels, restaurants, bars, and services. Chimney Rock State Park is a huge draw for visitors, and the entrance to this beautiful park is laughably easy to find, as it’s located right on Main Street in town. The park features some amazing rock formations, including the one that gives it its name, as well as some great opportunities for rock climbing or hiking to the top of Chimney Rock, where some spectacular views can be found of nearby Lake Lure and the surrounding area. Not much of a hiker? No problem, because an elevator inside the mountain can lift visitors up to the top of Chimney Rock, so no one has to miss out on the view.

What is there to do near me, cheap activities, bar, cafe, wedding venues: Washington beaches, Duluth, Water parks in Texas, New Braunfels, Long Island, Birmingham, Carmel, WA, UT, MN, AR, From LA, Day trips from Seattle, Chicago, Milwaukee


11.Corolla

Corolla
© Courtesy of sbgoodwin - Fotolia.com

Corolla, North Carolina, is located in the Outer Banks and has miles and miles of beachfront land full of rental homes great for family vacations, bachelor or bachelorette weekends, or gatherings of any kind. The town of Corolla has plenty to do, from climbing the stairs of the beautiful and scenic Currituck Beach Lighthouse to visiting the historic Whalehead Club. In town, visitors to Corolla will find an abundance of shops and restaurants to whet their appetites. The area is also home to a herd of wild horses, and visitors will love visiting their habitat and seeing them relax on the beach like tourists.

More North Carolina ideas: mountains, day trips, lighthouses, attractions, wedding venues, beaches

Cool places to go in spring, summer, fall, public beach near me, landmarks: Wichita, CT, CA, NM, GA, NC, OH, UT resorts, ME, KS, CT, NC, MI, MS, IA, LA, DE, AR, Cruise vacations, CO


12.Emerald Isle

Emerald Isle
© Courtesy of bmwysm - Fotolia.com

The entire family will love the town of Emerald Isle, which is part of the Crystal Coast just south of Croatan National Forest. Emerald Isle is home to over 12 miles of sandy shorelines with some pretty spectacular views of the Atlantic, and its waters are great for boating, fishing, and watersports. From the wealth of activities on the beach, from sunbathing to paddleboarding to miniature golf to zipping down the waterslides at Water Boggan, it’s easy to find things to do on Emerald Isle, where the island places special emphasis on creating an atmosphere suitable for family fun.

Free things to do near me & must see tourist attractions in December, January, February, March: MN, SC, Northern CA beaches, Holland, MI, Leavenworth WA, Beaches near DC, Day trips from Las Vegas, California wedding venues, Mexico, NC


13. Fayetteville

Fayetteville
© Courtesy of Tim Markley - Fotolia.com

Near the military base of Fort Bragg lies Fayetteville, a historic town with a lot of passion. From its proximity to the largest military installation in the country to its roots as a town named for the Marquis de Lafayette, it’s no surprise that Fayetteville received the title of “America’s Most Pro-Military Town.” Patriotism certainly runs strong in this town, where visitors can explore the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Armory and Museum, tour the Averasboro Battlefield and Museum, or check out some of Fayetteville’s nine historic districts to see evidence of the town’s proud past.

Fun & cheap vacations, free points of interest: North Carolina day trips, Things to do in North Carolina, Romantic Weekend Getaways in North Carolina, North Carolina beaches


14.Grandfather Mountain State Park

Grandfather Mountain State Park
© Courtesy of Jill Lang - Fotolia.com

Grandfather Mountain is the tallest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and this state park offers visitors the opportunity to see the towering mountain up close. Near the summit at exactly one mile above sea level is the Mile High Swinging Bridge, a suspension bridge that extends for over 220 feet over a chasm that drops beneath. A walk across this bridge is sure to get the adrenaline pumping, and you’ll see some pretty spectacular views along the way. For a more rustic, backcountry view of Grandfather Mountain, visitors can use one of the many nature trails or hiking trails that lead around the park and to the summit.

