Things to do & places to visit in North Carolina, United States

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North Carolina has something for everyone, with the highest mountains in the eastern U.S., 300 miles of pristine coastline, quaint towns and vibrant cities. From the mountains to the sea, explore the natural, scenic beauty, discover outdoor adventure or try one of 500 golf courses, including the legendary Pinehurst No. 2. Discover a favorite among 100 wineries and 60 craft breweries, tour historic and cultural treasures, sample farm to table delicacies and get the thrill of motorsports in the "home" of NASCAR.

North Carolina #21 destination in United States 2023. The average rating score is 4.53 based on 220.6k traveler reviews, of 2.056 attractions. Timezone: America/New_York, current date and time: Sunday, April 21, 2024, 1:13.

Top things to do (38)

Top destinations in North Carolina 100

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Top places to visit (30 attractions) view more »

  1. 5.0 Blue Ridge Parkway (6.978 reviews)
    - Scenic drive with great overlooks and hiking trails
    Spent More than 3 hours Scenic Drives
    Blue Ridge Parkway image
    This 469-mile scenic drive links Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while protecting the cultural and natural features of the Blue Ridge. See more..
  2. 5.0 Billy Graham Library (2.462 reviews)
    - Great way to learn about history of a very important man and his family
    Sunday: Spent 2-3 hours Libraries
    Billy Graham Library image
    Journey through history with one of the most influential voices of the 20th century. Learn more about Billy Graham and his message of God’s love. Through multimedia exhibits, films, and memorabilia, you'll relive the historic moments of his life. Tour the restored Graham family home, shop in Ruth’s Attic, and enjoy lunch in the Dairy Bar. The Billy Graham Library will leave you inspired by this amazing man and his message of hope. See more..
  3. 5.0 Sarah P. Duke Gardens (2.188 reviews)
    - Beautiful Grounds, Scenic Views, Serene Environment
    Sarah P. Duke Gardens image
    As part of a day of celebration for my daughter’s birthday, my family and I decided to visit the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. There is no cost to visit these gardens; however, there is a parking fee of $2.00/hr. There is parking available at the main garden entrance area as well as a designated overflow area. Parking could be a bit limited so carpooling is a great idea, and the bus also runs there These gardens provide a serene atmosphere, beautiful sceneries, a peaceful and relaxing environment, and the opportunity to see some wildlife. There are also great areas for a picnic. I would recommend that you give yourself at least 2 to 3 hours to explore all of the grounds as it is huge and requires a lot of walking. We had a marvelous time and will visit again. What a great way to start a birthday celebration! See more..
  4. 5.0 Elijah Mountain Gem Mine and Goat Farm (1.740 reviews)
    - Fourth visit-- even better than before!
    Sunday: 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM Spent 1-2 hours Mines
    Elijah Mountain Gem Mine and Goat Farm image
    TripAdvisor’s #1 gem mine in the US, #1 family activity in the mountains, #22 Thing To Do in the US and #4 in the world Family-Friendly Fun on TripAdvisor's 2021 Best of the Best! No reservations needed. Come pet and feed our goats and chickens at the barn and see our peacocks and wild game bird habitat. We double all competitor’s coupons and we’ll even buy you a coke! Covered outdoor and Indoor gem mining year round for your comfort. At Elijah Mountain Gem Mine in Hendersonville, NC, you become a prospector from the 1800's and mine for real gem stones that you can keep! Gems found daily include Rubys, Sapphires, Emeralds, Quartz crystals, Citrine, Amethyst, Garnets, Moonstone, Sodalite, Opal, Fluorite, Aquamarine Crystal, geodes, fossils and more! You can even picnic by the creek or Jurassic Pond then watch the kids challenge their skills on the obstacle course. Our Crystal store is the largest in the state with the largest selection and best prices in NC. Food truck open weekends. See more..
  5. 5.0 International Civil Rights Center & Museum (1.739 reviews)
    - An informative and moving experience!
