10 Best Things to do in North Carolina, USA – Tips on Where to Eat & Where to Stay

Two Monkeys Travel - Contributor Destination, North America, Travel Blog, Travel Guides Leave a Comment

North Carolina is one of those lucky states with a great diversity of climate to enjoy from the ever popular coastal plains to the spectacular Great Smoky Mountains which show us the rainforest side of things. Of course, the beaches see a great influx of tourists from all over the globe; the stunning Western North Carolinian Mountains offer various fun things to do.

The North Carolina Mountains and the Asheville area are known for natural beauty, art and crafts and an abundance of farms, farmers’ markets, tailgate markets, and restaurants that offer a wide array of unique and local edibles. Many of these farms are scattered throughout the region and surrounding residential North Carolina mountain homes, which is a delight for homeowners and people considering a move to the area. North Carolina is home to some of the country’s best outdoor adventures. With ecotourism on the rise, outdoor professionals are ready to take you on your next adventure and make money. There is an endless variety of places you can see and explore in the North Carolina area. However, there are a few destinations you just cannot miss. Whether you are a local or a tourist, these are the must-see places in the area.

Let’s see what North Carolina offers to the tourists.

1. Blue Ridge Parkway

Photo by niemand und nichts CC BY 2.0

This 469-miles long stunning bridge was designed by Stanley Abbott. He designed it with an aim to create more than only a bridge connecting North Carolina and Virginia. It’s known as ‘America’s favorite drive’. Apart from the vehicles, it is also popular among the cyclists and motorcyclists for its natural sceneries. It also offers scenic hiking trails. These hiking trails originate from picnic areas, pull-offs, and campgrounds. In addition to that, Blue Ridge Parkway features several visitor centers and museums. These attractions include Mabry Mill, Folk Art Center and the Museum of North Carolina Minerals. However, if you want to drive during the months of November to March, you must check the weather conditions and the road closures.

Price: Free 

Hours: Access hours

Location: North Carolina

Phone: 828-348-3400

2. Linville Gorge and Fall

Photo by Bill McMannis CC BY 2.0

It’s the most scenic and deepest gorge in the Eastern USA. It is also known as ‘Grand Canyon of the East’. You can access the trail at Milepost 316 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are several hiking options to have some fun and amusement. The Duggers Creek Falls is only at a distance of 0.3 miles while the other nearby attractions include Hawksbill Mountain, Table Rock Mountain, and Crabtree Falls.

Price: Free 

Hours: Access hours

Location: Gingercake Road, Linville Falls, NC 28647

Phone:  828-765-1045

3. Museum of Life and Science

Photo by Red CC BY-ND 2.0

It is a great place to visit if you’re accompanied by children. In this museum, you can learn about various planets and explore new things. You can enroll your children in day classes or small trips while you can enjoy great food at the café. If you’re planning a tour, enlist this site in top 10 best attractions in North Carolina.

Price: $16 

Hours: 10 AM to 5 PM

Location: 433 W Murray Ave, Durham, NC 27704-3101

Phone:  919-220-5429

4. The Biltmore Estate

Photo by Blake Lewis CC BY-SA 2.0

It is expanded over an extensive area of 800 acres. The Vanderbilt Mansion is the largest private home in the USA. The 250 rooms of the mansion are decorated with antiques, artwork, glorious architecture and an extensive collection of accessories and vintage clothing. It also features some of the most beautiful gardens. The Rose Garden has more than 250 varieties while the Italian Garden features sculpture and ornate pools. Besides, you can see a deer park, a managed forest, and miles of walking paths. Also, there are many dining options throughout the estate and shopping and entertainment in Antler Hill Village.

