Biltmore Estate

9 Most Popular Attractions In North Carolina

Are you planning a trip to North Carolina? It’s an amazing state with plenty of activities and attractions to explore. From beautiful beaches to captivating museums, there’s something for everyone in the Tar Heel State. We’ve compiled a list of the 9 most popular attractions in North Carolina that you won’t want to miss out on. Whether you’re looking for outdoor thrills or cultural exploration, this guide has something for everyone. So join us as we discover the best places to visit in North Carolina!

North Carolina is home to some of the most diverse landscapes in the US, from stunning mountains and lush forests to bustling cities and rolling coastlines. You’ll find everything from historic sites and lively entertainment venues, to outdoor adventures and unique shopping experiences. No matter where your interests lie, there’s something fun waiting for you in North Carolina!

We’ll get started with our list of 9 must-see attractions in North Carolina. From awe-inspiring waterfalls and dramatically beautiful gardens, to captivating historical sites and thrilling amusement parks – these are just some of the incredible places that await you in the Tar Heel State! So let’s dive right into our list and explore all that this amazing state has to offer!

Biltmore Estate

image of Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is a popular attraction in North Carolina. It’s the largest privately owned home in the United States and was built by George Vanderbilt in 1895. The estate features 250 rooms, including a library, banquet hall and bowling alley. Visitors can explore the gardens and grounds, take a tour of the house and even enjoy wine tastings at the winery on site.

The landscaped gardens are one of the highlights; they were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and feature more than 10,000 different varieties of plants. There are also trails for walking or biking, stables for horseback riding and an outdoor theater for concerts. Additionally, guests can experience outdoor activities like falconry demonstrations, carriage rides and farm programs.

At Biltmore Estate there’s something for everyone to enjoy – from admiring the grand architecture to learning about its history to experiencing outdoor recreation activities. All of these elements come together to make it one of North Carolina’s most popular attractions.

Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a popular attraction in North Carolina. Spanning 469 miles, it’s the longest road of its kind in the U.S., running from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. It offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys below, as well as places to stop and explore along the way.

The parkway features numerous scenic lookouts where visitors can take in the beautiful landscapes and observe wildlife. There are also plenty of recreational activities available such as biking, hiking, fishing, camping and picnicking. Additionally, there are several historic sites located along the route including cabins, churches and cemeteries that provide insight into the area’s past.

The Blue Ridge Parkway has something for everyone: breathtaking views, recreational activities, historical sites and more! It’s no wonder that this scenic highway is one of North Carolina’s most visited attractions.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers spectacular views and plenty of activities for visitors. The park is the most visited in the country, with over 11 million people visiting each year. It’s easy to see why; its rolling hills and towering peaks stretch across North Carolina and Tennessee, covering over half a million acres. With so much to explore, it’s easy to understand why the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is so popular.

Hiking trails make up a large part of what makes the national park so great. There are hundreds of miles of trails for all levels of hikers, from beginner to advanced. From short day hikes to longer overnight treks, you can find something to suit your needs. You can also explore some of the many streams and waterfalls in the area.

In addition to hiking, there are plenty of other activities available in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Camping is allowed on a first-come, first-served basis; you can also take part in ranger-led programs or take a drive along one of its scenic roads. There are also several historic sites throughout the park that provide insight into its past, including an old Appalachian homestead and an abandoned logging town.

No matter what you’re looking for in North Carolina, you’ll find it at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – breathtaking views, abundant wildlife and plenty of things to do! Whether you’re looking for an exhilarating hike or a leisurely walk through history, this national park has something for everyone.

Wright Brothers National Memorial

Wright Brothers National Memorial image

The Wright Brothers National Memorial is one of the most popular attractions in North Carolina. Located in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, the memorial commemorates the history of Orville and Wilbur Wright – two pioneers of aviation. The memorial contains a large granite monument dedicated to their accomplishments, as well as a museum and interpretive center. Visitors can explore the life and achievements of the Wright Brothers through interactive exhibits and artifacts.