    Sunday: Spent 1-2 hours Speciality Museums
    International Civil Rights Center & Museum image
    The International Civil Rights Center & Museum (ICRCM), located in Greensboro, N.C., is an archival center, collecting museum and teaching facility devoted to the international struggle for civil and human rights. This national landmark and national site of conscience celebrates the nonviolent protests of the 1960 Greensboro sit-ins that served as a catalyst in the civil rights movement. Our vision is to memorialize the courageous stand of the Greensboro Four as they launched, for posterity, the sit-in movement Feb. 1, 1960. We hope that the ICRCM, with its focus on the sit-in activities at the F.W. Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960, will inspire the vigilance and fortify the spirit of all oppressed people to step forward in the ongoing struggle for human freedom. ICRCM is now offering guests the options of either a convenient Self-Guided Tour or a Professional Docent / Staff-Guided Tour. See more..
  6. 5.0 Dry Falls (1.627 reviews)
    - Dry Falls: A worthy waterfall in the middle of leaf-viewing country.
    Dry Falls image
    Following paved walkways from the parking area, you can walk directly underneath the tumbling 75-foot waterfall. See more..
  7. 5.0 Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum (1.435 reviews)
    - Historical Motorcycle Museum
    Temporarily closed - Closed until Apr 6, 2023 Speciality Museums
    Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum image
    This is one of the best motorcycle museums in the country. The museum consists of all American made motorcycles from mostly the early years. There’s a whole days worth of bikes to see and hear. There’s guides walking around the museum that will answer any of your questions and on occasion they’ll even start some of the bikes as this is a museum in which almost every bike is still in running condition which is great. I brought in a picture from my grandfathers old Indian motorcycle not knowing what year it was and they were able to tell me it was a 1931 Indian V4 which was amazing. So many beautiful, historic and rare bikes that you’d have to see it to believe it. If you love motorcycles or just transportation just history for that matter then I highly recommend coming here for a visit. See more..
  8. 5.0 DPAC - Durham Performing Arts Center (1.380 reviews)
    - DPAC
    Sunday: Theaters
    DPAC - Durham Performing Arts Center image
    Since its opening in 2008, DPAC has become the center for live entertainment in North Carolina. Recognized for its contemporary design, DPAC features 2,700 seats, intimate sight lines and state-of-the art sound and video. Listed eight times in the top 10 in Pollstar magazine’s annual worldwide theater attendance rankings, DPAC is currently the #2 ranked theater in the U.S. With a mission of presenting one-of a-kind live entertainment events, DPAC truly has “something for everyone”, hosting over 200 performances a year including spectacular touring Broadway productions, high-profile concert and comedy events, family shows and the heralded American Dance Festival. Owned by the City of Durham and operated under the direction of Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management (PFM), DPAC has been listed for nine consecutive years as the #1 performing arts organization in the region by the Triangle Business Journal. See more..
  9. 5.0 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Tours & Tastings (1.358 reviews)
    - A Gorgeous Brewery and Fantastic Tour
    Spent < 1 hour Breweries
    Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Tours & Tastings image
    We brewed our first batch of beer in 1980 in Chico, California, the lush forests of North Carolina far from our mind. Over three decades, folks tried our bold beers and deemed them fit for friends across the country. In time a second brewery became the wisest, most sustainable way to send fresh beer to the farthest reaches. Today you can venture inside our Mills River brewery to trace our history as a craft beer pioneer and see first-hand our drive to make flavorful beer the status quo. Cruise up our wooded driveway, park under a solar-panel canopy, and head behind the scenes with us. Our tours fill up quickly! You must make reservations online for all tours except the Guided Tasting and the self-guided Visitor Corridor. Click below to check availability and book your tour. Please feel free to contact our Tour Desk before your visit if you have any questions about our tour programs or policies. See more..
  10. 5.0 Kersey Valley Zip Line (1.152 reviews)
    - The best experience!
