Things To Do in North Carolina

Are you planning a trip to North Carolina and wondering what to do there? Look no further! As a North Carolina native, I can assure you that plenty of exciting activities and attractions will keep you entertained during your visit.

In this article, I’ll highlight some top things to do in North Carolina, including outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and delicious food. You’ll learn about the state’s rich history, natural beauty, and unique attractions. So, keep reading to learn that North Carolina has the best, and make the most of your trip!

Things to Do in Charlotte, North Carolina

1. Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame – As a racing fan, I highly recommend visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame. It’s an interactive museum showcasing NASCAR’s history and its drivers. You can even climb into a race car and experience what it’s like to be behind the wheel.

2. Explore the U.S. National Whitewater Center – The U.S. National Whitewater Center is a must-visit for adventure seekers. With over 50 miles of trails, you can hike, bike, or try stand-up paddleboarding. The center is also home to the largest manufactured whitewater river in the world.

3. Check out the Mint Museum Uptown – Art lovers should head to the Mint Museum Uptown, which features a wide range of artwork, including contemporary and historical pieces. The museum also offers visitor amenities like a 240-seat auditorium, art studios, and a restaurant.

4. Take a Fun Bus Tour – For a unique way to see the city, hop on the Fun Bus Tour. The tour is known for its edgy humor and is available in two versions – one with a PG-13 rating and one with an R rating. You’ll see Charlotte’s top attractions while entertained by the tour guide.

5. Visit the Bank of America Stadium – Sports fans should visit the Bank of America Stadium, home to the Carolina Panthers NFL team. You can take a guided tour of the stadium and even walk on the field. If you’re lucky, you may catch a game during the football season.

Things to Do in Boone, North Carolina

Things to Do in Boone North Carolina

6. Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway: The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic drive that stretches over 469 miles through the Appalachian Mountains. The parkway offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys and access to hiking trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds. Don’t miss out on the Linn Cove Viaduct, a unique engineering feat that winds around the mountainside.

7. Visit the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum: This open-air museum gives visitors a glimpse into life in the 1700s and 1800s. Costumed interpreters demonstrate traditional crafts and skills, such as blacksmithing, weaving, and woodworking. The museum also features several historic buildings, including a log cabin, a barn, and a schoolhouse.

8. Hike the Greenway Trail: The Greenway Trail is a paved path along the scenic New River. The trail is perfect for walking, jogging, or biking and offers views of the river and surrounding mountains. The trail has several access points, including one at Clawson-Burnley Park.

9. Go skiing at Appalachian Ski Mountain: Appalachian Ski Mountain is a popular winter destination offering skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. The resort has 12 slopes and trails, a terrain park, and a snow tubing area. There are also several dining options and a cozy lodge for après-ski relaxation.

Things to Do in Durham, North Carolina

10. Visit Duke University: Duke University is one of the most prestigious universities in the United States, and its campus is a must-see attraction in Durham. Stroll through the beautiful gardens and visit the iconic Duke Chapel, home to the most extensive collection of stained glass windows in the world.

11. Explore Eno River State Park: Eno River State Park is a natural oasis in the heart of Durham. With over 30 miles of hiking trails, visitors can enjoy scenic views of the river, waterfalls, and wildlife. It’s the perfect place for a picnic or a day trip with family and friends.

12. Catch a show at Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC): DPAC is the premier live entertainment venue in North Carolina, hosting Broadway shows, concerts, comedy acts, and more. Check their schedule to see what’s playing during your visit to Durham.

13. Visit the Carolina Theatre: The Carolina Theatre is a historic landmark in Durham and a great place to catch a movie or live performance. Built-in 1926, the theater has been beautifully restored and features a stunning Art Deco interior.

14. Experience the food scene: Durham is known for its diverse and innovative food scene. From farm-to-table cuisine to international flavors, there’s something for everyone. Some of my favorite restaurants in Durham include Pizzeria Toro, Mateo Bar de Tapas, and The Parlour for delicious ice cream.

Things to Do in Cherokee, North Carolina

Things to Do in Cherokee North Carolina

15. Visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indians: This museum tells the story of the people from their earliest beginnings to the present. The exhibits are well-curated and informative, and you can easily spend a few hours here.

