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Blue Ridge Mountains, Western North Carolina
Blue Ridge Mountains, Western North Carolina by Wes Hicks on Unsplash.

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North Carolina Travel Notes

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North Carolina Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes


Uncover hidden gems, scenic wonders, and cultural treasures as you explore the diverse landscapes of North Carolina and plan your perfect getaway.

About North Carolina

North Carolina offers a diverse range of travel experiences, from wide-open beaches along 300 miles of coastline, to vibrant cities and small-town hidden gems.

Whether it's exploring the natural beauty, vibrant cities, or small-town charm, North Carolina has something to offer for every type of traveller.

States neighbouring North Carolina: South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia.

Travel Map Mapping North Carolina

Map of North Carolina

Map of North Carolina

North Carolina offers a mix of history, natural beauty, cultural diversity, and economic opportunities, making it a fascinating place to visit or call home.

Also known as the 'Tar Heel State', the principle products during the early history of North Carolina were tar, pitch, and turpentine.

The state capital of North Carolina is Raleigh.

North Carolina Overview

North Carolina is located in the south-eastern region of the United States.

North Carolina is bordered by Virginia to the north, Tennessee to the west, Georgia to the south-west, and South Carolina to the south.

North Carolina also has a coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, to the east.

Culture and Sports

North Carolina has a vibrant cultural scene, with a rich tradition of music, arts, and literature.

The state is known for its bluegrass, country, and jazz music.

Additionally, North Carolina is passionate about sports, especially college basketball, with rivalries between universities like Duke and UNC.

NASCAR racing is also popular, with the Charlotte Motor Speedway hosting major events.


North Carolina has a diverse economy that includes sectors such as banking, technology, biotechnology, manufacturing, agriculture, and tourism.

Charlotte, the state's largest city, is a major financial centre and home to several Fortune 500 companies.

The Research Triangle Park, located in the Raleigh-Durham area, is a hub for technology and research institutions.


North Carolina has several renowned universities, including Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University.

These institutions contribute to the state's reputation as a hub for research and higher education.


North Carolina has a diverse geography that includes the Atlantic Ocean coastline, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Piedmont plateau.


North Carolina was one of the original thirteen colonies and played a significant role in the American Revolution.

The state has a rich history tied to agriculture, industry, and the Civil Rights Movement.

It was also the location of the first successful powered flight by the Wright brothers; in Kitty Hawk, in 1903.

Largest Cities in North Carolina

North Carolina is the ninth most populous state in the U.S., with a population of over 10 million people.

The capital and second-largest city is Raleigh, which is part of the Research Triangle metropolitan area.

Other major cities include Charlotte, Greensboro, Durham, Winston-Salem, and Asheville.

Natural Beauty

North Carolina offers a wide range of natural landscapes and outdoor activities.

The state has beautiful beaches along the Outer Banks, which are popular tourist destinations.

The western part of the state is characterised by the scenic Appalachian Mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

North Carolina Culinary Tradition

North Carolina has a distinctive culinary tradition, particularly known for its barbecue.

The state is divided into two predominant styles: Eastern-style barbecue, which uses whole hog and a vinegar-based sauce, and Western-style barbecue, which primarily uses pork shoulder and a tomato-based sauce.

Visiting North Carolina

North Carolina offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.

North Carolina is known for its diverse geography, including the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, scenic coastal areas, and charming small towns.

Whether you're interested in outdoor activities, history, culture, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the state, North Carolina has something to offer for every visitor.

North Carolina Highlights


Located in the western part of the state, Asheville is a vibrant city known for its artistic culture, stunning architecture, and gateway to the misty Blue Ridge Mountains.

George Vanderbilt's 250 room French Renaissance-style castle has to be seen to be believed.

Built in the 1890s, Biltmore is the largest private home in America.

Blue Ridge Parkway

This scenic drive stretches for 469 miles through the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.

Take a leisurely drive, stop at overlooks, and explore hiking trails along the way.

Visit the Biltmore Estate, explore the vibrant downtown area, and enjoy the city's lively music and craft beer scene.


The small town of Brevard is known for its proximity to the Pisgah National Forest and its vibrant arts community; as well as some of the North Caroliana's most beautiful waterfalls, streams, and mountain trails.

Explore the numerous waterfalls in the area, go hiking or biking in the forest, and visit the Brevard Music Center for live performances.


As the largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte offers a mix of urban attractions and outdoor activities.

Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame, explore the Mint Museum, and enjoy shopping and dining in the vibrant Uptown area.

Chimney Rock State Park

Located near Asheville, Chimney Rock State Park features a towering rock formation that provides panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the Hickory Nut Gorge.

Hike to the top, explore the park's trails, and visit the nearby Lake Lure.


Known for its rich history and vibrant food scene, Durham is home to the prestigious Duke University.

Explore the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, visit the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and discover the vibrant local music and art scene.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, the Great Smoky Mountains national park is renowned for its scenic beauty, diverse wildlife, and extensive hiking trails.

