Whether you’re planning a day trip, weekend getaway or week-long vacation, there’s no shortage of things to do in North Carolina.
This popular destination is home to hundreds of waterfalls, four national forests, and dozens of lakes, rivers and streams perfect for outdoor adventures.
See why the Blue Ridge Parkway is called ‘America’s Favorite Drive,’ go hang gliding just a stone’s throw from the site of the world’s first powered flight, or spend some quality time in one of the many vibrant cities where you can sample world-famous barbecue and locally crafted beer.
FIND YOUR ADVENTURE
North Carolina has every terrain: the tallest peaks in the East, bustling and vibrant cities in the central region, and 300 miles of barrier-island beaches.
Green River Adventures offers plenty of chances to stretch yourself on the likes of zipline canopy tours, hiking adventures and whitewater trips. And who’s up for a waterfall rappel? Take a guided hike to Little or Big Bradley falls, slip on a harness, learn some rope handling from the pros, back out over the plunging water, and go. At the bottom, celebrate with a swim in the waterfall’s pool.
Designated by the legislature as the N.C. Trout Capital (and the first and only fly-fishing trail of its kind), Jackson County trout mecca offers anglers 15 mountain streams and whitewater rivers loaded with brown, rainbow, brook and even Donaldson species. Some reach 20-30 inches long. For a trip with an Orvis-endorsed guide, head to the Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, where you can reel in brook, golden, brown, or rainbow trout on float or wading trips.
NORTH CAROLINA’S MUSIC SCENE
The sound and style of North Carolina’s music evolved over landscapes and generations, from folksy mountain jams to live concerts in the foothills. Sure, North Carolina attracts big-name artists to its larger venues, but the real magic here is in the local names, the bluegrass pickers, the jug bands, the street buskers and the Appalachian roots that run through it all. Take a music-themed road trip through the mountains and enjoy a rich diversity of styles, venues and performances that all capture a piece of the North Carolina music scene.
Wilkesboro, is a destination for mountain bikers and has more than 40 wineries within an hour’s drive, but most notably, it embodies the soul of Appalachian and folk music. The Kruger Brothers of folk and bluegrass fame call Wilkes County their home base, and you’ll find the likes of their music and similar tunes playing everywhere you go. The Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, located at the Wilkes Heritage Museum, inducts national and local musicians, luthiers (stringed instrument makers), dancers and other players in the world of mountain music.
COUNTRY & COSMOPOLITAN CUISINE
North Carolina’s culture is a little bit country, a little bit cosmopolitan – the influence of Appalachian roots are as prominent as the modern diversity of Charlotte, the state’s largest city and the nation’s second-largest financial centre. This cultural spectrum is reflected in the culinary landscape, which embraces everything from classic Southern tastes such as moonshine and barbecue to new, trendy delights.
North Carolinians bicker over the two different styles of barbecue found in the state: Eastern style, which uses a vinegar and pepper base and utilizes the whole pig, and Lexington (also called Piedmont or Western) style, which adds ketchup and other seasonings for dipping and uses only the pork shoulder. In small-town Lexington, there’s no shortage of restaurants serving up the local style to help start your barbecue education.
ARTS & CULTURE
Asheville’s natural setting means there is no shortage of activities for the outdoorsy types but those with more cultural interests will also find themselves spoiled by Asheville’s vibrant arts scene.
The city owes its artistic credentials to George Vanderbilt. This Staten Island, New York, native took a fancy to the place and, in 1888, began construction of a country home. The resulting 3,200-hectare Biltmore Estate required an entire army of artists and craftsmen to complete, and many of them decided to settle in the area, giving root to the artsy community that lives there today.