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30 Best Places to Visit North Carolina in 2023

North Carolina

Let’s face it; North Carolina probably isn’t your first choice when you are debating about where to spend your next holiday.

Hopefully, by the time you’ve reached the end of this post, you realize how much this state has to offer travelers. I visited North Carolina since I was a child, and even today the state is packed full of surprises.

Best Time to Visit North Carolina

If you are planning on visiting North Carolina, certain times of the year are better than others. Here are some tips on when to visit North Carolina:

January/February

Winter is a great time to visit North Carolina because it is not as busy as other times of the year. This time of year may be cold and snowy but there are plenty of activities to keep visitors busy all day long.

You can go skiing or snowboarding at one of the many resorts in the area, or take advantage of the fact that many shops and restaurants will be closed for the holiday season during this period.

March/April

Springtime offers some beautiful weather conditions but it can still get quite hot during this period. It is best to plan your trip during this period if you want to avoid crowds and high prices associated with summer travel plans.

You can also enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and biking without having to worry about extreme heat conditions or bugs getting in your way!

Here are some reasons you should visit North Carolina in 2023

North Carolina is a beautiful state with plenty of attractions to explore. From the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains to the picturesque Outer Banks, there is something for everyone in North Carolina. In 2023, North Carolina will be celebrating its 400th anniversary and there are many exciting events planned throughout the year. Here are some reasons why you should visit North Carolina in 2023:

1. The 400th Anniversary of the Founding of North Carolina: This year marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of North Carolina and there will be plenty of events to commemorate this milestone. From festivals and parades to historical reenactments, you can experience a unique look into the history of North Carolina.

2. Outdoor Adventures: With its stunning mountain ranges, lush forests, and miles of coastline, North Carolina is a great destination for outdoor adventurers. From hiking and camping to kayaking and fishing, there are plenty of ways to explore the natural beauty of North Carolina.

3. Unique Attractions: From the world-famous Biltmore Estate in Asheville to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina has some truly unique attractions that you won’t find anywhere else.

Best Places to Visit in North Carolina

The Outer Banks

Ah yes, these well-known beaches are the crowning jewel of North Carolina. Not only are the Outer Banks beautiful but they also pack an importance piece of history that has affected every traveler should do reading this post.

At Kitty Hawk is where the Wright Brothers, two boys from Ohio, had their first successful flight. As travelers we all love flying, well, a trip to the Outer Banks lets you visit its birthplace.

Outer Banks has perfect weather and offers a fantastic beach Vacation in North Carolina. Still not sold?

Here are some other fun reasons to visit the Outer Banks.

  • Bodie Island Lighthouse
  • 4×4 Off-Roading Adventures
  • Tours to see Wild Horses
  • Kayaking, Hiking, Biking, and more.
  • Stunning Piers and Boardwalks

North Carolina is perfect for Road Trips

Let’s get something straight. And Glamping in Asheville North Carolina is stunning. The state has beautiful mountains, rolling hills, and sandy beaches. The landscape makes NC an insanely fun state to road trip around, and it has some of the most scenic drives in America. When traveling around America I always tell people to road trip, and North Carolina is the perfect place to do it.

The Camping and Hiking

North Carolina is the home of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak in the eastern part of North America. It is a state filled with untouched forests and raw nature. Making it perfect for hiking and camping in some of the most incredible spots in the Appalachian Mountain Range, which is just as good as camping in Big Sur.

The Beer Scene

For us beer drinkers North Carolina is a haven. The state has a massive craft beer scene. Raleigh has been hailed as one of the top 5 cities in the country for craft beer. You can explore many of these breweries on city bike tours. (Kind of like that time I biked to wineries in Santa Rosa)

Asheville, which we will talk more about in a minute, is nicknamed “Beer City”, which is similar to some of the best nicknames for Chicago. . There are over 11 microbreweries throughout the city. Asheville has also been drawing big craft breweries like Sierra Nevada, and people say that Asheville has the best beer in the world. If you are a beer lover, then North Carolina is your mecca.

Who wants to plan a road trip as soon as possible? (It has sites almost as good as the attractions of Route 66)

Raleigh

Raleigh, the capital city of North Carolina, is a great place to visit for anyone looking for an exciting and diverse city experience. In the state’s heart, Raleigh is home to a vibrant culture, delicious food, and plenty of attractions.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is one of the top attractions in Raleigh. This museum features interactive exhibits on natural history, science, and technology. Visitors can explore the museum’s many galleries, which include a butterfly house, a fossil lab, and an aquarium.

Raleigh is also home to some of the best restaurants in the state. From classic southern cuisine to modern fusion dishes, there is something for everyone in Raleigh. The city also has a thriving nightlife scene with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from.