Top sights, weather, 24 hour restaurants, 48 hours in, beaches near me: Underwater hotel, Oldest City in USA, USA islands


15. Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great Smoky Mountain National Park
© Courtesy of Ruth P. Peterkin - Fotolia.com


Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the area’s premier destinations for outdoor activities and natural beauty. It is the most popular national park in the entire United States, and within its borders visitors will find lush green trees, abundant wildlife, and of course, some truly awe-inspiring mountains. The hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are vast and numerous and even include a portion of the famous Appalachian Trail. Hikers will wind their way up mountainsides and across rivers to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

Top 10 & family things to do, Italian, seafood restaurant, conference venue, waterfalls: Things to Do in Beverly Hills, Things to Do in Aspen, 10 Day Trip to Italy, Rome to Tuscany, Montenegro Day Trip


16.Highlands

Highlands
© Courtesy of jonbilous - Fotolia.com


Highlands is a mountain resort town located along the southern border of North Carolina near scenic Highway 64. This town is so popular that during the summer its population grows by more than 600% on average, and one day in Highlands will tell you exactly why. The town itself is full of activity, from restaurants and shopping to galleries and the arts. The surrounding beauty of Nantahala National Forest offers hiking trails through peaceful woods and past waterfalls that are simply picture perfect, and fishing enthusiasts will find trout in the area’s many rivers.

Top 10 sights to see by car, good restaurants near me: Connecticut beaches, Anniversary trip ideas, Jeffersonville, Charlotte, Beloit,


17.Kill Devil Hills

Kill Devil Hills
© Courtesy of PiLensPhoto - Fotolia.com


The town of Kill Devil Hills on the coast of the Atlantic in the Outer Banks is a resort town with plenty of history and activities. Close to the famous town of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills is home to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, where visitors can explore the grounds and a reconstruction of the camp where the Wright Brothers built their first airplane, as well as a replica of their prototype. Out on the water, Kill Devils Hill is well known as a surfing destination and for being a great spot for kayaking, fishing, and boating. Equipment rentals are available on location.

More North Carolina ideas: family, amusement parks, romantic, Wilmington, Raleigh, Asheville

Places to eat near me, coffee shops, flea, farmers market, tropical honeymoon trip finder, sandy beach by car: Day trips from Seattle, Nashville Airport Restaurants, Midway Airport Restaurants, Things to Do in Kansas


18.Lake Lure

Lake Lure
© Courtesy of digidreamgrafix - Fotolia.com


Lake Lure is a huge lake that approximates over 700 acres in Hickory Nut Gorge in the western part of the state. With over twenty miles of shoreline, Lake Lure is fed by the clear waters of Rocky Broad River as it makes its way through Hickory Nut Gap. The climate in the area is very warm, and Lake Lure and the surrounding region is well suited for hiking, boating, fishing, and swimming. In the charming town of Lake Lure, visitors will find plenty of shopping and dining options for when their day of play out on the lake comes to an end.

Romantic weekend getaways near me, places to live, for married people, elope, elevation, fish restaurant, living, breakfast: Art Museums, One Day in Chicago, One Day in London, Southwest family vacation ideas, Kansas City, Mackinac Island, Key Largo


19.Mount Mitchell State Park

Mount Mitchell State Park
© Courtesy of digidreamgrafix - Fotolia.com


Mount Mitchell reaches 6,684 feet in elevation at its summit, making it the highest point in America east of the Mississippi, and the park surrounding the peak is certainly one of the most beautiful in the region. Via the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, visitors can even drive to the summit, where they will follow the mountain road through twists and turns to the observation deck for a spectacular 360 degree view of the park and surrounding peaks and region. For the more athletically inclined, Mount Mitchell is also accessible by hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulties.

Weekend trips, what are spa resorts known for, last minute travel guide, what is a great day trip destination: Restaurants in Cherokee NC, Lakes in North Carolina, Train rides in NC, North Carolina resorts, Boone


20.Nags Head

Nags Head
© Courtesy of scottevers7 - Fotolia.com


Nags Head is a part of the Outer Banks known for its beautiful beaches, but there is so much more to this North Carolina town than that. Located near the famous town of Kitty Hawk, where the Wright brothers first achieved flight, and the resort town of Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head is a great spot for vacations or day trips alike. With a beach that is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or surfing and a town with world class restaurants and stunning galleries for visitors to enjoy, Nags Head also offers options like snorkeling, finding and exploring old shipwrecks, kayaking, and hang gliding.

