When we have friends or family come to town, we want to treat them to the best our state has to offer. Best beaches, hikes, and even food. There are plenty of places that come to mind…but these 10 might have been flying under your radar.
1. North Carolina Museum of Art
If you have a friend who appreciates the fine arts, this is a great day trip. The exhibitions are modern yet classic and the exterior grounds are also perfect for exploring on a warm spring day.
2. Craggy Gardens
Craggy Gardens has fairytale-like trails. Not to mention beautiful rhododendron blooms come June. A great place for a memorable day hike.
Plenty of coastal towns are great for a day trip, but Edenton has charm, beauty, and history. A perfect place to stroll along the waterside or even sail on the river.
4. The North Carolina Zoo
If you have family visiting, especially with little ones, the North Carolina zoo is a wild and wonderful trip. The natural habitat zoo gets you as close to the wild as possible.
5. Hanging Rock State Park
You don't have to go all the way to the Blue Ridge for beautiful waterfalls. Centrally located Hanging Rock has a mountain feel near the Piedmont area.
A lot of people love the Crystal Coast and southern beaches. Yet there's a whole other world to explore in the Northern Outer Banks. This small town gets overlooked but is one of the few gems with original OBX charm.
7. The Light Factory, Charlotte
Charlotte has plenty of great galleries - the Mint might even be a favorite go-to for a cultured friend. But the Light Factory is the perfect place to take a photographer friend or even one who appreciates different mediums of art.
8. Yana's, Swansboro
There's plenty of great coastal restaurants to choose from, but if you find yourself in the Crystal Coast area or even just passing by you MUST try Yana's. With a vintage Elvis-Marilyn vibe and the best fried fritters you'll ever have in your life.
One might think of a fun mountain town destination like Asheville - but if you're looking for something more quaint, Boone has more than just college town charm. The downtown is lively with delicious restaurants, cute streets and gorgeous mountains all around.
10. Cape Lookout
North Carolina has some beautiful lighthouses, but a really impressive one is Cape Lookout. It has a neat design, and you can't beat the scenery...wild horses included.
North Carolina has plenty of great options for your out-of-town friends! What would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments!