From the mountains to coast, North Carolina has so much to offer. There’s beautiful scenery, amazing museums, charming towns and big cities. Plenty of attractions in North Carolina get all the rave, but some are somewhat overlooked and deserve serious recognition. From amusement parks to state forests, and even small towns…this diverse list shows you what you might be missing in North Carolina.
1. The Northern Outer Banks
It seems a lot of North Carolinians vacation at the Crystal Coast, on Hatteras Island, or southern beaches. But there's a whole world to explore in places like Nags Head, Duck, and Kitty Hawk. Including a first in flight legacy, shores perfect for surfing, and peaceful beaches.
2. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Plenty of people in Belmont, Charlotte and surrounding areas know about the beauty of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. But for those a bit far, it's worth the drive! You can tour the lush gardens, be mesmerized by the beauty and bask in tranquility.
3. The North Carolina Zoo
When one thinks of the zoo, they think childhood field trips or a day trip with the little ones. But, the zoo can be fun for adults...even a great date idea! The natural habitat landscape makes seeing these amazing creatures even more wonderful.
4. Tweetsie Railroad
When picking an amusement park to visit, you might think Carowinds, but skip the lines and the crowds for a totally unique experience at Tweetsie Railroad.
5. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Perhaps not underrated, but more obscure, the GSMR is one of the best ways to see parts of North Carolina you'd never have the opportunity to see. It also takes you on a tour in a super neat way...while riding a train! You can even take special moonshine tours. Its beautiful, educational, and fun.
6. Gorges State Park
On your next trip to the mountains, make sure to visit Gorges State Park. The diverse scenery and wildlife will take you to the highest fall in North Carolina (Whitewater Falls), daring trails, roaring rivers, and a unique mountain environment.
Beach vacations are all about exploring the coastal towns around you. But one might go to New Bern, Beaufort or straight to the coast with a free day. Check out Swansboro for a day trip! This unique riverfront town has an array of shops, restaurants, and unique galleries to browse all in a quaint coastal setting.
There are plenty of charming mountain towns to choose from, but one you might have missed on the map is Waynesville. Tucked away in western NC, Waynesville is a short drive from Asheville with a mountain town vibe all its own.
Discovery Zone in Charlotte is awesome, but SciWorks is equally as cool and fun for kids. It's central location of Winston-Salem makes for an easy drive and its just as fun without the pricier admission fees. Plus the planetarium offers free 'star shows' you and the kids will never forget.
10. Uwharrie National Forest
When one thinks NC mountains we immediately think of western NC. But the Uwharrie Mountains make for a western experience in the Piedmont and central region of the state. There's plenty of great hiking, great views, and new things to be explored without the long drive to the Blue Ridge.