16. Take a Hike on the Oconaluftee River Trail: Starting from the outskirts of Cherokee and leading up to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center within the Smoky Mountains National Park, this trail meanders alongside the river. It’s a gentle hike that showcases stunning river vistas and the encompassing mountain scenery.

17. Explore the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual: This cooperative showcases the work of Cherokee artists and artisans. You can find everything from pottery and baskets to jewelry and wood carvings.

Things to Do in Raleigh, North Carolina

18. Visit the North Carolina Museum of Art. This museum is a must-visit for art lovers. It boasts an impressive collection of over 40,000 works of art worldwide, including ancient Egyptian artifacts, contemporary art, and everything in between. The museum also has beautiful outdoor trails and gardens perfect for a stroll.

19. Explore the North Carolina State Capitol. This historic building is a symbol of North Carolina’s rich political heritage. Visitors can take a guided tour of the Capitol and learn about the state’s history, architecture, and government. The building is also home to beautiful artwork and artifacts.

20. Experience the North Carolina State Fair. Held every October, the State Fair is the most significant event in North Carolina. Visitors can enjoy carnival rides, agricultural exhibits, and delicious fair food. The State Fair is a valid North Carolina tradition and a great way to experience the state’s culture.

21. Spend a day at Pullen Park. This beautiful park is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day with family and friends. Visitors can enjoy a historic carousel, miniature train rides, and paddle boats on the lake. The park also has picnic areas, playgrounds, and plenty of open space for outdoor games.

22. Take a tour of the North Carolina Executive Mansion. This beautiful mansion is the official residence of the Governor of North Carolina. Visitors can take a guided tour of the mansion and learn about its history and architecture. The mansion is also surrounded by beautiful gardens and grounds that are open to the public.

Fun Things to Do in Fayetteville, North Carolina

23. Visit the Airborne & Special Operations Museum: If you are interested in military history, then the Airborne & Special Operations Museum is a must-visit attraction. The museum showcases the history of the U.S. Army’s airborne and special operations units, including the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Army Special Forces. The museum has various exhibits, including aircraft, vehicles, and artifacts from multiple conflicts.

24. Explore the Cape Fear Botanical Garden: The Cape Fear Botanical Garden is a beautiful 80-acre garden with many plants and flowers. The garden has several themed areas, including a Children’s Garden, a Camellia Garden, and a Heritage Garden. The garden also has several walking trails allowing visitors to explore the natural beauty.

25. Go Skating at Round-A-Bout Skating Center: Round-A-Bout Skating Center is great for skating with friends and family. The skating center has rental skates, an excellent snack bar, and fun weekday specials. The center also has plenty of space for skating and hosts several events yearly.

26. Visit the Museum of Cape Fear: The Museum of Cape Fear is a history museum covering the southern region of North Carolina. The museum has several exhibits that showcase the history of the area, including exhibits on the Civil War and the history of the Native Americans who lived in the area.

27. Have Fun at Red Point Climbing Gym: Red Point Climbing Gym is a great place to go if you want an indoor adventure. The gym has several indoor climbing walls suitable for all skill levels. The gym also offers classes and workshops for those who want to improve their climbing skills.

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains

Things to Do in the North Carolina Mountains

28. Hiking and Nature Trails – The North Carolina Mountains are home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there are plenty of trails to choose from. You’ll find breathtaking views and fresh mountain air from the Appalachian Trail to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

29. Skiing and Snowboarding – If you’re looking for a winter adventure, the North Carolina Mountains have some of the best ski slopes in the Southeast. With resorts like Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to hit the slopes and enjoy the snow.

30. Waterfalls and Scenic DrivesThe North Carolina Mountains are known for stunning waterfalls and scenic drives. Drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at some overlooks to enjoy the breathtaking views. Or, hike to one of the many waterfalls in the area, like Linville Falls or Whitewater Falls.

31. Breweries and Wineries – Nestled in the North Carolina Mountains, you’ll discover some of the nation’s finest breweries and wineries. Whether you’re exploring the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. or savoring a wine tasting at the Biltmore Estate Winery, the variety ensures a delightful new favorite beverage is waiting for you.

