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.

Mountains

Beach at Lake Lure
Lake Lure
Gaze up at Chimney Rock as you play or lay on the beach. Plus, the Water Works park offers soaking games, water slides and cannons, bumper boats and more. Then stop for a bite or an ice cream cone at one of the restaurants by the shore.

Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain
Linville
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.

Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain

Walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge for incredible views of Grandfather Mountain

Linville Caverns
Marion
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.

Pisgah National Forest
Asheville and Brevard
Comprised of more than 500,000 acres, this forest features whitewater rivers, waterfalls, hundreds of miles of trails and popular campsites. Choose one of the family-friendly campgrounds, such as Lake Powhatan and Davidson River. And venture to the legendary Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural water slide.

Camping in Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest features 11 designated campgrounds with hundreds of campsites

Tweetsie Railroad
Blowing Rock
This family theme park features a three-mile, steam-powered train ride, which plays host to special events throughout the year such as Day Out With Thomas and Ghost Train. There's also live entertainment, amusement rides and a petting zoo.

Piedmont

Carolina Harbor at Carowinds
Charlotte
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.

Carolina Harbor water park at Carowinds

Admission to Carolina Harbor is included with your Carowinds ticket

North Carolina Transportation Museum
Spencer
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
Asheboro
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
Winston-Salem
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.

Old Salem Reenactor

Old Salem Museum & Gardens provides a living history of the 18th century

Pinehurst Resort
Pinehurst
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.

Coast

Battleship North Carolina
Wilmington
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.

Wilmington Battleship North Carolina - flowers

Activities at Battleship North Carolina include behind-the-scenes tours, history programs and reenactments

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.

NC Aquarium Pine Knoll Shores

See thousands of aquatic animals at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores

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.

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