    Sunday: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
    Kersey Valley Zip Line image
    What could have turned out not so happy, was turned into a wonderful experience! We were not completely informed about the escape room situation when we called the day before. Unfortunately due to covid restrictions only one group that comes together can go into room at one time-we understood but we’re not given information the day before. Rather than not allowing us to participate-which was the only reason why we drove here- the staff called in an employee and happily set us up in the autopsy room. Pam was cheerful and helpful and so kind to our family when she worked with us. She came in during her time off to make sure we had a great experience!! See more..
  11. 5.0 Airborne and Special Operations Museum (1.087 reviews)
    - Great Free Museum (Donations recommended )
    Sunday: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM Spent 2-3 hours Speciality Museums
    Airborne and Special Operations Museum image
    The doors opened on 16 August 2000, the 60th anniversary of the original Test Platoon’s first parachute jump. The museum offers free admission, a main exhibit gallery, temporary gallery, four-story tall theater, a gift shop, and a motion simulator ride that features two experiences. Admission is free, and we do accept donations in the gift shop and in donation boxes in the lobby. The main gallery is designed as a self-guided tour, in chronological order, through the history of airborne and special operations soldiers from 1940 to the present. The temporary gallery changes periodically and displays a myriad of exhibits pertaining to the United States Army airborne and special operations units through their history and conflicts from World War II to the present. See more..
  12. 5.0 Fort Macon State Park (1.069 reviews)
    - A very pleasant stroll through the park
    Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM State Parks
    Fort Macon State Park image
    If you have one or two hours you should visit this state park. We happened to meet a very nice staff (could be a volunteer) dressed up in the old uniform and carry the old riffle doing the demonstration of how the riffle & bayonet worked. He also explained what the symbol of different buckles on the uniform stands for. We went on a short trail to a gazebo through the wooden walkway. It was a nice view of Beaufort and etc... See more..
  13. 4.5 Biltmore (27.4k reviews)
    - Not Just a Mansion; It's an Immense Estate with Something for Everyone
    Spent More than 3 hours Historic Sites • History Museums
    Biltmore image
    This historic country estate in Asheville spans 8,000 acres and is centered on America's largest private home, the Biltmore House. Besides touring the lavish Châteauesque-style mansion and admiring its architecture and beautifully landscaped gardens, you can also book a stay at the estate's hotel, inn or cottages. Start the morning with a massage at the estate’s spa, go shopping at Antler Hill Village, tackle a hiking trail, and wind down with a meal and a glass of red at the restaurant and winery. If you’re visiting during the holiday season, the Candlelight Christmas tour is one of Biltmore’s must-dos. – Tripadvisor See more..
  14. 4.5 Wright Brothers National Memorial (4.361 reviews)
    - Beautiful day for a walk in history
    Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Historic Sites • History Museums
    Wright Brothers National Memorial image
    Park where visitors can see a replica of the Wright Brothers' plane and receive an entertaining history of flight. See more..
  15. 4.5 Battleship North Carolina (3.571 reviews)
    - A time machine into the life of WWII in the USN
    Sunday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Spent 2-3 hours Ships
    Battleship North Carolina image
    As you walk the decks of the NORTH CAROLINA, imagine yourself in the South Pacific during WWII searching the sky for enemy aircraft, anticipating what may happen next. Step aboard the most decorated US Battleship of WWII! Explore nine decks, crew's quarters, gun turrets, and much more. Discover where history comes alive. Located at the junctions of highways 17, 76, 74, 421 on the Cape Fear River across from historic downtown Wilmington. Open every day! See more..
  16. 4.5 The North Carolina Arboretum (2.762 reviews)
    - Wonderful day
    Sunday: 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM Spent 2-3 hours National Parks • Gardens
    The North Carolina Arboretum image
    Nestled in the Southern Appalachian Mountains just south of Asheville, The North Carolina Arboretum offers acres of cultivated gardens and groomed trails featuring some of the most beautiful, botanically-diverse plants in the region. See more..