32. Small Town Charm – The North Carolina Mountains are dotted with charming small towns, each with its unique character. From Asheville to Boone, you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and attractions to explore. Take a stroll down Main Street and soak up the local culture.

Things to Do in North Carolina Beach

33. Visit the Beach: The beach is the main attraction in North Carolina Beach. With miles of pristine coastline, it’s the perfect place to relax in the sun, swim, or walk along the shore. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and a beach umbrella to stay protected from the sun.

34. Explore Carolina Beach State Park: Carolina Beach State Park is a beautiful park that offers a variety of outdoor activities. You can go hiking, fishing, kayaking, or even camping. The park is also home to wildlife, including alligators, deer, and birds.

35. Take a Walk on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk: The Carolina Beach Boardwalk is a classic boardwalk that offers a variety of fun activities for the whole family. You can ride on the Ferris wheel, play carnival games, or grab a bite at one of the many restaurants.

36. Visit the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher: At the North Carolina Aquarium, visitors have the unique opportunity to explore the diverse marine life native to North Carolina, including the chance to encounter sharks, sea turtles, and other aquatic species in an up-close setting.

37. Take a Sunset Cruise: A sunset cruise is a great way to end your day in North Carolina Beach. You can relax on a boat while enjoying the beautiful scenery and watching the sunset over the water. There are a variety of sunset cruises available, so be sure to find one that fits your schedule.

Things to do in North Carolina, Charlotte

38. Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame: Charlotte is known as the home of NASCAR, and the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a must-visit attraction for any racing fan. The museum features interactive exhibits, historic race cars, and displays showcasing NASCAR’s history.

39. Explore the U.S. National Whitewater Center: The U.S. National Whitewater Center is an outdoor adventure center that offers a wide range of activities, including whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, and rock climbing. It’s a great place to spend a day with friends or family.

40. Take a stroll through the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden: The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a beautiful oasis in the heart of Charlotte. It features a variety of gardens, including a rose garden, a perennial garden, and a children’s garden. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery.

41. Catch a game at Bank of America Stadium: Charlotte is home to the Carolina Panthers NFL team, and Bank of America Stadium is the place to be on game day. The stadium is located in the heart of uptown Charlotte and offers a great atmosphere for football fans.

42. Visit the Mint Museum Uptown: The Mint Museum Uptown is a contemporary art museum with various exhibits and collections. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon exploring the art and culture of Charlotte.

Things to Do in North Carolina’s Outer Banks

Things to Do in North Carolina's Outer Banks

43. Visit the Beaches – The Outer Banks is known for its beautiful beaches. From Carova Beach to Cape Lookout, there are plenty of options. Some famous beaches include Corolla Beach, Nags Head Beach, and Kill Devil Hills Beach. Visitors can enjoy swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and more.

44. Explore the Wildlife – The Outer Banks is home to diverse wildlife. Visitors can take a 4WD tour to see the wild horses of Corolla or go birdwatching at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. The Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge is also great for spotting black bears and red wolves.

45. Learn About History – Steeped in history, the Outer Banks is the site of some of the earliest English settlements in America. Tourists can explore this rich past by visiting landmarks such as the Wright Brothers National Memorial, Roanoke Island Festival Park, and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

46. Try Local Cuisine – The Outer Banks has a thriving food scene that features fresh seafood and local specialties. Visitors can try steamed blue crabs, shrimp and grits, and North Carolina-style barbecue. Some popular restaurants include The Blue Point, Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe, and Dirty Dick’s Crab House.

47. Enjoy Outdoor Activities – The Outer Banks is fabulous for kayaking, fishing, and biking. Visitors can rent kayaks, explore the marshes of Kitty Hawk Bay, or go on a fishing charter to catch tuna, marlin, and other big game fish. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is also famous for biking and hiking.

Things to Do in North Carolina in Summer

48. Visit the Beaches: North Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Beachgoers have many options, from the Outer Banks to the Emerald Isle. Whether you want to swim, surf, or just relax in the sun, North Carolina’s beaches have something for everyone.

