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8 Best Things To Do in North Carolina

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Photo by Florian Schneider on Unsplash

North Carolina is anything but boring. In fact, thanks to the state's long history, here you can find important historic sites from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Also, the changing seasons mean that you can warm up in the spring in North Carolina by visiting mountains or coastal retreats. There are also vineyards for adults to enjoy and theme parks geared to guests of all ages. Visiting during the spring or summer gives you the bonus of being able to attend a world-famous music festival, but no matter when you visit, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do. Here are some of them:

1. Sarah P. Duke Gardens

There are more than 5 miles of pathways throughout the gardens, and guided tours are offered both by foot and by trolley. Tours take between 60 and 90 minutes. The gardens are open to visitors 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to dusk, and there is no admission charge for those wishing to enjoy a self-guided tour. Groups consisting of more than 15 people are asked to register with the garden in advance for scheduling purposes.

2. Biltmore Estate

Biltmore Estate is a Gilded Age mansion completed in 1895 and now listed on the US National Register of Historic Places The grand estate is the largest house in the US, that is privately owned. For those of you who do not know, it is owned by the wealthy Vanderbilt family and is open to the public to explore the mansion and grounds. Take a tour of the house to see preserved décor from the era, which showcases the family's wealth. Tours are self-guided with audio to learn more about each room you visit. You can also take a walk through the gardens, dine in at the restaurant, or do a wine tasting in the winery. The best times to visit the mansion are during the spring to see the flowers bloom or during the holiday season for decorations.

3. Outer Banks

OBX is a chain of barrier islands off the North Carolina coast leading to the Atlantic Ocean. It was one of the first settled areas in the country by European settlers and has a rich Native American history. There are multiple places to visit within Outer Banks, each filled with recreation, history, and culture. It's a favorite tourist destination to discover a unique area in North Carolina.

4. Linville Gorge and Falls

The Linville River flows through the Blue Ridge Mountains into the Linville Falls. It's one of the biggest waterfalls in North Carolina – it's a tiered waterfall with multiple drops as high as 150-ft. The falls have an upper section before ending in the Linville Gorge. There are multiple hiking trails around the waterfall and down in the gorge suitable for various hiking skills.

5. Wheels Through Time Museum

The Wheels Through Time Museum contains one of the world's best collections of rare or unique motorcycles and automobiles. The 40,000 square foot museum is home to more than 350 machines that have been arranged into a sort of timeline of American history. Regular events are hosted here, including antique car rallies, holiday celebrations, and an annual motorcycle raffle.

6. North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo opened in 1976 near Asheboro in the central part of the state. It covers 2,600 acres, with a majority of the area undeveloped. The entire zoo is divided into sections reflecting different habitats. Some of the exhibitions include grasslands, swamps, forests, deserts, and mountains. There is also an aviary and features an art collection. There are over 250 species in the zoo with more than 1,800 animals. Most of the animals come from North America and Africa, with plans to add more regions. Animals you'll see in the zoo include chimpanzees, lions, polar bears, cougars, giraffes, elephants, and bison.

7. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains is a vast park with over 500,000 acres stretched across North Carolina and Tennessee. It includes the Great Smoky Mountain Range and parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are also several other landscape features, from forests to waterfalls. Hiking is the most popular activity in the park. There are plenty of trails to explore, including a section of the Appalachian Trail or routes to various points of interest like Clingman's Dome and Laurel Falls. Other activities include horseback riding, fishing, biking, and camping. With over 12 million visitors every year, this is the most visited national park in the US.
Photo by Nick Pryde on Unsplash

8. Good Karma Ranch

Good Karma Ranch is a sustainability-focused alpaca ranch in Iron Station, North Carolina, originally established in 2009 as a solution for environmentally-friendly livestock farming. The ranch focuses on scientifically forward methods for breeding Huacaya alpacas from championship bloodlines, bred and raised for their high-quality light-colored fur. Here, you can purchase a variety of luxury goods, ranging from jewelry, scarves, and attire to the finest possible crafting yarn stocked in a variety of colors and textures. Special events are open to families throughout the year, including weekend farm tours, crafting and yoga classes, adult and children's camps, and holiday events.