Sliding Rock

Sliding Rock is a natural rock formation in Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, North Carolina. It is a 60-foot long smooth, sloping rock that descends into a 7-foot deep pool of icy mountain water. This popular attraction has been around since the early 1900s and is one of the most popular places to visit in North Carolina.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of the most iconic landmarks in North Carolina. On the Outer Banks, this historic lighthouse has been guiding ships since 1870. Standing 208 feet tall, it is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States and is a popular tourist destination.

Nags Head

Nags Head is a popular beach town on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We know it for its beautiful beaches, fishing, and outdoor activities. The town has been a popular vacation destination since the late 19th century, when it was first developed as a resort area.

The major attraction in Nags Head is its miles of sandy beaches. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and fishing. The town also has several parks and nature preserves, including Jockey’s Ridge State Park, which is home to the tallest dune on the East Coast.

Nags Head is also known for its unique shopping and dining experiences. There are many restaurants, boutiques, galleries, and souvenir shops throughout the town. 

Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is a stunning natural attraction in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the state, and for good reason. Grandfather Mountain offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, as well as a variety of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, fishing, and rock climbing. The mountain also features an array of wildlife, including black bears.

Maggie Valley

Maggie Valley is a small mountain town in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. It is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering plenty of activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and skiing. The area also has several attractions, including the Wheels Through Time Museum, Cataloochee Ski Area, and Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park.

Pullen Park

Pullen Park is a public park in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is the oldest operating amusement park in the state and one of the oldest in the country. They established the park in 1887 and features a variety of attractions, including a carousel, miniature train, kiddie boats, pedal boats, playgrounds, picnic areas, and an outdoor theater. 

Mountain State Park

Mountain State Park is a beautiful and popular destination in North Carolina. In the Blue Ridge Mountains, this park offers visitors a chance to explore the stunning natural beauty of the area. From hiking trails that wind through lush forests to breathtaking views from atop the peaks, Mountain State Park has something for everyone.

Roanoke Island

Roanoke Island is a small island located off the coast of North Carolina. It is part of the Outer Banks and is known for its rich history and beautiful scenery. Roanoke Island was the site of the first English settlement in America, and it has been an important part of American history ever since.

Today, Roanoke Island is a popular tourist destination. 

Cape Hatteras

Cape Hatteras is a popular tourist destination in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We know it for its beautiful beaches, lighthouses, and wildlife. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore stretches from Bodie Island to Ocracoke Island and is home to some of the most stunning scenery on the East Coast.

Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest is a beautiful destination in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. It is one of four national forests in the state and covers an area of over 500,000 acres. The forest offers a wide variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, miles of trails, camping, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more.

The Pisgah National Forest is home to miles of hiking trails. And one of the best places to visit in North Carolina. 

Linville Gorge

Linville Gorge is a spectacular natural wonder in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It is one of the deepest gorges in the eastern United States, with its walls reaching up to 2,000 feet in some places. The gorge was formed by the Linville River, which winds through it for 12 miles.

Hanging Rock State Park

Hanging Rock State Park is a beautiful outdoor destination in the Sauratown Mountains of North Carolina. The park offers visitors a variety of activities, from hiking and camping to swimming and fishing.

The centerpiece of the park is Hanging Rock itself, a large granite outcropping that towers over the surrounding landscape. From its summit, visitors can take in stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Whirligig Park

Whirligig Park in Wilson, North Carolina is a unique and fun destination for visitors of all ages. In the heart of downtown, this park features an array of whimsical sculptures created by local artist Vollis Simpson. They made the sculptures from recycled materials such as old farm equipment, car parts, and other found objects. Visitors can explore the park and take in creative works.

Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a popular vacation destination on the Atlantic coast of South Carolina. We know it for its beautiful beaches, exciting attractions, and vibrant nightlife. With over 60 miles of coastline, Myrtle Beach offers something for everyone. From family-friendly activities like miniature golf and amusement parks to thrilling water sports like parasailing and jet skiing, there’s no shortage of things to do.

Mount Airy

Mount Airy, North Carolina, is a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. We know it for its quaint downtown area and its connection to the popular television show The Andy Griffith Show.

They fill the downtown area of Mount Airy with unique shops, restaurants, and attractions that make it a great place to visit. One of the most popular attractions is the Mayberry Trading Post, which is a replica of the store from The Andy Griffith Show. Visitors can purchase souvenirs and memorabilia related to the show, as well as enjoy a variety of activities such as mini golf and go-karts.

The town also offers plenty of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. Hiking trails wind through the nearby mountains, offering stunning views of the countryside.

