Popular North Carolina Attractions
From the Mountains to the Piedmont to the Coast, there are variety of fun and historic attractions to explore.
Battleship North Carolina
Located in Wilmington, The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is preserved in all her glory just as she was in World War II. As you walk the decks of the NORTH CAROLINA, imagine yourself at sea in 1942 searching the sky for enemy aircraft, anticipating what may happen next. Discover how this heroic Ship and brave crew fought in every major naval offensive in the Pacific of WWII.
America's largest privately owned home, the Biltmore House is nestled among 8,000 acres in the mountains near Asheville. George Vanderbilt, son of industrialist and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt, saw his 250-room French-Renaissance chateau completed in 1895. This National Historic Landmark is among the country's most visited historic residences with shops, a four-star hotel, lush gardens, serene walking trails and an award-winning winery.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway, nicknamed "America's Favorite Drive," is a 469-mile scenic route connecting the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks. North Carolina is home to 252 miles of Parkway, which meander through two national forests and offer campgrounds, picnic areas, lodges, restaurants and countless scenic overlooks.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Lighthouse
This popular National Seashore preserves and protects 75 miles of North Carolina's Outer Banks and includes the area of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse as well as visitor centers at Buxton, Bodie Island and Ocracoke Island. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in North America. In 1999, the lighthouse was relocated 2,900 feet away from the ocean to protect the landmark from beach erosion. It now stands 1,600 feet from the shore, as it did at the time it was built.
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Located in Concord, Charlotte Motor Speedway is a mecca of motorsports. In addition to hosting two NASCAR Sprint Cup races and two NASCAR Nationwide Series races each year, this venue also holds NASCAR's All-Star Race in addition to a variety of auto-related events. The Sprint Cup Gift Shop offers guided tours of the speedway including a high-speed lap around the 1.5-mile banked oval.
Cherokee Indian Reservation
Homeland of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, the Cherokee Indian reservation welcomes thousands of visitors each year. Popular attractions include Harrah's Cherokee Casino, Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Oconaluftee Indian Village, the outdoor drama Unto These Hills, Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutuals, shopping and more.
Grandfather Mountain, one of the best-known landmarks of the Blue Ridge, is more than just a mountain. Towering 5,946 feet above northwest North Carolina, Grandfather Mountain is operated as a scenic travel attraction and is the only private park in the world designated by the United Nations as an International Biosphere Reserve. A Mile High Swinging Bridge was built to give visitors easy access to the breath-taking views from Grandfather Mountain's Linville Peak.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest protected land area east of the Rocky Mountains and the most visited national park in the United States. Although it straddles two states, the majority of the park lies within North Carolina: 276,000 acres of forest and trails welcome hikers, bikers and equestrians. Rivers, streams and lakes offer some of the best canoeing, kayaking and whitewater rafting in the country.
Museum of Life and Science
Located in Durham, the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science is a 78-acre, 50,000-square-foot interactive science-technology center that mixes science and fun. Interactive exhibits explore topics such as weather, aerospace and geology. Visitors can embark on a train ride through a nature park and wander through a 5000-square-foot glass conservatory filled with over 1,000 free-range tropical butterflies. Explore the Wild features black bears, red wolves and lemurs.
North Carolina Zoo
The largest and finest walk-through natural-habitat zoos, the North Carolina Zoo features more than 1,100 animals from 250 species as well as thousands of rare plants spread across 500 acres in Asheboro in central North Carolina. The zoo has shops and picnic areas plus it offers family events year-round.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
The site of man's first powered flight by Wilbur and Orville Wright in 1903, the Wright Brothers National Memorial is located in Kill Devil Hills on North Carolina's Outer Banks. The memorial boasts a 60-foot-high granite pylon atop a 90-foot hill to commemorate the visionary brothers as well as a museum, a reconstructed hangar and daily presentations on the Wright brothers' historic first flight.
added: January 12, 2009
updated: January 18, 2013