North Carolina

Map Top Sights

1. Biltmore

The Vanderbilt Mansion is the largest private home in the United States and sits in the center of an 8,000-acre compound. The mansion has 250 rooms with impressive artwork, antiques, and architecture, as well as collections of vintage clothing and accessories. You make think you are in the French Loire Valley. The estate's gardens are expansive, including the Italian Garden, with its ornate pools and sculpture, and the Rose Garden. The grounds also include the first managed forest in the country, a deer park, and miles of level paths and walking trails throughout. The park includes Antler Hill Village, for shopping and restaurants.

2. Linville Gorge

Known as the 'Grand Canyon of the East', Linville Gorge is the deepest and one of the most scenic gorges in the eastern United States. Located in the Pisgah National Forest. Part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the the Linville Falls Visitor Center for information on many other trails in the region.

3. Outer Banks

A 200-mile stretch of barrier islands offering natural beauty, rich history, and lovely towns. The Outer Banks History Center is a good place to start, visit the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and take a drive on the outer Banks Scenic Byway. Visitors to Roanoke Island can learn about the lost colony, visit a living history museum about farm life.

4. Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock State Park is home to an extraordinary 2,200-foot high granite spire. The summit is easily reached via an elevator inside the mountain.

The park also contains several walking trails including a route leading to the base of the Hickory Nut Falls, which are just over 400 feet tall.

5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The country’s most visited National Park with a variety of animal and plant life, its stunning ancient mountains, and visible remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture.

6. Grandfather Mountain

Plenty of hiking trails leading to stunning views, with animals and flora along the way, includes the Mile High Swinging Bridge.

7. Cape Hatteras

Cape Hatteras is a thin, broken strand of islands in North Carolina that arch out into the Atlantic Ocean away from the US mainland, then back toward the mainland, creating a series of sheltered islands between the Outer Banks and the mainland. Head for the lighthouse.

8. Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill is a town in North Carolina. It's home to a campus of the University of North Carolina, which is known for its basketball team. The Ackland Art Museum exhibits European and Asian art. The North Carolina Botanical Garden has nature trails and themed gardens. The Morehead Planetarium & Science Center runs a program of live demonstrations. Franklin Street is lined with shops, restaurants and bars.

9. Asheville

City known for a vibrant arts scene and historic architecture, including the dome-topped Basilica of Saint Lawrence. Must-see attractions include the Western North Carolina Nature Center, the Thomas Wolfe Memorial and the beautiful 434-acre North Carolina Arboretum.

10. Charlotte

Charlotte is a major city and commercial hub in North Carolina. Its modern city center (Uptown) is home to the Levine Museum of the New South, which explores post–Civil War history in the South, and hands-on science displays at Discovery Place. Uptown is also known for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which celebrates the sport of auto racing through interactive exhibits and films.

When to go