The site also includes a replica of the Wright brothers’ 1903 Flyer airplane, which they used to make their historic flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Visitors can see this plane on display in its original location at the memorial. Additionally, visitors can watch videos about their accomplishments or take part in educational programs such as guided tours and living history programs. The site even offers flights on an authentic biplane for those who want to experience what it was like to fly with Orville and Wilbur!

The Wright Brothers National Memorial is a must-see destination for anyone interested in learning more about aviation history or wanting to experience some of the excitement of early flight. With its monuments, museum, replicas, and educational programs, it’s no wonder why this is one of North Carolina’s most popular attractions!

Carolina Beach State Park

Next up on our tour of North Carolina’s most popular attractions is Carolina Beach State Park. Located along the southern coast of the state, this park offers a variety of recreational activities and scenic views. From swimming and fishing to camping and kayaking, visitors will find plenty to do here.

The park’s 761 acres are full of lush vegetation and wildlife, making it one of the most picturesque places in the area. The beach offers plenty of sand for sunbathing or playing in the surf. It’s also home to an abundance of marine life, including various species of fish, crabs, sea turtles, oysters, and more. Visitors can also explore the salt marshes that are located near the park entrance.

The park is open year-round so visitors can take advantage of all that it has to offer during any season. There are also a variety of educational programs available for family members of all ages from May through October. With so much to see and do at Carolina Beach State Park, it’s no wonder why it remains one of North Carolina’s top attractions for locals and visitors alike.

North Carolina Aquariums

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

North Carolina is home to several amazing aquariums, each of which provide visitors with a unique opportunity to explore the marine life and ecosystems of the area. The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, located near Atlantic Beach, is the state’s largest aquarium and features a variety of exhibits such as sharks, sea turtles, sea otters, jellyfish, and more. Visitors can also view live feedings and take part in interactive activities like behind-the-scenes tours.

The NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island offers an entirely different experience than its counterpart on Pine Knoll Shores. This aquarium focuses more on education and conservation, offering educational programs for all ages that focus on marine life conservation and preservation. It also has a variety of interactive exhibits featuring sharks, stingrays, coral reefs, jellyfish, sea horses and much more.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is another popular destination for visitors seeking to learn more about the ocean’s inhabitants. This facility features an impressive range of saltwater species like seahorses, manta rays and other fish native to the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can also observe live feedings of these animals or take part in hands-on activities such as touch tanks and scavenger hunts.

Additionally, this aquarium offers a wide range of educational programs designed to encourage appreciation for our underwater friends by exploring their habitats from both above and below the surface. With so much to offer visitors from all walks of life, it’s no wonder why these North Carolina aquariums are among the most visited attractions in the state!

Historic Corolla Village

Moving on from the North Carolina Aquariums, another popular attraction in the state is Historic Corolla Village. Located on the northern Outer Banks, it is a living museum of sorts with original buildings from the 1800s and early 1900s. Visitors can explore a variety of historic structures such as a one-room schoolhouse and church, as well as a post office and general store. They can also learn about the history of how these structures were used in times past.

The grounds are full of various vintage artifacts that guests can explore and admire. There are also several interactive exhibits such as an authentic boat shop where visitors can learn about traditional boatbuilding techniques. Additionally, there are many opportunities to observe local wildlife including birds, foxes and rabbits which all inhabit the area.

Historic Corolla Village offers fun for all ages with educational programs for children and adults alike. Guests may even take part in hands-on activities such as basket weaving or quilting classes. There is plenty to do and explore at this unique spot located in North Carolina’s Outer Banks region.

Chimney Rock State Park

North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher

Chimney Rock State Park is a popular tourist attraction in North Carolina, offering stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Lure. The park has been a favorite destination for visitors since the early 1900s, and it continues to attract new visitors every year. Visitors can explore the park by hiking its trails or taking in the breathtaking views from the Chimney Rock observation deck. There are also several activities available, including rock climbing, bird watching, kayaking, and fishing.

The park also offers a variety of educational programs such as guided tours of the historic site and its natural environment. There are even special events held at Chimney Rock State Park throughout the year. During these events, visitors can enjoy live music, art exhibitions, nature presentations, and other activities that showcase local culture and history.