Ocracoke Island

Ocracoke Island is a small island located off the coast of North Carolina, and it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the state. With its pristine beaches, lush forests, and quaint villages, Ocracoke Island offers visitors a unique experience that can’t be found anywhere else.

The island is home to some of the best beaches in North Carolina.

Dupont State Recreational Forest

Dupont State Recreational Forest is a 10,000-acre forest in Henderson and Transylvania counties in North Carolina. It is one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in the state, offering visitors a variety of activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, fishing, and camping. The forest is home to several waterfalls, including Triple Falls, High Falls, and much more.

Jennette’s Pier

Jennette’s Pier is a popular tourist destination in Nags Head, North Carolina. It is a 1,000-foot-long fishing pier that offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Outer Banks. The pier was built in 1939 and has been a favorite spot for fishers, sightseers, and beachgoers ever since.

At Jennette’s Pier, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including fishing, crabbing, kayaking, and surfing. The pier also has a bait and tackle shop where you can purchase all the supplies for your fishing adventure. There is also a snack bar and gift shop onsite.

The pier is open year-round and offers educational programs such as beach ecology classes, surf camps, and more. 

Fontana Lake

Fontana Lake is an incredible destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. In the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, Fontana Lake offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. From fishing and boating to hiking and camping, there is something for everyone at this beautiful lake.

Lush forests and stunning mountain views, surrounded the lake making it a brilliant spot for people visiting North Carolina.

Elizabeth City

Elizabeth City, North Carolina, is a charming coastal town on the Pasquotank River. It’s known for its historic downtown area, which features a variety of shops and restaurants. The city also has several parks and outdoor attractions, including the Elizabeth City Waterfront Park and the Museum of the Albemarle.

The waterfront park is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening strolling along the river and admiring the views. And the park also has a playground, picnic areas, and a boat launch. And the Museum of the Albemarle is in downtown Elizabeth City and offers visitors an opportunity to learn about the history of the area.

Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls is a stunning waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina. It is one of the most popular waterfalls in the state, and it’s easy to see why. The falls cascade down a rocky cliff face for over 100 feet, creating a beautiful sight that draws visitors from all over.

Relax in Asheville or Watch for Celebrities

Asheville is popular among the rich and famous. Some people travel to Asheville just to go on celebrity spotting. Someone has often spotted famous names like Dave Chappelle and Colin Farrell in Asheville. The surrounding area has also been in a lot of movies including the Last of the Mohicans, Dirty Dancing, and the Hunger Games.

However, there is much more to the city than that. From the stage to the street graffiti, we know Asheville for its incredible art. They fill the city with spas and offers a relaxing atmosphere. However, a huge perk of Asheville is it is budget friendly so that visiting won’t break the bank.

Escape the Weather in Charlotte

The charm of this major city in North Carolina is that there is a lot of to outdoors. Charlotte has a scenic uptown ( what they call the downtown). The tree-lined streets are filled with cozy restaurants, shops, and parks. A cool thing about Charlotte is that it experiences every season, but not overwhelmingly. Summer is mild compared to many other places in the USA, and it hardly ever snows. It is a good option for those escaping the heat or snow.

Umstead State Park

Umstead State Park is a 5,579-acre park in the heart of North Carolina. It is between Raleigh and Durham and offers visitors a chance to explore nature and enjoy outdoor activities. The park features miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, as well as fishing and canoeing on the lake. There are also picnic areas, playgrounds, camping sites. Like some of the best camping in the Florida Keys,

The Food

Beer is not the only thing NC has going for it. The city has a world-class food scene, including some of the best barbecues you will ever eat in your life. I know almost every article with the title “Reasons to Visit _” talks about food. However, North Carolina is different.

They have had a food revolution with pop-up restaurant bistros offering new styles and flavors of cuisine. The food in North Carolina has become so popular that I have written it about in the New York Times, and the state is one of the top places to indulge in food in the country.

Best Places to Visit in North Carolina

North Carolina is rich with a variety of attractions, from the mountains to the coast. The state is home to several popular destinations that draw visitors from all over the world. When planning your visit to North Carolina, keep in mind that this state is often referred to as “The Old North State,” and it offers plenty of history and heritage.

Asheville

We know Asheville as one of America’s top destinations for art, music, and culture; however, it also offers many other things to do, like hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains or exploring Biltmore Estate. Asheville is a great place for families because there are lots of things for kids to do, such as visiting the Discovery Place Nature Center or taking a ride on The Great Smoky Mountains Express Train at Biltmore Village Shops.

