Natural beauty, pleasantly moderate climate and cities rich in history and bustling with arts, activities, and world renown sports make North Carolina a wonderful place to visit and explore. North Carolina is divided into three regions by its geography. To the east lies the coast, in the center is the Piedmont which are the hilly and the plain areas. And to the west lay the Appalachian Mountains. To the traveler, it should be exciting to know that North Carolina has the second largest state regulated highway system in the United States! And more than three hundred public and private airports with an additional four international airports. The Amtrak service, NC by Train is a well-connected railway line that links the major counties and cities. For tourists, there is no dearth of outdoor sports and activities with golfing, skiing, both fresh- and saltwater fishing, and hunting.
There are a total of hundred counties in North Carolina! But Ashville, Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, Wilmington, Fayetteville, Cary, Winston Salem, and Corolla offer the most amount of points of natural, historical and cultural interest. Some of the must visit places are the Great Smoky Mountain, the Blue Ridge National Parkway, the Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout National Seashores and the Wright Brothers’ National Memorial at Kitty Hawk. If that isn’t enough, you can also visit Guilford Courthouse and Moore’s Creek National Military Parks, Carl Sandburg's home near Hendersonville, and the Old Salem Restoration in Winston-Salem.
North Carolina has one of the most diverse landscapes! From the highest mountains in the Eastern US to a long stretch of white sand beaches. Perhaps no journey to North Carolina is complete without driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Envisioned by the architect Stanley Abbot, this 469 miles long highway seamlessly connects the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. And offers views of the multicolored vegetation and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
To adventure seekers, the surrounding landscape offers a lot of hiking trails! While for history lovers there are museums like Mabry Mill showcasing milling and blacksmithing in the past. Or The Folk Art Center featuring traditional works of craft persons.
Next stop on the highway should be The Biltmore Estate, America's largest privately owned home, near Asheville. The Vanderbilt Mansion, which lies in the center of the 8000-acre parkland area of this estate, constitutes more than 200 rooms furnished with the most exquisite artworks, attire, and collectibles. The parklands contain a village, a winery and the beautiful Rose Garden with a huge variety of roses. And the Italian Garden with decorated pools and sculptures.
Heading eastwards from Ashville, next place of interest should be 11 Chimney Rock State Park. Which contains the natural wonder of a 2200 feet high Granite Ridge. An elevator has been installed in this ridge to allow access to the top to provide the visitors a panoramic view of the lush scenery. Moving further east to Linville on the quest for even more natural beauty and adventure, the Grandfather Mountain with its Mile High Swinging Bridge, should not be missed. Of course, once in Linvile, you should also not miss out on the Linvile Gorge and falls. Touted the deepest gorge in the East of US, this landmark is not for the uninitiated in beauty. From the Linvile Falls visitor center, the visitor should also hike to the Crabtree and the Duggers Creek Falls. And if possible to the Table Rock Mountain and Hawksbill Mountain.
Fun Facts For Kids
Further east, one can visit the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. This zoo, comprised over 2200 acres of land, is one of the largest walking zoos in the world. And contains more than 1600 animal and 52000 plant species. In the middle of North Carolina, Chapel Hill county houses the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. It's one of the most visited and prominent planetariums since 1949. The county of Raleigh is the most happening as it is just 14 miles from the international Raleigh-Durham Airport. And has the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, one of the biggest and the oldest natural history museums in Southeast US. Among other notable things, this museum keeps the original and the only existing fossilized remains of the Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur.
Once one reaches the eastern shore, the fast disappearing islands of Outer Banks, the preserved national shoreline of Cape Hatteras, the site of Battleship North Carolina, the WWII battleship, in Wilmington and the North Carolina Aquarium spanning the Pine Knoll Shores, Roanoke Island, Jennette’s Pier and Fort Fisher should be on the list of must-visit locations.
Spicy and Crispy food at your doorstep
Food in North Carolina is an exploration of the love for barbeque and for the quintessential Southern food. The barbeque here is in two primary styles, Eastern and Lexington. Eastern uses tomato sauces whereas Lexington features black pepper sauces. Barbeque lovers can plan their visit to North Carolina to coincide with the Lexington Barbecue Festival. Among well-known BBQ restaurants are Skylight Inn, Lexington Barbeque, Stamey’s Barbeque and Bum’s. However, there is so much more to North Carolina’s food with its variety of cuisines! Such as French, Caribbean Mexican, fusion and contemporary.
A notable North Carolinian food is the biscuit. And Biscuit Head, Rise, and Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen should be on the top of the list of restaurants to visit for their tantalizing biscuits. Other notable restaurants which are not primarily barbeque joints are the Lifesaving Station, Chef, and the Farmer, Table, Nightbell, Curate and Knife and Fork. There are numerous pies, pastry and donut shops that dot the state as North Carolinians have a sweet tooth.
Finding the Perfect Vacation Rental in North Carolina
Cabin rentals in the mountainous west, offering complete privacy and freedom and picturesque views of forests and mountain tops are highly favored among visitors. Moving toward the middle of North Carolina, house and apartment rentals happen to be the most popular. While the beach houses are the most chosen properties by the visitors to the eastern shore. There are a lot of resorts and vacation rentals that afford an even more luxurious experience.
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