In addition to all its natural beauty, Chimney Rock State Park is home to some unique shops and restaurants where visitors can find souvenirs or grab a bite to eat after their outdoor adventures. Whether you’re looking for an adventure or just want to take in some of North Carolina’s beautiful scenery, Chimney Rock State Park is sure to please.

Outer Banks

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. With its miles of beautiful beaches, there is something to do for everyone. From the wild horses of Corolla, to the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras, visitors have plenty of opportunities to explore and experience this coastal paradise.

One of the most well-known attractions in the Outer Banks is the Wright Brothers National Memorial. This national park is dedicated to Orville and Wilbur Wright, who made history by completing the first powered flight in 1903 at Kitty Hawk, NC. The memorial includes a visitor center with interactive exhibits about their historic flight and an outdoor monument with replicas of their planes.

Dare County also offers several recreational activities such as fishing, kayaking, sailing and surfing. Anglers can fish from piers or book a fishing charter for deep sea fishing or bay fishing adventures on Pamlico Sound. Kayakers can explore Bodie Island Lighthouse while surfers can catch waves at local hotspots like Avon Pier or Rodanthe Pier.

For shopping and dining, visitors flock to Duck Village Outlet Mall, where they can find great deals on clothing and souvenirs. Afterwards they can enjoy a meal at one of the many delicious seafood restaurants located along the waterfront. From high end establishments to casual beachside eateries, there is something for everyone’s tastes in Outer Banks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit North Carolina?

Visiting North Carolina can be a great experience, no matter the season. The state has something to offer all year round, and is especially popular during the summer and fall months. Deciding what time of year to visit North Carolina depends on what kind of activities you’re looking for.

In the summer months, you can enjoy outdoor activities like hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains or swimming in one of the many lakes. With mild temperatures and long days, summer weather makes it easy to explore North Carolina’s natural beauty. The beach towns along the coast also become very popular in these months as people look for relief from the hot summer heat.

As we move into fall, there are still plenty of things to do outside. Unfortunately, due to cooler temperatures and shorter days, it’s best to plan your trip accordingly so that you can take advantage of all that North Carolina has to offer. There are plenty of festivals taking place throughout the state during this time which provide unique opportunities for entertainment and exploration. Additionally, fall foliage offers stunning views in many parts of the state which make for some amazing photographs!

No matter what time of year you decide to visit North Carolina, you’ll find something that appeals to everyone. Whether it’s enjoying outdoor activities during the summer or taking part in festivals during fall, there will be plenty of attractions available no matter when you decide to go. It’s important that you research ahead of time so that your trip goes off without a hitch!

Are There Any Festivals Or Events In North Carolina That I Should Plan My Trip Around?

Are there any festivals or events in North Carolina that I should plan my trip around? Planning a trip to North Carolina can be an exciting prospect, but it is important to make sure you are taking advantage of all the state has to offer. Knowing what special events and festivals are happening during your stay can help you decide when and where to go so that you get the most out of your visit.

North Carolina boasts a full calendar of festivals and events throughout the year. Whether you’re looking for food, music, art, or outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone. The North Carolina State Fair is held in Raleigh every October and is one of the largest events in the state. It offers carnival rides, agricultural exhibits, live music performances, and more. For those interested in local cuisine, the Eastern Carolina BBQ Festival in Greenville is a must-visit. This annual event celebrates the region’s love for barbecue with cooking competitions, live music, craft beer tasting, and more!

The summer months are home to some of North Carolina’s most popular festivals like the Eastern Music Festival in Greensboro and Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival in Pittsboro. The EMF features classical music concerts from some of today’s most renowned performers while Shakori Hills hosts folk music acts from across the globe as well as workshops on local crafts such as pottery and weaving. Outdoor adventurers will find plenty to do at events like Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk which features mountain biking competitions as well as races featuring hundreds of woolly worms competing against each other!

