Top North Carolina Vacation Spots

North Carolina has everything from coastal plains and forests to mountains, including several popular vacation destinations. Here are the top vacation spots in North Carolina:

Nags Head

Nags Head

Nags Head is a small town on North Carolina's Outer Banks near Kitty Hawk and Roanoke Island.

Check out the historical lighthouses, including Bodie Island Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton, and the Ocracoke Lighthouse.

Learn about the history of flight at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills.

Hit the beaches and trails at Jockey's Ridge State Park, Currituck Beach in Corolla, and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Wilmington

Wilmington

Wilmington is a port city in southeastern North Carolina, located on the Cape Fear River.

Take a walk on the Riverwalk. Dine at Front Street Brewery or Mixto and grab treats at famous Kilwin's Ice Cream or Bella's Sweets & Spirits. Take a dinner cruise on the Henrietta III.

Hop on a guided trolley tour of the historic district's old homes and churches. Don't miss a tour of the Bellamy Mansion.

Check out the Airlie Gardens, New Hanover County Arboretum, and Fort Fisher State Historic Site.

Charlotte

 

Charlotte

Charlotte is an exciting city with plenty to do and see.

Check out the Mint Museum, Carolinas Aviation Museum, and Levine Museum of the New South.

For an active vacation, head to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, Discovery Place, or the Carowinds amusement park.

Charlotte also has excellent sites to experience nature, like Freedom Park, the McDowell Nature Center and Preserve, Wing Haven Garden and Bird Sanctuary, and Lake Norman.

Durham

Durham

The top thing to do in Durham is see Duke's impressive campus and catch a basketball game if it's the right season. Otherwise, here are some things to do:

Catch a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center or the historic Carolina Theatre

See nature and walk on the trails at the 3,900-acre Eno River State Park.

Hit the links at Duke University Golf Club or The Crossings Golf Club

Raleigh

Raleigh

These are the top sites in Durham's sister-city, Raleigh, which has plenty of cultural attractions:

Visit the North Carolina Museum of History, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Take a hike in Umstead State Park and a stroll through the historic Victorian district of Oakwood.

Catch a performance at the North Carolina Symphony, the Burning Coal Theater, or the Carolina Ballet

Greensboro

Greensboro

Though it's the third largest city in North Carolina, Greensboro is a sleepy, laid-back place near Winston-Salem.

Check out the International Civil Rights Museum, the Greensboro Historical Museum, and the Greensboro Science Center

Take a quiet walk in the Bog Garden or the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, and see enjoy the sculptures in the Arboretum and Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden.

Enjoy soul food at Dame's Chicken & Waffles or Stephanie's II in Greensboro

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is a college town with a lot of character.

Visit University of North Carolina's campus, catch a Tar Heel basketball or football game, depending on the season.

The Coker Arboretum, the North Carolina Botanical Garden and the Morehead Planetarium.

Visit Franklin Street and grab dinner at Top of the Hill or The Loop Pizza Grill.

The Carolina Basketball Museum is a must! UNC is Michael Jordan's alma mater, after all.

Waynesville

Waynesville

The Smoky Mountain town of Waynesville is great for scenic vistas. Here are the top things to do and see

Take a tour of the Cataloochee Valley and see waterfalls, elk, and pristine mountainous lands.

See a play in the Haywood Arts Repertory Theater

Get a relaxing treatment at Balsam Spa

Go horseback riding on pristine trails at Queen's Farm Stables, Inc

Asheville

Asheville

Asheville is located in an area of the Appalachians known as the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is especially lovely in the fall.

Visit historic Biltmore Estate.

Be inspired in the River Arts District.

Go ziplining at the Asheville Tree Tops Adventure Park.

Check out the North Carolina Arboretum and the Craggy Gardens trails

Hendersonville

Hendersonville

Hendersonville is also in the Blue Ridge Mountains - it's located just a 30-minute drive south of Asheville. Hendersonville is perfect for a quiet, small-town getaway.

Enjoy local wines at Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards and Burntshirt Vineyards.

During the fall, go apple picking at JH Stepp Farm's Hillcrest Orchard or Justus Orchard.

Catch a show at the intimate Flat Rock Playhouse.

Visit Henderson County Heritage Museum and the Mineral & Lapidary Museum.