Price: $60

Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM

Location: 1 Antler Hill Road, Asheville, NC 28803-8692

Phone:  800-411-3812

5. North Carolina Aquarium

Photo by Becky Wetherington CC BY 2.0

This aquarium constitutes four different locations along the coast including Jennette’s Pier, Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores, and Roanoke Island. In fact, Jennette’s Pier is not a real aquarium; rather it shows the humpback whales in its natural habitat. If you want to see sharks, Roanoke Island is the best place because it hosts the largest collection of sharks in the state. Fort Fisher features swamps, freshwater streams and open ocean of Cape Fear while at Pine Knoll Shores, you can learn about the marine life of North Carolina.

Price: $10.95

Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM

Location:  374 Airport Rd, Off U.S. 64, Manteo, Roanoke Island, NC 27954-9485

Phone:  252-475-2300

6. North Carolina Zoo

Photo by Asheboro Creative CC BY 2.0

It’s known as the country’s largest natural habitat zoo. It has 5 miles of pathways and you can see more than 52,000 plants and 1,600 animals. You can expect to see animals from all the continents. Animals such as black bears, grizzly, roadrunners, elk, bison, red wolves, bobcats, alligators, and cougars represent the North American continent. Giraffes, zebras, chimps, lions, ostriches, rhinos and elephants represent the African continent. The Asian continent is represented by lions and pigeons. Exhibits are designed to resemble the natural habitat. Due to all these things, it is among the top 10 things to do in North Carolina.

Price: $15

Hours: 9 AM to 4 PM

Location:  4401 Zoo Pkwy, Asheboro, NC 27205-1425

Phone:  336-879-7000

7. Outer Banks

Photo by James Willamor CC BY-SA 2.0

With constant shore damage and beach erosion, there are numerous concerns about the future of the outer banks so it’s the ideal time for tourists to explore these fascinating scenes. This 200-mile stretch of barrier islands offers lovely towns, rich history, and natural beauty. You can enjoy a drive on the outer Banks Scenic Byway. If you want to learn about the regional history and dynamics, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and the Outer Banks History Center are the best places to visit. You can enhance your knowledge about the lost colony by visiting the Roanoke Island and you can also learn about the importance of island for the underground rail system. The site also features other attractions including the Frisco Native American Museum, Elizabethan gardens at the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and historic lighthouses.

Price: $9

Hours: Access hours

Location:  Outer Banks, North Carolina

8. Bald Head Island

Photo by Tim Engleman CC BY-SA 2.0

If you want to visit a place where life moves slowly without the smoke of cars, you must visit Bale Head Island. The Island features a laid-back atmosphere and you can enjoy 14 miles (23 km) of beaches. You can access the Island by a private boat or ferry from the town of Southport. If you want to travel from point A to point B on this island, you’ll go on foot, bicycle or a golf cart. The attractions on this island include the Bald Head Island Golf Course, maritime forests and marshes. It is also famous for the conservation of turtles. Bald Head Island Conservancy held a turtle walk during the summer.  During this event, the visitors who want to help monitor a nest for emerging babies or to watch for mothers coming ashore to nest. All these adventures make it among the best 10 things to do in North Carolina

Price: Free

Hours: Access hours

Location:  Bald Head Island, North Carolina

Phone:  910-457-7380

9. Hanging Rock State Park

Photo by xwest2 CC BY 2.0

This lovely park is situated in the Sauratown Mountains nearby the Winston-Salem area. This area includes 29 km (18 miles) of trails which can be categorized from very easy to very difficult. In addition to that, there is a lake which is ideal for swimming, fishing, and boating. Over and above this, it also features various mesmerizing waterfalls. It also includes the 404 feet high majestic waterfall. You can enjoy quality time with your family and friends while hiking the 75 miles long trails. The Hanging Rock State Park is famous for its ridges and quartzite formations. These stunning sites include the eponymous Hanging Rock and the Devil’s Chimney.

Price: $5

Hours: 7 AM to 8 PM

Location:  1790 Hanging Rock Park Rd, Danbury, NC 27016-7417

Phone:  336-593-8480

10. Charlotte Motor Speedway

Photo by Joe Ross CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re a sports car racing lover, North Carolina is the perfect place for you to boost your adrenaline. In fact, any touring plan to North Carolina is incomplete without visiting the Charlotte Motor Speedway. During the race days, the organizers give special access to the tourists to enjoy the thrilling race. Take your little boys to the Little Luggies tour where they can meet and greet some of the most famous drivers and they can enjoy some games and art activities all related to cars and racing.