No matter when you plan your visit to North Carolina, chances are there’s an event or festival right around the corner that will make your trip even more memorable! With so many options available all year long, it’s easy to find something that suits your interests – so don’t miss out on these unique experiences while visiting this beautiful state!

What Other Activities Are Available In North Carolina Besides The Attractions Listed In The Article?

North Carolina offers a variety of activities that go beyond the popular attractions listed in the article. From festivals and events to outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a unique experience or just want to explore the area, North Carolina has plenty of options to choose from.

If you’re looking for something special, why not check out one of North Carolina’s many festivals or events? From music and art festivals to film screenings and farmers markets, there’s always something interesting happening in this state. You can even plan your trip around one of these events if you wish!

For those who prefer outdoor activities, North Carolina has plenty to offer too. With its vast mountains and picturesque beaches, it’s a great place for hiking, camping, biking, kayaking – the list goes on! If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try camping under the stars? You can also explore some of the state’s many parks and preserves – perfect for wildlife-watching or a leisurely stroll.

No matter what kind of traveler you are, there are plenty of things to do in North Carolina that will make your trip memorable. With so much to see and do in this state, it’s easy to create an unforgettable vacation that suits your interests!

Are There Any Special Discounts Or Packages Available For Visiting Multiple Attractions?

When it comes to visiting multiple attractions, there are often discounts or packages available that can save you money. If you’re planning a trip to North Carolina, it pays to do your research and see what kind of deals might be out there. Whether you’re looking for a single-day ticket to an amusement park or a multi-day package for multiple attractions, there’s likely something that fits your budget and itinerary.

When exploring the possibility of special discounts and packages, first decide which attractions you’d like to visit. It’s helpful to have an idea of what type of activities interest you so that you can narrow down your choices. Once you’ve identified which attractions are must-sees, start researching potential deals. Sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Travelocity offer great discounts that could help you save on admission costs.

Another way to get discounted tickets is by checking the websites of the attractions themselves. Many times they’ll have special offers or promotions running that will allow visitors to purchase multi-attraction passes at a reduced rate. And if you’re staying in North Carolina for more than one day, be sure to look into lodging packages as well — many hotels partner with local attractions so that guests can take advantage of even more savings!

No matter what type of vacation experience you’re looking for in North Carolina, there are plenty of options when it comes to finding discounts and packages for multiple attractions. Researching ahead of time can help ensure that your trip is both affordable and enjoyable!

Are There Any Lodging Options Close To The Attractions Mentioned In The Article?

When looking for lodging options close to attractions, it can be difficult to find the perfect spot. There are a variety of hotels, inns and resorts available throughout North Carolina that offer a wide range of amenities and prices. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious stay or something more budget-friendly, there’s an accommodation that’s sure to fit your needs.

Finding the right lodging option for your needs can be time consuming and sometimes overwhelming. The key is to make sure that it is within close proximity to the attractions you plan on visiting. If you’re looking for convenience, then it might be best to look into hotels located near popular tourist destinations such as downtown Asheville or Raleigh. There are also plenty of other smaller towns across the state with a variety of accommodation options ranging from quaint bed & breakfasts to large resorts.

Doing some research ahead of time can help ensure that you get the best value for your money when booking your stay in North Carolina. Checking out reviews online, comparing prices between different hotels and even considering special packages or discounts can all help make your vacation more affordable and enjoyable. It’s also important to consider any additional amenities offered by the hotel such as free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast or on-site restaurants so that you have everything you need during your stay. With a little bit of planning and research, you’ll be able to find the perfect place to rest after a long day exploring all that North Carolina has to offer.


In conclusion, North Carolina is a great destination for anyone looking for an exciting vacation. It’s a great place to visit any time of the year, but especially in the summer when there are many festivals and events to attend. Besides the nine attractions listed in this article, there are plenty of other activities to do, including outdoor sports, shopping, and sightseeing. Plus, many of these attractions offer discounts and packages that make it even more affordable to visit multiple sites. And with so many lodging options close by, you don’t have to worry about getting around or finding somewhere comfortable to stay during your visit. So if you’re looking for a fun getaway that won’t break the bank, North Carolina should definitely be on your list!