49. Explore the Mountains: Escape the summer warmth with a visit to North Carolina, where you can embark on a picturesque drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, venture to a cascading waterfall, or enjoy a camping trip in Pisgah National Forest. The stunning landscapes and invigorating mountain breeze are sure to rejuvenate.

50. Attend a Festival: North Carolina is known for its vibrant festivals and events. There is always something going on, from the North Carolina State Fair to the Beaufort Pirate Invasion. Check out the local calendar of events to find a festival that interests you.

51. Visit a National Park: With national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina invites exploration of its stunning natural environments and historical heritage.

52. Take a Food Tour: North Carolina is famous for its barbecue, seafood, and craft beer. Take a food tour to sample the best of North Carolina’s cuisine. From Lexington-style barbecue to fresh seafood on the coast, there is something to satisfy every palate.

Things to Do in North Carolina in Winter

Things to Do in North Carolina in Winter

53. Visit the North Carolina Mountains: The North Carolina mountains offer an ideal climate for growing Christmas trees. Christmas tree farms are one of the best places to visit in North Carolina in winter. You can also go skiing, snowboarding, or tubing at one of the many ski resorts in the area.

54. Explore the Beaches: Although it may be too cold to swim, the beaches of North Carolina are still beautiful in the winter. You can walk on the beach, watch the waves, and collect seashells. Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is a popular spot to drive on the beach with a permit.

55. Experience Winter Festivals: North Carolina offers plenty of winter festivals. Blowing Rock Winterfest is a festive four-day event with various chilly activities. You can enjoy a Polar Plunge, warm up with chili and beer, marvel at ice carvings, and learn to curl with the Charlotte Curling Association.

56. Visit State Parks: North Carolina has some of the most beautiful state parks in the country, and winter is the perfect time to explore them. You can hike, go birdwatching, or rent a kayak and explore the Carolina Beach State Park waterways.

Things to Do with Kids in North Carolina

57. Visit the North Carolina Zoo: Located in Asheboro, the North Carolina Zoo is the largest natural habitat zoo in the world. With over 2,000 animals and 500 acres of exhibits, it’s a great place to spend a day with the family. Kids will love seeing the elephants, giraffes, and lions as well as the interactive exhibits and play areas.

58. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: With over 800 miles of trails and stunning views, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit for families who love the outdoors. Kids will love hiking to waterfalls, spotting wildlife, and learning about the history and culture of the area.

59. Take a trip to the beach: North Carolina has over 300 miles of coastline, so there are plenty of options for a family beach trip. Some of the best beaches for families include Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Emerald Isle. Kids will love building sandcastles, swimming in the ocean, and searching for seashells.

60. Visit the Discovery Place Science Museum: Located in Charlotte, the Discovery Place Science Museum is an excellent place for kids to learn and play. With interactive exhibits on topics like physics, biology, and engineering, kids will have a blast exploring and experimenting.

61. Go on a pirate adventure: The North Carolina coast has a rich history, and several pirate-themed attractions are perfect for families. Kids will love taking a pirate cruise, visiting a pirate museum, or even going on a treasure hunt.

Things to Do in Asheville, North Carolina

Things to Do in Asheville

62. Visit the Biltmore Estate: The Biltmore Estate is a must-see attraction in Asheville. George Vanderbilt built this historic mansion in the late 1800s, and it is now a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can tour the house and gardens and enjoy wine tastings, outdoor activities, and more.

63. Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway: Traversing the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway provides a scenic route that showcases the stunning beauty of the landscape. It’s an ideal spot for hiking, biking, and picnicking.

64. Stroll through the River Arts District: The River Arts District is a vibrant neighborhood in Asheville, home to over 200 artists. Visitors can browse galleries, watch artists at work, and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces.

65. Hike to a waterfall: Western North Carolina has many beautiful waterfalls, and Asheville is no exception. Some of the best waterfall hikes near Asheville include Catawba Falls, Looking Glass Falls, and Rainbow Falls.

66. Experience the local food and drink scene: Asheville is known for its thriving food and drink scene. Visitors can sample local craft beer, visit farm-to-table restaurants, and explore the city’s many food and drink festivals.