Romantic places near me this weekend, all inclusive, live music, unique shopping in town, nightlife for tourists: Places to Visit in North Carolina, Largest Cities in North Carolina


21.New Bern

New Bern
© Courtesy of lspi138 - Fotolia.com


Near the coast of North Carolina, along the Trent and Neuse Rivers is New Bern, one of the oldest towns in the state. Founded in 1710, New Bern boasts fame for the invention of Pepsi in 1898, and for being the home of famous author Nicholas Sparks – the area serves as the setting for many of his novels, including The Notebook. History buffs will enjoy the North Carolina History Center and the New Bern Fireman’s Museum, while nature lovers or those looking for some fresh ocean air can take a cruise along the rivers or the coast with one of the many charter cruise companies in the area. In town, New Bern’s main streets are filled with boutiques and attractions set along the banks of the scenic river. There are plenty of places to eat a delicious meal.

Day trips from, guided vacations, essential facts, solo destinations, vacation spots for seniors, pictures: Wilmington restaurants, Wilmington wedding venues, Wilmington Breakfast, Asheville hotels, Nags Head restaurants


22.Ocracoke

Ocracoke
© Courtesy of sbgoodwin - Fotolia.com


Ocracoke Island is the southernmost island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, accessible by ferry. This idyllic place is perfect for a relaxing island vacation, with long stretches of sandy beachfront and a town filled with charming local businesses. The National Park Service owns most of the island, so Ocracoke Beach remains undeveloped, making it one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the US. Visitors to Ocracoke can sunbathe, swim, or get wild with watersports from surfing to waterskiing. On land, Ocracoke offers options for hiking, biking, and some amazing food at its restaurants, many of which have docks for guests coming by boat.

Book your trip, outside & indoor activities, kid friendly popular scenic places, what's near me, excursions, art, tours, towns: Italian restaurants NYC, Manhattan wedding venues


23. Boone

Boone
© Courtesy of nickolya - Fotolia.com

The town of Boone, situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a historic area that, like many other towns on this list, offers countless opportunities for outdoor adventure. Visitors can go spelunking amongst the limestone stalactites and stalagmites of Linville Caverns or drive along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway to get up close and personal with some of the most beautiful mountains in the region. There’s opportunity for hiking or biking on mountainsides, skiing and snowboarding in the winter, or spending a happy day sampling drinks along the Boone Area Wine Trail. There’s so much activity in Boone, it’s bound to be an unforgettable visit. Things to Do in Boone

Romantic resorts, dog friendly cabin, boutique inn, B&B, hostel, photos, maps, discounts, conference, couples retreat: Things to Do in Queens NY, Day trips from NYC


24.Roanoke Island

Roanoke Island
© Courtesy of jiawangkun - Fotolia.com


Roanoke lives in infamy as the first attempted settlement in America by the English, a colony that was mysteriously lost. Today, Roanoke Island is a thriving place that draws people to its museums and historic site, as well as its current status as a fun town with plenty of attractions for tourists and locals alike. On Roanoke Island, visitors will find art galleries, a maritime museum, Elizabethan Gardens, Island Farm, and the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse. Throughout the year, the town hosts events like the Shallowbag Shag Beach Music Festival, a bluegrass festival, and much more.

Romantic date ideas in October, November, interesting historic road trip, food, beautiful beaches near me: Things to Do in Chelsea, Best time to visit New York


25.Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach
© Courtesy of Rob - Fotolia.com


Wrightsville Beach consists of a four mile long island off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina, as well as an interior island, and a few bits of the mainland. On Wrightsville Beach, visitors can escape from life by the white sands and sparkling blue waters which are perfect for swimming, fishing, surfing, and more. Visitors can explore the history and ecology of the region at the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History or take a guided cruise on the harbor. Accessible by an iconic drawbridge, Wrightsville Island is a close enough drive from the mainland to make a perfect day trip, with restaurants in the village that serve amazing seafood.

Family getaways, birthday, anniversary for couples, three day weekend, vacation deals & places to visit near me: Things to Do in St Augustine FL, Beaches in Santa Barbara, Wichita restaurants, Harrisburg restaurants, Provincetown Wedding, North East



25 Best Day Trips in North Carolina