  17. 4.5 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (2.613 reviews)
    - Great history on the Outer Banks
    Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Historic Sites • Lighthouses
    Cape Hatteras Lighthouse image
    The nation's tallest lighthouse was moved to a different location to preserve it. See more..
  18. 4.5 Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park (2.601 reviews)
    - Great place to visit along with seeing Lake Lure
    Sunday: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM Nature & Wildlife Areas • Lookouts • Hiking Trails
    Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park image
    Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is an international outdoor destination in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC, attracting visitors from around the world. Highlights include:- 75-mile panoramic views overlooking Lake Lure- 404-foot waterfall, one of the highest of its kind east of the Mississippi River- The Last of the Mohicans scenes were filmed here- ancient geologic formations- 198-foot tunnel & elevator inside the mountain- six scenic hiking trails- guided rock climbing & more The Park's modernized elevator offers a handicap-accessible 35-sec. ride to the iconic Chimney, an alternative to "nature's Ultimate Stairmaster," the Outcroppings trail. Chimney Rock has something for everyone from the family-friendly Great Woodland Adventure trail to the stunning Skyline trail to Exclamation Point. Recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic outdoor attractions, Chimney Rock is located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, NC See more..
  19. 4.5 NASCAR Hall of Fame (2.454 reviews)
    - Vroom, Vroom…
    Sunday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Speciality Museums
    NASCAR Hall of Fame image
    The NASCAR Hall of Fame is where legends live on. Where fun lives on. Where the race lives on. Enjoy amazing artifacts, interactive exhibits, simulator rides and special events at the High Octane Theater. Plus, you can grab a bite to eat in the NASCAR Hall of Fame Café or at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant. You also can take home a souvenir at the gift shop to help you remember it all. See more..
  20. 4.5 North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (2.318 reviews)
    - A treasure
    Sunday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Spent 2-3 hours Natural History Museums • Science Museums
    North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences image
    The Southeast's largest natural history museum features dinosaurs, whale skeletons, live animals, walk-through dioramas, special exhibits, hands-on science education and accessible scientists. IMLS National Medal Finalist, 2014. See more..
  21. 4.5 Jockey's Ridge State Park (2.303 reviews)
    - Highlight of our trip!
    Sunday: 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM State Parks • Parks • Geologic Formations
    Jockey's Ridge State Park image
    Two of the highest sand dunes on the East Coast are located here, providing excellent take-off points for hang gliders. See more..
  22. 4.5 Currituck Beach Lighthouse (2.249 reviews)
    - Currituck Lighthouse is a Great Climb
    Closed now - 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Spent < 1 hour Speciality Museums • Lighthouses
    Currituck Beach Lighthouse image
    Open daily for climbing 9a-5pm, weather permitting through December 1. Climb the 220 steps to the top for a breathtaking view while learning from docents, brochures, and exhibits about shipwrecks, the lives of lighthouse keepers, the history and national significance of the tower (it filled the last remaining dark space on the east coast in 1875) and the tower's original 1st order Fresnel lens. The beacon continues to be an active aid to navigation (3 seconds on, 17 off). The station is preservation effort of the Outer Banks Conservationists along with the State of NC and the USCG through the NHLHP Act of 2000. $12/person (card or cash); admission paid at tower. No online or advance reservations available. Climbers ages 4 welcome. Dogs on leashes welcome on grounds. Drones and drone operators must stay outside fenceline. See more..
