North Carolina is full of gorgeous scenery, museums, and interesting day trips. While some are very well known, others are hiding in plain sight. Looking for a secret adventure off the beaten path? Add these fifteen little known gems to your North Carolina to do list.
40 miles south of Asheville, Saluda is a quaint (population 500) hidden gem that takes you back in time. Browse shops, grab a bite to eat, and enjoy the view while you take a walking tour of historic Saluda. Stop by the Train Depot as well to check out a genuine 19th century caboose.
2. Marshall High Art Studios
25 miles outside of Asheville, this high school turned art studio houses over 28 studios. It's sure beautiful as it sits on Blanahassett Island in the middle of the French Broad River.
3. Secret Falls, Nantahala National Forest
Secret Falls got its name from the fact very few know how to get there, or its location. With the directions easily accessible online, this hidden gem is right by the Georgia border and is perfect for a relaxing, peaceful day.
4. Jones Lake State Park, Elizabethtown
In Bladen County dozens of oval shaped, crater lakes, dominate the area, but aside from the more popular White Lake is Jones Lake State Park. While the beach is somewhat popular, you'll find solace and serenity hiking along the four mile trails.
5. Kindred Spirit Mailbox, Bird Island
Kindred spirit is waiting to hear your penned out hopes and dreams, that is, if you can find it.
6. Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar, Asheville
For every book lover, Battery Park Book Exchange is a must visit. It feels like you're stepping into someone's private library, with plush couches, two-level mazes of shelves with books stacked high (with that book smell included, mmm), and not to mention...champagne!
7. New-Bold Whitehouse, Hertford
Built in 1730 by a Quaker Family, the New-Bold house is the third oldest home in North Carolina, and open to the public! You'll love the colonial kitchen and muscadine grape vineyard. On your next trip to the beach, stop in for some history.
8. Blue Ridge Distilling Company, Bostic
For a fun, adult, activity in Western, NC tour Blue Ridge Distilling. Take a look at the interior and take a sip of Defiant malt whisky!
9. Linville Gorge Wilderness, Pisgah National Forest
For a hidden hiking trail, and some secret camping, try the Linville Gorge Wildnerness Trail. The hike totals three days but this untouched wilderness provides you with breathtaking views, wonderful plant life, and secluded moments.
10. Navitat Canopy Adventures, Barnardsville
If you're looking for some high up adventure, without the crowds, false scenery, or high prices, try Navitat. With canopy tours and zip lines through wild terrain, this secret adventure is waiting for you this summer.
11. Mirlo Beach, Rodanthe
This subdivision of Rodanthe has been battered and bruised by hurricanes, but still remains rustic and beautiful. Take a day trip to explore a beach town frozen in time and excluded from the world.
12. The backside of Jockey's Ridge
While the front of Jockey's Ridge gets all the hype, the largest sand dune on the East Coast is hiding a fabulous, erm, rear end. Explore peaceful nature trails and take in all that this wild terrain has to offer.
13. Paint Rock, Hot Springs
Considered North Carolina's best pictograph, paint rock is over 5,000 years old and contains Native American 'paintings' made from natural ingredients. The Native Americans considered Hot Springs a sacred area, and just six miles away you can find Paint Rock. With hiking trails, hidden waterfalls, and breathtaking views...this is a great day trip idea!
14. Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden, Wilmington
For an up close view of plants that can eat you (jokes guys) Stanley Rehder Plant Garden is home to native Venus Fly Traps, pitcher plants, and sundews. Stanley Rehder dedicated his life to the cultivation of flesh-eating plants, so after his death, the three-acre area was marked off in memory and now open to the public.
15. Bob's Sinkhole, Cateret County
What looks like a pond, is actually a deceiving sinkhole. Named after the man who discovered it, Robert ('Bob) Kaylor, this little section of deep water is a neat place to explore.
What are some of your favorite hidden gems in North Carolina? Tell us in the comments below!