The Outer Banks

If you love nature and outdoor activities, then Outer Banks is the place for you. Like Beaches in Seattle we know the Outer Banks for its beaches, but there are plenty of other things to do as well. You can go fishing or crabbing on one of the many boats available for rent or charter.

There are also several lighthouses along this stretch of land that were built in colonial times. If you want something a little more exciting than fishing, try parasailing! Parasailing is fun for all ages and offers spectacular views of the ocean below.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

If you’re looking for something a little more upscale and relaxing than parasailing, then head over to Asheville, NC where you’ll find The Blue Ridge Parkway.

This 400-mile road winds its way through some of North Carolina’s most beautiful mountain ranges and offers breathtaking views at every turn!

Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock State Park is a stunning natural landmark in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The park is home to the iconic Chimney Rock, a 315-foot granite monolith that towers above Hickory Nut Gorge. Visitors can take an elevator to the top of the rock for breathtaking views of Lake Lure and the surrounding mountains.

Lake Lure

Lake Lure is a beautiful lake in the foothills of North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Mountains and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape surrounded it. The lake itself is over 700 acres in size and has a maximum depth of 80 feet. Visitors to Lake Lure can enjoy swimming, fishing, boating, kayaking, and other water activities. There are also plenty of hiking areas and great panoramic views. And this is one of the best tourist attractions in the state.

Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock is a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. We know it for its stunning views, outdoor activities, and unique attractions. They named the town after an unusual rock formation that sits atop a cliff overlooking the John River Gorge. Legend has it that the wind blowing through the gorge causes objects to be blown back up onto the rock.

The major attraction of the Blowing Rock is the Blowing Rock itself. Visitors can take a short hike to the top of the cliff and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The town also offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, camping, and horseback riding. Several nearby state parks offer even more opportunities for exploration.

Besides its natural attractions, Blowing Rock has a vibrant downtown area with unique shops, restaurants, and galleries. The town also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, including the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum’s annual Fall Festival.

For those looking for a more urban experience, Charlotte is just an hour away. This bustling city offers plenty of attractions, from museums and art galleries to professional sports teams and lives music venues. 

Beech Mountain

Beech Mountain is a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It is known for its stunning views, outdoor activities, and quaint atmosphere.

The town sits at an elevation of 5,506 feet, making it the highest incorporated town east of the Mississippi River. This makes it a great destination for those looking to escape the summer heat and enjoy some cooler temperatures. 

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Cape Lookout National Seashore is a stunning natural area on the southern Outer Banks of North Carolina. This seashore stretches from Ocracoke Inlet to Beaufort Inlet and includes three undeveloped barrier islands: North Core Banks, South Core Banks, and Shackleford Banks. Visitors can explore miles of pristine beaches, dunes, and maritime forests.

The area is home to a variety of wildlife, including sea turtles, shorebirds, and dolphins. Visitors can also explore the historic Cape Lookout Lighthouse and take part in recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, kayaking, and camping. The seashore also offers educational programs throughout the year.

Cape Lookout National Seashore is a great destination for nature lovers looking for an adventure.

Banner Elk

Banner Elk is a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. We know it for its stunning mountain views, outdoor activities, and quaint downtown area. The town is home to several ski resorts, including Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain Resort. These resorts offer skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and other winter activities. During the summer months, visitors can enjoy hiking trails and everything this small rustic town offers.

Banner Elk is also home to several unique shops and restaurants. They filled the downtown area with art galleries, boutiques, and eateries. Visitors can find everything from handmade crafts to locally sourced food. There are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation in the area, such as fishing, kayaking, and camping.

Banner Elk is a great destination for anyone looking to explore the best places to visit in North Carolina.

smoky mountains national park

The Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina is a must-see destination for anyone looking to explore the great outdoors. In the Appalachian Mountains, this park offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys, as well as plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. From hiking and camping to fishing and horseback riding, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful park.

The Smoky Mountains National Park

The Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular places to visit in North Carolina. In the western part of the state, this park offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. From hiking and camping to fishing and horseback riding, there is something for everyone at this beautiful park.

The Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the most incredible views. And these 360-degree views offer a great way to take in all the landscape. 

popular attractions in North Carolina

North Carolina is a beautiful state with plenty of attractions to explore. From the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to the stunning Outer Banks, many popular attractions in North Carolina draw visitors from all over the world.

educational exhibits

North Carolina is home to several educational exhibits, such as the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh and the North Carolina Aquariums in Pine Knoll Shores and Manteo. These attractions offer visitors the chance to learn about the state’s natural history, wildlife, and marine life. And there are many interactive exhibits as well. 

outdoor activities

Outdoor activities are plentiful in North Carolina. And are one of the most popular activities in North Carolina.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most popular attractions in North Carolina. This 469-mile scenic drive winds through some of the most breathtaking mountain scenery in the country.

