Holidays In NC
North Carolina's Cures For Cabin Fever
We feel your pain. Winter is here and you’ve got loved ones visiting, but there are only so many games of UNO you can play. Your company is looking for something to do, and you’re looking to get out of the house… if just for a few hours.
Well, look no further. North Carolina has the perfect prescription to cure your cabin fever, whether your guests are children or adults, outdoor enthusiasts or indoor aficionados, sports fans or art lovers. Check out these sure-fire ways to keep everyone happy and occupied during their NC visit.
1) Pirates, Paratroopers, and Preachers (Oh, My!)
Mention museums to some people (especially kids) and you’re likely to draw blank stares and rolled eyes. But in North Carolina, our museums are a long way from the musty halls of museums past. We’ve got interactive exhibits that focus on pirates (NC Maritime Museum, Beaufort), Army Paratroopers (Airborne & Special Operations Museum, Fayetteville), and America’s Preacher (Billy Graham Library, Charlotte). There are also entire attractions dedicated to the history of NASCAR (Charlotte), Ava Gardner (Smithfield), and the University of North Carolina’s legendary basketball program (Chapel Hill).
North Carolina is also home to three aquariums along the coast, the NC Zoo in Asheboro, art museums in the major cities, and kids’ science museums from Asheville to Wilmington. You’ll have a lot of fun, and you’ll probably learn something in the process.
2) Wine A Little, You’ll Feel Better
It used to be one of NC’s best kept secrets, but now the word is out: North Carolina has a thriving viticulture industry that’s growing by leaps and bounds and producing nationally-recognized wines from merlot to muscadine. Many of NC’s vineyards are clustered in the Yadkin Valley just west of Winston-Salem, but there are vineyards all across the state, from Calaboose Cellars in the far western mountains, to Duplin, the South’s largest winery, in Rose Hill. Check out VisitNCWine to find a vineyard near you, or download one of our wine trails. Be sure to call ahead. Some of our wineries are family-run, and like you, they may be taking a little time off over the holidays.
3) Take a Hike
Sure, the leaves are gone, the days are shorter, and the air is cooler, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some beautiful places to go on a day hike near you. Take one of the many short trails off the Blue Ridge Parkway to see a classic view of deep blue mountains as far as the eye can see. Wander around a peaceful piedmont lake, or watch the sunrise over the surf on an NC beach. Just be sure to take a jacket!
4) Root, Root, Root For The Home Teams
NC is loaded with some great indoor sports action to entertain you on a winter’s night. NHL and NBA fans can get their fixes with the Carolina Hurricanes (in Raleigh) and the Charlotte Bobcats, and both Charlotte and Fayetteville have minor league hockey teams that put heart-stopping action on the ice for a bargain basement price.
You may also have heard about this college basketball thing we have going on in NC. We’re a little crazy about it here, and if you want to see why, there are plenty of opportunities to catch some college hoops in person, from the big names such as the ACC’s Duke Blue Devils and Carolina Tar Heels, to smaller schools like the Catamounts of Western Carolina (in Cullowhee) and the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks.
5) No Business Like Snow Business
The onset of winter brings fresh new snow to our mountains, and that allows many people in NC to break out their skis and snowboards and head for the hills. North Carolina is home to the best winter sports action in the south, and even those who haven’t quite mastered those sports will have a blast snow tubing and sledding. And now, you don’t even have to leave the city to have some winter fun… as both Charlotte and Raleigh have outdoor ice skating rinks during the colder months!
6) Play A Round, Year-Round
Perhaps you’re more fond of putting greens and cart paths than you are of ski slopes and snow angels. No problem. North Carolina has hundreds of golf courses that stay open year round, allowing you to keep your game in full swing while Northerners are forced to wait until Spring. Check out Golf.VisitNC.com to find a course near you.
7) Making Music
Whether you’re partial to pop, rock, country, blues, or hip-hop, North Carolina has a vast and diverse music scene that goes on display virtually every night all over the state. Try one of Charlotte’s great music clubs, or maybe a legendary music venue like Asheville’s Orange Peel or Carrboro’s Cat’s Cradle. Local mountain music and dancing can be found on most Tuesday and Saturday nights at the Alleghany Jubilee in Sparta.
8) Let Someone Else Show You Around
If you’ve been playing “tour guide” all week, maybe it’s time to be the “tourist” instead. Most of NC’s major attractions and historic sites have live tour guides or audio tours to help show you around and explain the historic or cultural significance of what you’re seeing (just search the term “tours” or “historic tours” above). North Carolina also has several thematic tours available, including a walking tour of Wilmington’s film and television locations, a culinary tour of Raleigh’s hot restaurants, or a tasting tour of Asheville’s vibrant microbew scene. We’re walking, we’re walking…
9) “Disc”over A New Sport
Looking for an outdoorsy, low-cost, fun activity the whole family can participate in that’s right down the road? Why not try some disc golf? North Carolina is a hotbed for the rapidly-growing sport, and there are community parks from Albemarle to Zebulon that have free courses set up for the public to play on. The game is easy to learn and popular with folks of all ages, so get those family members off the couch and enjoy a couple hours of good, clean, disc golf fun.
added: December 14, 2009
updated: November 29, 2010