15 Fun Family Destinations

15 Fun Family Destinations

Discover fun for the whole family on Lake Lure in the North Carolina mountains

When organizing a family vacation or getaway, it can be challenging to appease kids of varying ages, while ensuring mom and dad enjoy themselves as well. Luckily, in North Carolina, you'll find plenty of attractions providing fun for the whole group.

Plan your next excursion with this list of family favorites from across the state.


Beach at Lake Lure
Lake Lure
Gaze up at Chimney Rock as you sunbathe on the beach or float on the lake, then stop for a bite or an ice cream cone at one of the restaurants by the shore.

Linville Caverns
Located near the High Country, North Carolina’s only show caverns allow visitors to glimpse nature at work “inside” the mountains. Slow moving ground water created underground labyrinths forming an incredible series of rooms and passages and spectacular formations.

Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain
Enjoy the cool mountain air as you cross Mile High Swinging Bridge, a 228-foot suspension bridge spanning an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. Eleven trails dot this spot, one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, so you can take on anything from a gentle walk to a rigorous trek.

Sliding Rock
Wear your old blue jean cut-offs to sit and slip down this 60-foot natural water slide in the Pisgah National Forest. The 60-degree pool you land in sure beats summer heat.

Tweetsie Railroad
Blowing Rock
This family theme park features a three-mile, steam-powered train ride, plus shopping, live entertainment, amusement rides and a petting zoo.


Carolina Harbor at Carowinds
Carowinds expanded its water park in 2016, transforming it into Carolina Harbor and becoming the largest water park in the Carolinas. It will entice you to slide through Blackbeard's Revenge, watch your kids frolic in Kiddy Hawk Cove, catch some sun on one of the luxury cabanas and more.

North Carolina Transportation Museum
Explore antique locomotives, rail cars, automobiles and more at a site that was once a national hub for steam engine repair. You can also take the train ride around the historic 57-acre site, enjoy the many family-friendly special events and learn how transportation helped build North Carolina.

North Carolina Zoo
Connect with wildlife from two different continents as you explore 500 acres of exhibits carefully constructed to resemble natural habitats. You can walk, or take a tram, from Africa’s grasslands to North America’s Arctic coast, all in one fun day.

Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Old Salem Museums & Gardens lets you experience early American history in the unique Moravian settlement of Salem. You can witness craftsmen performing historic trades, recreate Moravian crafts, enjoy sweets from Winkler Bakery, visit the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) and enjoy the gardens, an essential part of life in Salem since 1766.

Pinehurst Resort
With eight unique golf courses, Pinehurst says it’s the largest golf resort in America. Non-golfers in the family can relax in the award-winning spa, take a lesson in lawn bowls or croquet, or kayak on the private lake.


Battleship North Carolina
The most decorated U.S. battleship of WWII offers you a chance to explore nine decks, crew’s quarters, gun turrets and much more. Afterward, visit downtown Wilmington for shopping, day or evening riverboat cruises, museums showcasing North Carolina artists and history, or tours of the historic district, nature preserves and movie studios.

Birthplace of Pepsi
New Bern
Pharmacist Caleb Bradham invented Pepsi in his drugstore in New Bern in 1898. Today, you can visit the Pepsi Store and browse through memorabilia while learning more about the history of one of the world’s favorite soft drinks.

Kitty Hawk Kites
Nags Head
Learn to hang glide over soft sand dunes or fly tandem with an instructor. Other activities include kiteboarding lessons, dolphin tours, Lost Colony, and bioluminescence kayak tours, as well as parasailing and stand-up paddleboarding.

North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores
Atlantic Beach
In addition to areas that celebrate mountain waterfalls, central rivers and coastal swamps, you can see three exhibits that replicate famed shipwrecks off the North Carolina coast – the sunken German sub U-352, Blackbeard’s flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, and the Caribsea freighter.

WB Surf Camp
Wrightsville Beach
Learn to surf in the emerald green waters of Wrightsville Beach with private and group surfing lessons and camps. Whether you’re a beginner or have surfed before, the staff of trained educators will take you to the next level.


There’s much to see and do in North Carolina, so read on.

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