“Experience firsts that last,” is what they say in North Carolina. This beautiful coastal southern state is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian Mountains and has so much to offer in between. It doesn’t matter what time of the year you decide to visit, you will find plenty of awesome and amazing things to experience. Whether you visit for a day or a week, there is no shortage of great activities.
9 Things to Do in North Carolina
Carowinds in Charlotte
Charlotte’s Carowinds is a theme park that is packed with lots of action packed fun. It is home to North Carolina’s largest water park. The children’s area is 12 acres packed with interactive play and fun rides. Camp Snoopy is a favorite–the whole Peanuts gang is there! There are live shows and 13 scream your lungs out roller coasters full of twists and turns for the thrill-seeker that’s tall enough to ride. With over 60 rides in the park, there’s something for everybody, including the chance to fill your belly with true blue Carolina fare.
North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro
The North Carolina Zoo is the largest walk through the natural-habitat zoo in the US. There are 5 miles of walkways through the zoo’s 500 acres of recreated habitats. You can journey across continents and countries to see how the animals live in the wild. The zoo showcases the animals in a way that feels more natural and organic. Try the Zoofari through the Watani Grasslands or get eye to eye with a giraffe. The Forest Aviary takes you into a tropical rainforest, where you can see tropical birds, frogs, plants and more. In addition to the animals, there is also an elevated obstacle course that takes you through the treetops for a fun way to test your skills.
See a Waterfall
If you’re a nature lover, biker or hiker, North Carolina has some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. In fact, there are 350 waterfalls in the state. The Brevard and Saluda areas, home to more than 250 of these cascades and falls, have several beautiful falls that you can do more than just look at and snap a couple of shots. You can actually get in the water at Sliding Rock, sliding down the rock into the natural pool below. Take a guided tour to Bradley Falls if you want to rappel down the falls.
Attend a Game
Sports enthusiasts will have a field day going to any of the sporting events North Carolina has to offer. Whether you attend a professional game or a college game, you are sure to be in for a good match. College teams include the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels. Professional teams include the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Hornets, and the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Outer Banks
A beach vacation is a favorite for many, and North Carolina’s Outer Banks does not disappoint. It’s a 130 mile stretch of barrier islands. The OBX has something for every interest. From great eats to quaint little shops to sunbathing on a beach, it’s hard not to want to come back again and again. Come and stay at one of the many Outer Banks oceanfront hotels so that you don’t miss a thing. There are historic lighthouses to explore, H2OBX, a family waterpark in Currituck, hang gliding, great fishing and so much more. Go back in time at Roanoke Island, the first British settlement in the US. You can have your breath taken away on a skydiving adventure. And there’s plenty to do all year round, according to the Outer Banks Visitor Bureau.
Go to a Tasting
If you’re into beer, wine or spirits, you’ll enjoy touring and sampling from the many breweries and vineyards in the state. There is no shortage of breweries and distilleries. North Carolina moonshine is a generations old tradition. And the vineyards here are stunning. Some even have lodging so you never have to leave, like the Banner Elk Winery and Villa and the Inn on Biltmore Estate. Broadslab Distillery claims to be the state’s first farm distillery. The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill is another stop on your tour if you’re into cocktails and spirits. There are over 500 spirits to choose from, Moonshine Mules are just one of the creative elixirs available. And Haw River Farmhouse Ales just might satisfy your thirst with their unconventional approach to conventional brewing.
Charlotte Motor Speedways
When the need for speed hits, you’ve got to scratch that itch. There’s the Spring and Fall NASCAR racing at Charlotte, Concord, and Lexington, short-track racing at the Hickory Motor Speedway and lots more. The Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts race week and the Coca-Cola 600 in the spring. Race week is exciting and full of fun, food, race shops, speed street and, of course, the race. And if you’re into the history of racing, you’ll love going to NASCAR’s only surviving dirt speedway, the Occoneechee Speedway Trail, from its 1949 inaugural season. With more than 10 racetracks to experience, you can catch street stock, U-car, go-kart races and more.
Experience the Horses
Crystal Coast and the Outer Banks are home to wild horses that roam free. These Colonial Spanish Mustangs are thought to be the descendants of horses brought here by explorers in the 1500s. There are guided tours that can get you close to the action. The herd that calls Shackleford Banks home is only accessible by ferry or private boat. And while you’re taking in the horses, you can go shelling. You never know what treasures are beneath the sand.
Take a Barbecue Tour
The North Carolina Barbecue Society (NCBS) offers the Historic Barbecue Trail. Travel across the state to 20 historic BBQ pits that embody the spirit and flavor of North Carolina barbecue that has made the state a contender for the best BBQ in the world. Each of these BBQ joints cook their meat on wood or charcoal fueled pits, make their own sauce and have been in business for 15 or more consecutive years. All 20 have been approved by the state’s thriving barbecue community. It’s sure to be a finger licking journey.
North Carolina has so many entertaining things to do and spectacular things to see. Wherever your interests lie, whether it be outdoors, retail, food, and wine or excellent family fun, there are many options to choose from. Check out North Carolina, the backdrop for many of the country’s firsts, awesome adventures await you.