What Are Some Things Couples Should Do in North Carolina?

67. Take a stroll on the beach: North Carolina has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Whether you’re looking for a quiet, secluded spot or a lively beach town, you’ll find plenty of options. Some of the best beaches for couples include Wrightsville Beach, Emerald Isle, and Nags Head.

68. Explore the mountains: For couples passionate about the great outdoors, North Carolina’s mountains offer an idyllic getaway. Embark on a trek through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hit the slopes for some skiing in winter, or soak up the breathtaking scenery. Asheville, a beloved mountain town, boasts an array of restaurants, breweries, and shops waiting to be discovered.

69. Visit a winery or brewery: North Carolina has a thriving wine and beer scene, with many wineries and breweries offering tastings and tours. Some popular options for couples include Biltmore Estate Winery, Childress Vineyards, and Highland Brewing Company.

70. Take a romantic drive: The scenic byways of North Carolina are renowned for offering some of the country’s most spectacular driving experiences. Among these, the Blue Ridge Parkway stands out, featuring majestic mountain views and ample chances for outdoor activities like hiking and picnicking.

71. Enjoy a spa day: North Carolina has many luxury spas that offer a range of treatments, from massages to facials to hot stone therapy. Some top options for couples include the Grove Park Inn Spa, the Umstead Spa, and the Ritz-Carlton Spa.

What Are Some Things Adults Can Do in North Carolina?

72. Visit Asheville: This city in western North Carolina is known for its vibrant arts scene, craft breweries, and stunning mountain views. Stroll through the historic Biltmore Estate, sample local beers on a brewery tour, or browse the galleries and shops in the River Arts District.

73. Explore the Outer Banks: The chain of barrier islands along North Carolina’s coast attracts beach enthusiasts and history lovers. Highlights include exploring the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, ascending the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and embarking on a wild horse tour along the shores of Corolla.

74. Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains: This national park on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee offers some of the best hiking trails in the country. Take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike to the top of Clingman Dome, or explore the historic buildings in Cades Cove.

76. Experience the NASCAR Hall of Fame: This museum celebrates the history and culture of stock car racing. See iconic race cars, interactive exhibits, and the Hall of Honor, which recognizes the sport’s most accomplished drivers, owners, and crew chiefs.

77. Tour the Biltmore Winery: Located on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, this winery offers tastings, tours, and a chance to sample some of North Carolina’s finest wines. Take a guided tour of the winemaking process, stroll through the vineyards, or enjoy a glass of wine on the terrace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the top attractions for families visiting North Carolina?

North Carolina has many attractions for families, including the North Carolina Zoo, which is the world’s largest natural habitat zoo with over 1,800 animals. Another great option is the Battleship North Carolina Museum, where families can explore the historic battleship and learn about its role in World War II. Wrightsville Beach is also a popular destination for families, with various water sports, parks, gardens, and kid-friendly playgrounds.

What are some unique experiences to have in North Carolina?

One unique experience in North Carolina is visiting the Outer Banks, a 200-mile-long string of barrier islands off the coast. Visitors can explore the lighthouses, go fishing, or relax on the beaches. Another unique experience is visiting the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, the largest privately owned house in the United States. The estate features a winery, gardens, and a variety of tours and activities.

Which free activities are available to enjoy in North Carolina?

There are many free activities to enjoy in North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic drive through the Appalachian Mountains, with many overlooks and hiking trails. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh is also free and features exhibits on dinosaurs, wildlife, and more. 

What are the best destinations for couples in North Carolina?

North Carolina has many romantic destinations for couples. Asheville is known for its art galleries, restaurants, and boutique shops. The Biltmore Estate is also popular for couples, with its beautiful gardens and winery. The town of Wilmington is another excellent option, with its historic downtown, riverfront, and beaches.

How can I find out about events happening in North Carolina this weekend?

There are many websites and resources to learn about events in North Carolina. has a calendar of events that can be filtered by location and date. The local newspaper or city website is also a good resource for finding events in your area. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be used to find events and connect with other attendees.