Between the grandeur of the mountains of Western North Carolina and the extensive coastline to the east, there’s no shortage of fantastic views in the Tar Heel State — however there are some that just stand out above the rest. Here are eleven places where you’ll find nothing less than jaw-dropping scenery.
1. Biltmore Estate
You’d be hard-pressed to find somewhere more beautiful than America’s largest private estate located in Asheville. From the beauty inside the Biltmore house to the fantastic mountain views, pristine ponds and more than 400 immaculately kept gardens, you’ll be in awe almost everywhere you go on this 8,000-acre property.
2. Raffaldini Vineyards
Nestled in the heart of the Yadkin Wine Valley, Raffaldini Vineyards sits atop a hill where you can see for miles on end in all directions. From the vineyard’s expansive patio you’ll see verdant rolling foothills, with the Blue Ridge Mountains on the horizon, flanked by thousands of fruitful grape vines — and the view only gets better with a nice glass of wine in hand.
3. Wiseman's Overlook
Head to Wiseman’s Overlook in the Pisgah National Forest for incredible views of some of North Carolina’s most treasured landscapes — all in one place. From the overlook’s observation area you can look straight across to see Brown Mountain (home to of one of the state’s biggest mysteries), Hawksbill and Table Rock. It also overlooks the rugged terrain of Linville Gorge and the winding Linville River below. While the area is stunning year-round, it’s especially beautiful during fall when Mother Nature takes over and the surrounding leaves turn from a rich green to deep burnt orange and bright yellow. Plus when it’s not busy it’s so peaceful you’ll think you’ve got the whole mountain range to yourself.
4. Grandfather Mountain
Grandfather Mountain is one of the state’s most iconic landmarks for its mile-high swinging bridge. The bridge itself is quite the sight to see, but the panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from Linville Peak are on a whole other level. The best views are from the middle of the bridge — if you’re brave enough to stand there long enough to take it all in when the wind blows.
Every year the skies over Statesville are dotted with color during the popular Carolina BalloonFest. Balloons take flight twice a day during the event’s the three-day span and you’ll find anything from the Wicked Witch of the West to Yoda and Darth Vader buzzing around overhead. It’s truly a magical sight to see.
6. Emerald Isle
While most of Carolina’s beaches are something to write home about, Emerald Isle particularly stands out for the striking green color of the water. Once you catch a glimpse of it, you won’t even believe you’re still in Carolina — and you won’t find it anywhere else.
7. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
It’s hard to beat the picturesque views of a sandy beach and waves rolling in — until you add a towering lighthouse with stark black and white candy cane swirls down its side. Then, you’ve got the makings of more than just a pretty view, you’ve got something absolutely iconic.
8. Frying Pan Tower
Located 34 miles from shore, Frying Pan Tower — a former Coast Guard light station — is surrounded by nothing but the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the rocky shoals below. With 360 degree views just imagine sunrise and sunset with nothing between you and the horizon other than clear blue water.
9. Mayland Earth to Sky Park
You’ll never know just how bright a starry night can be until you visit the Mayland Earth to Sky Park,that’s right outside of Spruce Pine. The six acre park is designed to keep out light pollution and any artificial light, giving visitors uninterrupted views of the clear night sky.
10. Jockey's Ridge State Park
Stand in awe of the tallest sand dunes on the East Coast at Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The famous dunes tower above at a whopping 80-100 ft. high (the height changes because it’s a living dune and constantly changes shape). For an even more exciting view you can hang-glide above the dunes.
11. Linn Cove Viaduct
The Linn Cove Viaduct is a 1,243-foot segmented concrete bridge that’s right in the heart of the Blue Ride Parkway. It hugs the side of Grandfather Mountain with unparalleled views looking directly over the valley below. The best time to drive the Viaduct is during peak leaf season for a truly remarkable experience.
Where’s your favorite view in North Carolina? Tell us in the comments.
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