Learn how the Indians and pioneers survived by hiking for edibles at the National Parks' field school.

Enjoy hiking, camping, and taking in breathtaking views of the mountains.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Located in Raleigh, this museum offers a wide range of exhibits on natural history, including interactive displays and live animal exhibits.

It's a great place for families and science enthusiasts.

Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is a string of barrier islands along the state's eastern coast.

It offers pristine beaches, historical sites, and a laid-back atmosphere.

Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial, explore the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (built in 1870).


Located on the Cape Fear River, Wilmington is an historic city with a charming downtown area and beautiful riverfront.

Explore the historic district, visit the Battleship North Carolina, and take a scenic riverboat cruise.


The settlement was laid out in 1792 and named after Sir Walter Raleigh.

Sir Walter Raleigh's first colony in the US mysteriously disappeared from North Carolina's Roanoke Island.

Map of Raleigh

Map of Raleigh, North Carolina

Along with Durham and Chapel Hill, Raleigh is part of the state's Research Triangle.

The universities are major attractions in the triangle, and of course the State Capitol is in Raleigh.

The first state capitol was destroyed by fire in 1831 and the Greek Revival structure became its replacement in 1840.

The North Carolina Museum of Art, at 2110 Blue Ridge Blvd., has eight galleries displaying early Egyptian artefacts and paintings by Raphael, Botticelli, Rubens, Monet, Wyeth, and O'Keeffe.

Three Distinct Areas of North Carolina

North Carolina, named after Charles I and Charles II of England, can be split into three distinct areas.

Coastal Plain

Eastern North Carolina

The Coastal Plain, also known as the Tidewater region, is located in the eastern part of the state.

It encompasses the vast, flat lowlands stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the fall line, marked by rivers and waterfalls.

The region has a significant agricultural presence, with large swaths of farmland producing crops such as tobacco, cotton, and soybeans.

Coastal cities like Wilmington and New Bern are known for their historic charm and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.


Central North Carolina

The Piedmont region lies between the Coastal Plain and the Appalachian Mountains, and it includes cities like Raleigh, Durham, and Charlotte.

Characterised by rolling hills and a more varied topography compared to the Coastal Plain, the Piedmont is a major economic and population centre for the state of North Carolina.

It is home to the Research Triangle Park, a hub for technology and research institutions, as well as several universities and cultural attractions.

Mountain Region

Western North Carolina

The Mountain region is located in the western part of the state and includes the Appalachian Mountains, such as the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains.

This area is known for its stunning landscapes, outdoor recreational opportunities, and vibrant arts and crafts scene.

Asheville, a city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is famous for its artsy atmosphere, craft breweries, and the Biltmore Estate; one of the largest privately-owned homes in the United States.

Visit North Carolina

Where to go and where to stay when visiting North Carolina;  mountains, heartland, or coast?

Living in North Carolina

Let the State of North Carolina tell it like it is.


Beaufort is the third oldest town in North Carolina and has a rich historical heritage.

Guests will enjoy visiting many local county sites including The North Carolina Maritime Museum, the North Carolina Aquarium, Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Rachel Carson Estuarine Research Reserve and Fort Macon.


The largest city in North Carolina is also the third largest banking centre in the United States.

The Mint Museum of Art, famous for its extensive pottery and porcelain collection, is housed in a former branch of the United States Mint; in operation from 1837 to 1861, and from 1867 to 1913.

Charlotte's Science Museum

Discovery Place, at 301 N Tryon St., is a captivating destination offering an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. As a top choice for things to do in Charlotte, visitors can explore a wealth of interactive exhibits, awe-inspiring experiments and fascinating displays that bring science to life.


Duke University is a major attraction in Durham, and you can also visit the homestead the Duke tobacco family.

Outer Banks

The North Carolina coastline has a notorious history; more than 600 ships have sunk off the hazardous shores, including Blackbeard's flagship.

From remote wildlife refuges, sheltered inlets, and endless beaches to upscale resort communities, these strips of shifting sand offer both peaceful retreat and awesome adventure.

 Discover the Outer Banks' rich seafaring history and its newest tourist attractions as well as limitless opportunities for fun, dining, shopping, and recreation.

The Outer Banks of North Carolina - at 1 Visitors Center Circle, Manteo - is the official Tourism Authority for Dare County's Outer Banks.


The two towns of Winston and Salem merged in 1913. Historic Bethabara is a restoration of the city's first Moravian settlement in 1753.


Battleship North Carolina is a must visit when you visit the Southern Coast of North Carolina! Its in Wilmington, docked right on the Cape Fear River.

North Carolina Travel Guides

North Carolina (Moon Handbooks) Moon Coastal Carolinas (Fourth Edition): Outer Banks, Myrtle Beach, Charleston & Hilton Head (Moon Handbooks)

North Carolina Guides - North Carolina Maps.

About North Carolina - North Carolina Weather:
Find out more about North Carolina before you travel there.

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