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North Carolina has the highest mountain peaks in the eastern U.S. and 482 kilometers of shoreline. It’s home to hundreds of waterfalls, two national forests and dozens of lakes, rivers and streams. A true four-season state, six weeks’ worth of foliage dapples the mountain region each year. Drive the Blue Ridge parkway, sample the state’s famous barbecue or spend some quality time in an off-the-beaten-path town. Sunbathe on the barrier islands of the Outer Banks or go hang-gliding just a stone’s throw from the Wright Brothers National Memorial.

Here naturally beautiful landscapes stretch from the coast to the Great Smoky Mountains. Explore the breathtaking views the range offers while hiking, camping, rafting or zip lining. Along the coast, make time to relax or find adventure. Dive into water sports, including kiteboarding, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. Climb historic lighthouses or board a historic battleship. Savor Calabash seafood, fresh from the sea and fried to golden perfection in a style all its own. And get your camera ready: wild horses roam over the sands of two separate banks here.

With all there is to do on land and by sea, save time for all that’s happening within North Carolina’s vibrant cities and eclectic college towns. Here the dynamic natural landscape gives way to vineyards and valleys, as well as premiere golf and stock car courses, historic sites, plentiful shopping and restaurants that carry on the state’s distinct culinary tradition. Foodies can indulge in delights from James Beard nominees and barbecue pit masters alike. And those looking for nightlife will find the cities filled with a booming music scene, bustling breweries and enough entertainment to last for several lifetimes. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, mountains or beaches, the rhythm of city life or the tranquility of nature, your stay in North Carolina will definitely stay with you.

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Must see places

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

These mountains, so named for the thin blue mist that floats around them, cover 111,693 hectares of the state, encompassing charming small towns that preserve the area’s unique cultural history and offering a variety of outdoor diversions, from climbing to rafting to camping.

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The massive European-style gardens at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville

Biltmore Estate

The USA’s largest private home sprawls across impressive grounds (an 3,237 hectare backyard where you can horseback ride, for instance), has 250 rooms and an ornate façade that barely fits in your camera frame. Nearby Antler Hill Village features the award-winning Biltmore Winery as well as dining, shopping and historical exhibits.

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The Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain in Linville

Grandfather Mountain

One of the cliffs on this imposing 1,828-meter high mountain looks just like an old man, hence the name. Within its scope, you’ll find the region’s most ecologically diverse nature preserve and possibly encounter bears, cougars, otter, bald eagle and deer. Take in the view from Mile High Swinging Bridge, stroll nature paths or hike the alpine trails.

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There are hundreds of beers on tap at Raleigh Beer Garden

Raleigh Beer Garden

As the Guinness World Record holder for most varieties of beer on tap (366, and most of those North Carolina craft), Raleigh Beer Garden is an experience of the state’s brew culture like none other. Head to the rooftop garden with its views of downtown.

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Inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte

NASCAR Hall of Fame

All things NASCAR are celebrated in this 14,000 square meter megaplex, which is just as educational as it is entertaining, including a 278 seat theater, a Hall of Honor, restaurants and shopping. Interactive exhibits and artifacts pass on the history of this racing institution.

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The ropes and whitewater courses at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte

US National Whitewater Center

This outdoor recreation and environmental education center features mountain-biking and running trails, a climbing area, ropes-courses, zip lines and a canopy tour, but the crown jewel is a customized whitewater river for rafting, canoeing and kayaking.

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The Replacements Ltd. store in McLeansville, which has over 12 million pieces of china, crystal and silver

Replacements

Over 1,115 square meters of old and new china, crystal, silver and collectibles round out the 12 million pieces of inventory from more than 420,000 patterns at this expansive store. Shop, take a tour or spend some time in the museum.

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Cape Lookout Lighthouse in the Outer Banks

Cape Lookout National Seashore

Three unspoiled barrier islands on North Carolina’s Outer Banks make up the Lookout, offering visitors unfettered access to fishing, swimming, birding, boating, windsurfing, kayaking and shelling. Climb the Cape Lookout Lighthouse to survey the Crystal Coast or to spot the wild horses that roam here.

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Hang gliding over the dunes at Jockeys Ridge State Park in Nags Head

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

The tallest sand dune on the East Coast, Jockey Ridge is a hotspot for hiking, hang-gliding, kite-flying and sunset-watching over Roanoke Sound.

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Explore North Carolina destinations

The Ace Hotel Rooftop in Downtown Los Angeles, California
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Explore North Carolina destinations

Offical North Carolina Travel Site

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The State Capitol building at dusk downtown
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Destination

Jackson