Price: Varies according to the race

Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM

Location:  5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord, NC 28027-4600

Phone:  704-455-3200

Where to dine in North Carolina

Cucina 24

Photo by Cucina 24

From pizza and pasta to executive dining, you’ll find everything in this restaurant. Brian Canipelli’s Italian cooking is simultaneously playful, gusty, and admirably effortless. It’s a nice place to visit with family members.

Hours: 5.30 PM to 10 PM

Location:  Asheville, North Carolina

Phone: 828- 254-6170

Nightbell

Photo by The Nightbell

It is a great place if you want something refreshing like snakes, fish crackers or similar stuff. Prices are also moderate as compared to the taste. Overall, it’s a must visit restaurant in North Carolina.

Hours: 5 PM to 11 PM

Location:  Asheville, North Carolina

Phone: 828-575-0375

Knife & Fork

It’s a quite busy restaurant and you’ll have to make an advance booking if you want to enjoy your meal. The owner of the restaurant is also the chef and takes great care about the taste of the food. You can find some local American dishes at very amazing rates.

Hours: 6 AM to 9 PM

Location:  Spruce Pine, North Carolina

Phone: 828-765-1511

Where to stay in North Carolina

Clarion Hotel Charlotte Airport & Conference Center

The hotel is just at the 10 minutes drive from the city center. It offers basic facilities like free Wi-Fi access and an outdoor pool. All guest rooms offer a flat-screen TV with cable, desk, and coffee machine. For great packages, please check booking.com.

Price: $54$62

Hours: Open access

Style: Modern

Star: 4 star

Location: 212 West Woodlawn Road, #B, Charlotte, NC 28217, United States of America

Phone: 704-688-9944

Booking: Booking.com, Agoda

The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel

This 212rooms hotel is fully equipped with modern facilities. The building and interior of the hotel are itself admiring. Standard amenities include minibars, flat-screen TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and in-room yoga mats, as well as bathrooms with walk-in showers and subway tiles. For best rates, please check Agoda.

Price: $214-$210

Hours: Open access

Style: Modern

Star: 4.5 star

Location: 401 North Main Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, USA

Phone: 877-216-3448

Booking: Booking.com, Agoda

The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel

If you’re a golf lover, the hotel has its own golf course. In addition to that, it also features a restaurant offering continental dishes. All the rooms are equipped with complete with minibars, coffee makers and Bose Wave stereos. If you want to check amazing deals, please visit booking.com.

Price: $450-$500

Hours: Open access

Style: Traditional, Opulent

Star: 4 star

Location: 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy, Charlotte, NC 28277, USA

Phone: 704-248-4000

Booking: Booking.com, Agoda

Frequently asked questions about North Carolina

List of major cities in North Carolina?

Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham, Fayetteville, Cary, Wilmington, High Point, Greenville, Asheville, Concord, Gastonia, Jacksonville, Chapel Hill, Rocky Mount, Huntersville, Burlington, Wilson, Kannapolis, Apex

What is the best time of the year to visit North Carolina

State offers various climatic conditions through the year depending upon the regions or zones you’re planning to visit. Of course, July and August are not best months to visit North Carolina apart from passing time on the beaches. However, you can visit the mountains during the summer because there is a harsh snowfall during the winter.

In the same way, you must also look for hurricanes during the months of June to November. Overall, according to the tourists coming from all around the globe, the month of October is the best time to visit North Carolina. As far as I’m concerned, my favorite times are late April through May and June, and then September and October.

Write the best months and what to do depending on the season?

During the summer months, you can go to beaches or mountains where the temperatures are relatively low. During the winter months, you can enjoy the snow and do things like snowboarding, skiing etc. during March and April; you can go on hiking on long trails of the state.

