From the mountains to the sea, North Carolina is brimming with wonderful cities and towns. Sometimes it seems the big places get all the attention. So we think it’s time to show the smaller towns a little love too. Don’t you agree?
Here are the 10 most underrated cities and towns in North Carolina.
1. Saluda, NC
Touted by some as the next big mountain destination town, Saluda is still a small quiet town in the mountains. If you like the mountains and you love waterfalls, then a weekend in Saluda might be in order for you.
2. Bath, NC
Bath is North Carolina's oldest town and was established in 1705. With 311 years under its belt, Bath also has the distinction of having more years as a community than it has in the number of full time residents. The last population count stopped short of 300. But a great selection of outdoor activities draws people from all over to this quaint town.
3. Banner Elk, NC
Banner Elk was just named to TripAdvisor's list of
Top 10 Affordable Winter Hidden Gems in the U.S. And why not? This wonderful gem has that hometown feel that makes you want to find a way to move here. Two ski resorts and the largest tubing park on the East Coast add to the fun, but Banner Elk isn't limited to winter time fun either. It's great in all seasons. In warmer seasons you can kayak, hike, bike, boat, fish.
4. Beaufort, NC
Beaufort is the third-oldest town in North Carolina. The town's beginning traces back to 1709. Beaufort was a favorite spot for the famous pirate Blackbeard. See some artifacts from his ship Queen Anne's Revenge at the North Carolina Maritime Museum here.
5. Tryon, NC
The picturesque mountain community of Tryon incorporated in 1885, 46 years after the Tryon Post Office was established at the base of Tryon peak. The addition of rail service to Tryon helped the town grow. Tryon is located at the base of the Blue Ridge Escarpment and affords residents and visitors cool summer breezes and moderate winter temperatures.
6. Black Mountain, NC
Saying that Black Mountain is "eclectic" falls short of the truth. In fact, Black Mountain is one of the most non-pretentious small towns in North Carolina. And what's more? They love visitors. Want to spend the weekend someplace where people don't care where you're from and treat you like a neighbor? Go to Black Mountain, NC.
7. West Jefferson, NC
Sweeping views of the Appalachian Mountains are part of the perks of living in West Jefferson. The small town is in the valley between Mount Jefferson and Paddy Mountain. Like so many towns in North Carolina this one got its start after the railroad came along. One place you'll want to be sure to visit while here is the Ashe County Cheese Factory and Store. At one point, West Jefferson was home to the only cheese factory in the entire Southeastern U.S.
8. New Bern, NC
If you've never been to New Bern then you don't know what you're missing. Officially the second-oldest town in NC, New Bern unofficially looks like an original Norman Rockwell painting. Go see and experience it.
9. Wake Forest, NC
Wake Forest is a beautiful and thriving community to the north of Raleigh and east of Durham. Wake Forest (the university) got its start here before it moved to Winston Salem. Take a stroll through the thriving downtown and see why Wake Forest is such a popular place for people of all ages.
10. Murphy, NC
Murphy, North Carolina is about as far west as you can go without setting foot outside the Tarheel State. While you're over there check out Fire Creek Falls - one of North Carolina's natural beauties.
North Carolina has so many great cities and towns. Is your town on this list? What other underrated towns would you like to add? We’d love to know. Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.