  23. 4.5 Grandfather Mountain (2.203 reviews)
    - Mile High Views
    Mountains • Nature & Wildlife Areas
    Grandfather Mountain image
    Grandfather Mountain’s pristine scenery and sweeping vistas rejuvenate mind and spirit. At an elevation of 5,946 feet, Grandfather is recognized as one of the world’s most diverse nature preserves. Be exhilarated by the altitude and panoramic views from the Mile High Swinging Bridge; stand eye-to-eye with bears, cougars and otters in natural habitats. Dine in the restaurant or find a scenic picnic spot, browse the nature museum, wander the trails, go behind the scenes of the animal habitats, visit with knowledgeable naturalists, and stop for a treat at the fudge shop. Fill your day with family memories at place where wonders never cease. See more..
  24. 4.5 Bodie Island Lighthouse (2.153 reviews)
    - Plan ahead because this can’t be missed.
    Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM Lighthouses
    Bodie Island Lighthouse image
    An interesting and still important lighthouse that can be visited but not climbed. (NOTE: The lighthouse is currently under construction, and is expected to re-open in summer 2013, with the ability to be climbed for the first time) See more..
  25. 4.5 North Carolina Museum of Art (1.827 reviews)
    - Really worth visiting!
    Sunday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM Art Museums
    North Carolina Museum of Art image
    One of the leading art museums in the American South, the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) recently completed a major, three-year expansion that places it in the front ranks of museums nationwide. The NCMA offers a permanent collection spanning more than 5,000 years, a variety of celebrated exhibitions and public programs, an amphitheater for outdoor performances, and the nation’s largest museum park—164 acres of trails and parkland containing major works of art. See more..
  26. 4.5 North Carolina Zoo (1.670 reviews)
    - Great zoo!
    Sunday: 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Spent More than 3 hours Zoos
    North Carolina Zoo image
    We are excited to welcome you to the Zoo! Tickets can be purchased at the gate on the day of your visit. Face coverings and social distancing are recommended for individuals who are not fully vaccinated. Face coverings are required at the Acacia Station Giraffe Deck. At the North Carolina Zoo, we seek to inspire a lifelong curiosity about wildlife and a passion for protecting it. As the world’s largest natural habitat zoo, the North Carolina Zoo and its dedicated staff of experts provide expansive spaces and world-class care for the more than 1,700 animals here giving our guests the chance to witness the majesty of the wild in the heart of North Carolina. At the same time, our animal experts work tirelessly in the Zoo and around the world to ensure the protection of the world’s most amazing creatures and the places they call home. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. See more..
  27. 4.5 Museum of the Cherokee Indian (1.563 reviews) from $12.31
    - Room to grow but lovely
    Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Spent 1-2 hours Speciality Museums
    Museum of the Cherokee Indian image
    Tells the history and culture of the Cherokee Indians through displays and modern computer images. Make sure to see our current changing exhibit. See more..
  28. 4.5 North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island (1.541 reviews)
    - Another gem
    Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Spent 2-3 hours Aquariums
    North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island image
    The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island was originally founded in 1976 as the North Carolina Marine Resources Center, along with our sister facilities at Pine Knoll Shores and Fort Fisher. In 1986, the three facilities were renamed Aquariums, and we were joined by Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head in 2011. The state of North Carolina owns the Aquariums and Pier, which are administered by the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR). Located on the Outer Banks, three miles north of Manteo on Roanoke Island, the Aquarium is an educational attraction focused on “inspiring appreciation and conservation of our aquatic environments.” The Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). See more..
  29. 4.5 Jennette's Pier (1.496 reviews)
    - Good father/son morning
    Sunday: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Spent 1-2 hours Piers & Boardwalks
    Jennette's Pier image
    Owned and operated by the North Carolina Aquariums, Jennette's Pier offers ocean fishing, educational programs with camps and fabulous facility rentals in Oceanview Hall. The 1,000-foot long pier is open year-round but hours vary with the seasons. All fishing customers are covered by a blanket fishing license while on the pier. Pick up ice, bait, tackle, drinks, T-shirts, hats, toys and more at the Pier Shop. Large public beach access complete with free parking, bath house and outdoor showers. Help us keep it "clean and green." See more..
  30. 4.5 Discovery Place Science (1.480 reviews)
    - Don't skip this place!