What is North Carolina popular for?

The state is popular for produce like Tobacco, Cotton and Sweet Potatoes. Due to the hometown of fathers of aviation, The Wright brothers, the state is also known as ‘’First in Flight”. NASCAR is also an identity of the state. Besides, Emeralds-the 20 largest emeralds ever found in the US were found in North Carolina. And in the last, due to the diversity of the state, you can enjoy any type of climate and environment ranging from beaches to mountains.

How can you go to North Carolina? 

When we plan to travel to North Carolina, we come across various choices. For instance, Amtrak trains and Amtrak Thruway buses are a wonderful and economical choice. You can go to eight destinations in North Carolina using both of these means of transportation. As far as the air flights are concerned, you can choose from hundreds of options including United, Delta, and American Airlines etc. the distance from California is about 2,240 miles and takes a flight of about 4 hours to reach North Carolina.

What are the major airports in North Carolina?

  • Asheville Regional Airport
  • Charlotte/Douglas International Airport
  • Concord Regional Airport
  • Piedmont Triad International Airport
  • Albert J. Ellis Airport
  • Coastal Carolina Regional Airport
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville
  • Fayetteville Regional Airport
  • Pitt Greenville Airport
  • Wilmington International Airport
  • Kinston Regional Jetport at Stallings Field

What’s the best souvenir to buy in North Carolina?

  • Colorado’s state flag – You can buy anything with printed Colorado’s state flag. For example, you can buy a coffee cup with the printed flag.
  • Knot accessories – You can but knot accessories anything ranging from potholders to bracelets.
  • Diamonds – Well, a bit expensive to buy but they are the best. you can buy some turquoise and silver jewelry of your own.
  • Women’s and little girls’ apparel – These are fine in quality and appraised all over the USA. You’ll come across a wide variety for a very reasonable price.

What are the popular holidays or festivals in North Carolina?

During the whole year, you can enjoy various festivals and holiday events. In February, you can go to the North Carolina Jazz Festival, in mid-April, you can have fun at the North Carolina Azalea Festival.

In the late April, you can go to festivals like Fayetteville Dogwood Festival, North Carolina Pickle Festival and Biltmore Festival of Flowers.

During the month of December, you can have entertaining holidays like Jamie Laval’s Celtic Christmas, Tryon, December 30, Trail of Lights, Valdese, November 22-December 24, The Nutcracker Ballet, Franklin, December 16-17 and Biltmore Village Annual Dickens Festival, Asheville, December 2-3.

What are the top 5 popular destinations in North Carolina?

  • Old Salem Museums and Gardens, Winston-Salem
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte
  • USS North Carolina, Wilmington
  • Lake Jame State Park, Nebo
  • Pisgah National Forest, Waynesville

Monkey DividersAre you on Pinterest? Pin these!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

COPYRIGHT DISCLAIMER:Many of the articles on Two Monkeys Travel Group are guest posts by a number of Approved Contributors and are hosted by Two Monkeys Travel Group. Approved Contributors control their own work and post freely to our site. This includes all text and images that they use within their own work. All contributors are instructed to follow internationally recognised copyright and intellectual property guidelines. Two Monkeys Travel Group takes its own responsibilities very seriously, so if you feel that any part of this work is abusive in any way, please send us an email so that we can investigate - theteam@twomonkeystravel.com


DISCLOSURE: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links. So when you make a purchase we sometimes make a small commission, at no extra cost to you. The cost to you remains the same, sometimes even cheaper if we have negotiated a special deal for our readers.We use all of the companies we have listed here and that’s why they are in this list, but of course we need to keep Two Monkeys Travel Group running as well as it can, which is exactly what you’re helping with if you do decide to buy or book something through an affiliate link! If you have any more questions about the companies we use or any other companies you’re looking at, just email us and we’ll be happy to help.Please see our full disclaimer page for more information.