The Outer Banks is a chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. We know this area for its beautiful beaches, lighthouses, and wild horses. The Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills commemorates the first successful powered airplane flight.

 Asheville is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers many hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic drives.

Miles of Beaches

North Carolina is a beautiful state with plenty of attractions to explore. From the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to the miles of beaches along the Atlantic coast, there is something for everyone in North Carolina.

One of the most popular attractions in North Carolina is its miles of beaches. From the Outer Banks to Wilmington, visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and other beach activities. 

coastal towns

North Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful coastal towns in the United States. From the Outer Banks to Wilmington, there are plenty of places to explore and enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an exciting adventure, North Carolina has something for everyone.

The Outer Banks is one of the most popular coastal destinations in North Carolina. This chain of barrier islands offers miles of sandy beaches, lighthouses, and plenty of outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the historic sites, go fishing, or take a boat tour to see the wild horses that inhabit the islands.

Wilmington is another great coastal town in North Carolina. We know this port city for its vibrant downtown area with shops and restaurants. There are also plenty of outdoor activities.

North Carolina Coast

The North Carolina Coast is a stunning stretch of coastline that offers something for everyone. From the bustling beach towns of the Outer Banks to the tranquil marshes and estuaries of the Crystal Coast, there is no shortage of places to explore. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled vacation, the North Carolina Coast has it all.

For those seeking a beach vacation, the Outer Banks is the perfect destination. With its miles of sandy beaches, lighthouses, and wild horses, it’s easy to see why this area is so popular. From the bustling towns of Nags Head and Duck to the secluded beaches of Hatteras Island, there are plenty of places to explore.

For a more laid-back getaway, the Crystal Coast is the perfect destination. This area of the North Carolina Coast stretches from Emerald Isle to Beaufort and includes a variety of small towns, beaches, and estuaries. Here you can explore the Cape Lookout National Seashore, take a boat tour of the Intracoastal Waterway, or just relax on one of the many beaches.

No matter what type of vacation you

Best City to Visit in North Carolina

For the best cities to visit in North Carolina, you have many options. The state has more than a dozen major cities that are worth exploring, and each one has its unique personality and culture.

Here are some of the best cities to visit in North Carolina:

  • Asheville
  • Charlotte
  • Durham
  • Greensboro
  • Raleigh
  • Winston-Salem

North Carolina is a state that has everything from an emerging beer scene to beautiful mountains. It is a state worth exploring and offers a lot of fun adventures for those willing to pay a visit to this historic and stunning state. Personally, it is in my top 5 favorite states in the country, and I can’t wait for my next visit.

5 thoughts on “30 Best Places to Visit North Carolina in 2023”

  1. Asheville, not Ashville. Sorry, but it just kept being repeatedly misspelled & I couldn’t help myself. Thanks for writing about a few of the many beautiful, cool & exciting things to see & experience in North Carolina.

    If anyone wants to take a road trip that starts at the beach and ends in the mountains, take a drive through this state. I love to drive wsst on 17, 264 & I 40. You can wake up at the beach, drive for a bit & see everything from the coastal plains, hills, then even bigger hills, and end up watching the sunset at your favorite cabin in the mountains.

    You can drive on a couple of the beaches on the Outer Banks (only if you have 4-wheel drive), take a ferry to an island or 2 – bc that’s the only way to get there – or take a swim in some of the freshwater lakes or Carolina Bays. Both White Lake and Lake Phelps have very clear & warm waters in the summer, which is also shallow & void of sharks.

    If you’re in the western part of the state, go visit the Biltmore Estate and drive The Blue Ridge Parkway, especially during fall. There are so many things to do, you won’t be able to fit it all in 1 trip. I guarantee that if you come to NC once, you’ll want to visit over and over again. No matter what you want to do, you can do bc NC does not disappoint. ?

  2. Nice article. I will point out that while the Outer Banks are lovely, no doubt, no trip to Coastal North Carolina would be complete without a trip to the Crystal Coast, aka the Southern Outer Banks. This area includes the Cape Lookout National Seashore and the communities of Beaufort, Morehead City, Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle. Some of the highlights include wild horses at Shackleford Banks, the Rachel Carson Reserve and Cedar Island. The NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is certainly worth a visit as are the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and the NC Maritime Museum. The beach at the Point in Emerald Isle is breath taking. Don’t miss Fort Macon State Park. Also Check out the Croatan National Forest and Emerald Isle Woods Park for hiking in the local forest environment.

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