Situated on the south-eastern coast of the USA, North Carolina is a state that has a landscape ranging from the Appalachian Mountains to the beaches of the Outer Banks and Atlantic Ocean. Home to numerous areas of historical and cultural significance, this great state has no shortage of exciting and fascinating points of interest. However, if you find yourself strapped for time, you should try and experience these five attractions, only available in North Carolina!
- The Wright Brothers Memorial
A visit to North Carolina isn’t complete without visiting the site of the world’s first flight. Taking place on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk in the Outer Banks, brothers Wilbur and Orville lifted off to launch the first successful aircraft in December 1903. It was a flight that lasted only 12 seconds, but it changed the course of human history forever.
The site is now a memorial with a towering granite monument honouring their achievement. Visitors can walk the line where this historic flight took place, and also explore the reconstructed 1903 camp buildings for a look into how the Wright brothers lived while turning their dreams of flying into reality. The memorial is a must-see attraction for aviation enthusiasts and history lovers. Visitors can even fly in a replica Wright Brothers hand glider across the dunes and recreate the incredible feats of Wilbur and Orville.
- Blue Ridge Parkway
Nicknamed ‘America’s Favourite Drive’ the 469-mile ribbon road weaves around the peaks of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains connecting Shenandoah National Park (Virginia) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina). Drawing in thousands of budding motorheads from across the globe each year, the stunning route has become an attraction in its own right.
The drive offers incredible views of the Blue Ridge mountains and the surrounding landscape, and the road is popular with motorcyclists and bicyclists for its endless scenery. As the Parkway approaches Asheville, it offers breath-taking views of some of the highest peaks east of the Mississippi River and access to the area’s best hiking trails.
- Watch a race at the home of NASCAR
There are few things that are more culturally synonymous with the USA than stock car racing. NASCAR racing has become one of the most watched sports in America, reaching thousands of new fans each week and its roots are firmly laid in North Carolina. Born of the moonshine runners in the nearby Appalachian Mountains, the prohibition bootlegging era would eventually evolve into the formalized sport that is NASCAR today.
Fans of the racing must travel to Charlotte to witness the spectacle at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, widely recognised as one of the greatest tracks. Experiencing the roar of the crowds and smell of burning rubber at this famous speedway is considered a rite of passage by many Carolinians. Also located in Charlotte is the NASCAR Hall of Fame, honouring drivers past and present and celebrating the iconic sport. https://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/
- The BBQ Trail
If you ask someone in North Carolina for their idea of how to cook barbeque, you might get two very distinct answers depending on where they are from in the state.
There is a long running history when it comes to BBQ in North Carolina. The unending argument over whether Lexington-style or Eastern-style is the best largely depends on which side of U.S. Route 1 you’re located. While both bear some regional similarities like the presence of vinegar in their recipe, the end results are quite distinct.
The debate has engrossed the population so much that over a period of two days in February 2006, the state House of Representatives declined to pass a bill that would’ve made the Lexington Barbecue Festival the Official Barbecue Festival of North Carolina. As this would have implied that Lexington barbeque was the state’s official style of barbeque – and the eastern half of the state would have been in uproar.
Fortunately, while the dispute rages on, travellers can follow one of the many BBQ trails that winds through North Carolina. Allowing them to experience the very best of both cuisine styles at smokehouses across the state and make their own decision on the matter.
- Visit Cherokee
Only the Cherokee nation survives in North Carolina today and resides on a reservation of the same name in the western part of the state.
Cherokee is a tourist-oriented town, located at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The town is the headquarters of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and as such offers several interesting cultural and historical sites for guests to visit. You can learn about the Cherokee tribe at the Museum of the Cherokee Indians and the Oconaluftee Indian Village, before setting off to enjoy a wide variety of activities such as trails, historical dramas and casinos.
For more information on activities and attraction to see across the state, please head to the Visit North Carolina website https://www.visitnc.com/