This beautiful Southern state features a lengthy coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, purple hills rolling along its western border with the Smoky Mountains, and a central area growing in popularity for travellers and newcomers in its Triangle of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.
The state of North Carolina is so diverse that outdoor-loving families will find happiness hiking and even skiing in its mountains near Asheville, surfing and water sports along the 200-mile-long barrier islands of the Outer Banks. American history began on Roanoke Island, where a colony of people mysteriously disappeared. As more and more people move to the state’s Research Triangle around Duke University and medical and technology companies, the area is offering more in terms of entertainment, arts, and sports, including the famous Durham Bulls minor league baseball team.
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville was the summer home to the Vanderbilt family, who established the Biltmore Estate. This 8,000-acre estate rests on grounds and gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmstead of Central Park fame, with the interior of the home on display for visitors to see the extravagance that exited during the family’s time residing in the home. Descendants of the original owner, George Vanderbilt, still live here to this day.) A vineyard, restaurants, shops and more make the estate like a grown-up version of an amusement park and worth the visit. The charming town of Asheville, itself, is a hipster town with breweries and festivals on its intimate main streets.
North Carolina shares the Great Smokies with Tennessee, and of the National Park’s 800 hiking trails, your family is bound to find a secluded one to enjoy the views, spot a bald eagle and splash in the water of a natural waterfall.
The south’s Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains were home to bootleggers racing on curving roads to elude authorities, which eventually became a competition and evolved into NASCAR. Charlotte is the home to NASCAR, and its hall of fame and museum dedicated to it. Visit Carrowinds, North Carolina’s largest amusement park, as well as Betchler’s art museum.
OBX, as the Outer Banks are known, are barrier islands that stretch from Virginia’s border down 130 miles to its end in Cape Hatteras. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore is a must when visiting the area, and campgrounds are available for families wanting to sleep on the dune-line beaches. The entire area is filled mainly with vacation homes, and families can sizes to accommodate even the largest multigenerational groups. The home of the Wright Brothers, visit the airfield and monument dedicated to their first flights.
Wilmington and its beaches of Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure (pronounced Curie) should be on your radar as they rake up awards for the best beaches, most charming cities, and more. Before the entire world discovers the charm that is Wilmington, your family should visit this charming and beautiful coastal area of North Carolina. Besides a relaxing vacation of a beach, your family will relish in the southern charm of North Carolina.
You’ll need a car to get around this large state, including the beachside towns along Outer Banks, as the islands stretch for hundreds of miles.