    Sunday: 10:30 AM - 4:30 PM Spent More than 3 hours Speciality Museums • Science Museums • Children's Museums
    Discovery Place Science image
    This hands-on science Museum in Uptown Charlotte features exciting interactive exhibitions, the Carolinas' largest IMAX screen and one-of-a-kind Accenture IMAX Dome Theatre and educational programs. And don't forget: We offer summer camps and birthday parties so take advantage of both options before these spaces fill up completely! See more..
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  1. Points of Interest & Landmarks
  2. Architectural Buildings
  3. Churches & Cathedrals
  4. Historic Sites
  5. Observation Decks & Towers
  6. Art Museums
  7. Speciality Museums
  8. History Museums
  9. Religious Sites
  10. Castles
  11. Bridges
  12. Historic Walking Areas
  13. Gardens
  14. Mountains
  15. Marinas
  16. Piers & Boardwalks
  17. Waterfalls
  18. Wineries & Vineyards
  19. Nature & Wildlife Areas
  20. Cooking Classes
  21. Speciality & Gift Shops
  22. 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours
  23. Private Tours
  24. Day Trips
  25. Taxis & Shuttles
  26. Health Clubs
  27. Scuba & Snorkelling
  28. Boat Tours
  29. Sightseeing Tours
  30. Equestrian Trails
  31. Horseback Riding Tours
  32. Lookouts
  33. Monuments & Statues
  34. Neighborhoods
  35. Bodies of Water
  36. Theaters
  37. Beaches
  38. Ferries
  39. Hiking Trails
  40. Game & Entertainment Centers
  41. Biking Trails
  42. Scenic Walking Areas
  43. Escape Games
  44. Adrenaline & Extreme Tours
  45. Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
  46. Nature & Wildlife Tours
  47. Ranches
  48. Shopping Malls
  49. Water Parks
  50. Amusement & Theme Parks
  51. Observatories & Planetariums
  52. Children's Museums
  53. Flea & Street Markets
  54. Visitor Centers
  55. Sports Camps & Clinics
  56. Breweries
  57. Lessons & Workshops
  58. Islands
  59. Golf Courses
  60. Movie Theaters
  61. Art Galleries
  62. Antique Shops
  63. Educational sites
  64. Sports Complexes
  65. Theatre & Performances
  66. Horse Tracks
  67. Aquariums
  68. Cemeteries
  69. Military Museums
  70. Forests
  71. Scenic Drives
  72. Science Museums
  73. Libraries
  74. Playgrounds
  75. Arenas & Stadiums
  76. Farmers Markets
  77. Natural History Museums
  78. Battlefields
  79. Kayaking & Canoeing
  80. Bars & Clubs
  81. Fishing Charters & Tours
  82. Stand Up Paddleboarding
  83. Lighthouses
  84. Distilleries
  85. Casinos
  86. Convention Centers
  87. Cultural Events
  88. Beer Tastings & Tours
  89. Factory Tours
  90. Ghost & Vampire Tours
  91. Air Tours
  92. Civic Centres
  93. Bus Tours
  94. State Parks
  95. Paint & Pottery Studios
  96. Climbing Tours
  97. Universities & Schools
  98. Surfing & Windsurfing
  99. Gear Rentals
  100. Symphonies
  101. Wine Bars
  102. Shooting Ranges
  103. Auto Racing Tracks
  104. Department Stores
  105. Off-Road & ATV Trails
  106. Balloon Rides
  107. Running Tours
  108. Jogging Paths & Tracks
  109. Boat Rentals
  110. Exhibitions
  111. Factory Outlets
  112. Bowling Alleys
  113. Water Sports
  114. Coffeehouses
  115. Yoga & Pilates
  116. Miniature Golf
  117. Sporting Events
  118. Wedding Chapels
  119. Concerts
  120. Cigar Bars
  121. Comedy Clubs
  122. Food & Drink Festivals
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