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North Carolina, USA — visiting The Tar Heel State

North Carolina, USA -- photo: Bodie Island Light Station, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina [photo: Davidwtucker77 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0); graphic/composite: travel1000places.com]
North Carolina, USA — photo: Bodie Island Light Station, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina [photo: Davidwtucker77 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0); graphic/composite: travel1000places.com]

North Carolina in a nutshell

From the misty mountains to the sunny coast, North Carolina offers such a great variety for visitors that it needs several vacations to discover the state. Natural beauty, history, arts, culture and adventure are just a few keywords.

In the mountains, surround yourself with scenic beauty while picnicking, hiking, golfing or even whitewater rafting and rock climbing. In the winter, ride the slopes on skis, tubes or snowboards. Find serenity on snowshoes.

In central NC, find one-of-a-kind shopping or tee off on one of the state’s 600 internationally known golf courses. Sample wine at one of North Carolina’s 45 wineries or step back in time at a Civil War battlefield.

Along the coast, dive into water sports like boating, swimming and saltwater fishing; climb historic lighthouses and bask in the warm sun on the Atlantic coastline. Savor Eastern Carolina BBQ and Calabash seafood.

North Carolina: Land of Diversity, Culture, History and Charme !

From the highest mountain peaks east of the Mississippi to the tallest natural sand dune system in the eastern United States, North Carolina takes diversity to new heights. Across the state, visitors will find a rich cultural heritage, abundant history and modern cities. And 600 North Carolina golf courses provide varied terrain and challenges suitable for golfers of all skill levels.

The 300-plus miles of North Carolina coastline are dotted with picturesque lighthouses. A chain of barrier islands along the northern coast beckons visitors to familiar places such as Kitty Hawk, Duck and Cape Hatteras. Along the southern shoreline lie the historic Cape Fear Coast, Crystal Coast and Brunswick Islands. Each area has a unique style and offers spectacular beaches, events and activities in a relaxed atmosphere.

Central North Carolina Facts

During the Civil War, the Confederate Naval Yard was moved to central North Carolina from Virginia to ensure its safety from Union troops. Although Charlotte is in the middle of the state, hundreds of miles away from the coast, the city was considered a safe place for the Naval Yard.

The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, the first state-owned art museum in the United States, contains one of the most distinguished collections of Old Masters in the South. As the museum is publicly owned, this collection belongs to the citizens of North Carolina.

North Carolinian Hinton James was one of the earliest Tar Heel travelers. In the late 1700s, he traveled from Wilmington to Chapel Hill, on foot, to become the first student at the nation’s first state-chartered university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Old Salem is a restored 18th-century Moravian congregation town that depicts life in the original town of Salem, North Carolina. Founded in 1753, Salem was among the first towns in America to have a public water system, a fire department and a school for girls.

Discovery Place, located in Charlotte, is the largest museum of science and technology in North Carolina and one of the country’s major science centers. Also located in the same complex is the country’s largest planetarium, the Kelly Space Voyage Planetarium.

The Spencer Shops Roundhouse, located in Salisbury on the site of what was once South Railway Company’s largest steam locomotive servicing facility, is the largest such building in the United States. The Roundhouse is a C-shaped structure used to repair, house and switch steam locomotives.

The North Carolina Transportation Museum, located at Historic Spencer Shops in Salisbury, is the South’s largest transportation museum, with exhibits of all means of transportation, from dugout canoes to massive steam locomotives.

The North Carolina Zoo near Asheboro is the nation’s largest walk-through, natural-habitat zoo and was the first American zoo designed from its inception around the natural-habitat philosophy. Putt-Putt Golf was invented in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

North Carolina Coast Facts

The oldest town in North Carolina is Bath, incorporated in 1705.

One of America’s most baffling mysteries occurred near what is now Manteo. In the 1580s, a group of colonists sponsored by Sir Walter Raleigh suddenly and mysteriously disappeared without a trace. Their whereabouts remain a mystery today.

One of the earliest wineries in the United States is still operating today at Rose Hill in Duplin County. The Duplin Winery produces award-winning wines from native Muscadine grapes using a 200-year-old recipe.

Scuba divers are increasingly drawn to the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” off the NC coast, where the remains of more than 2,000 ships have settled to the ocean floor over the centuries.

The tallest natural sand dune on the East Coast is Jockey’s Ridge at Nags Head, which stands 110-140 feet, depending on winds.

Man’s first successful powered flight was made by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903, at Kill Devil Hills in Kitty Hawk.

North Carolina is home to three aquariums – offering workshops, educational trips and displays of live marine life – located in Manteo, Kure Beach and Pine Knoll Shores.

New Bern is the second-oldest town in the state and was the first state capital. Royal Governor William Tryon made this seaport capital of the colony of North Carolina in 1770. After the Revolutionary War, New Bern became the capitol of the independent state of North Carolina

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of 10 lighthouses operating on North Carolina’s coast and the tallest in America at 208 feet. The candy-cane-striped structure projects light more than 20 miles out over the once-precarious Diamond Shoals.

The only area in which the carnivorous Venus Flytrap lives indigenously is within a 100-mile radius of Wilmington.

The Gulf Stream makes its closest approach to land off the coast of North Carolina. This warm water current helps to make this one of the best fishing spots on the Atlantic Seaboard.

The 152,000-acre Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeast North Carolina is one of the last remaining strongholds for black bear on the East Coast and has successfully restored red wolves to the area through a captive breeding program. The refuge conducts Red Wolf Howling Safaris to listen to the “music” of the wolves.

What to do / Sightseeing

Popular Attractions
Wright Brothers National Memorial
Biltmore Estate
Blue Ridge Parkway
Grandfather Mountain
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
North Carolina Museum of Life and Science

Offbeat and Off the beaten Path Attractions
Country Doctor Museum
Real-Life Mayberry

Unusual Events
Underwater Bicycle Race
Woolly Worm Festival
New Year’s Eve Possum Drop

A Barbecue State
North Carolina is famous for its Barbecue places and BBQ-Style, see also our article: BBQ in America

North Carolina Lighthouses
Lighthouses reveal maritime history
Bodie Island Lighthouse
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
Ocracoke Lighthouse & Oak Island Lighthouse
Cape Lookout
Bald Head & Price Creek Lighthouse

North Carolina: Heart of Motorsports
North Carolina is famous for some of the most interesting motorsports personalities


Best time to travel
North Carolina has clearly 4 seasons. Summers are normally nice & warm and winters usually mild and pleasant. The average precipation per year is: 111 cm (approx. 43 inches) and the average snow fall in the mountains is only 10-15 cm (4-6 inches).

Average Temperatures in Charlotte:

MonatMax Celsius (F)Min Celsius (F)
Jan11,7 (53)0,6 (33)
Feb13,3 (55)1,1 (34)
Mar16,6 (61)3,9 (39)
Apr22,2 (71)9,4 (48)
May26,6 (79)14,4 (57)
Jun31 (87)18,8 (65)
Jul31,6 (88)20,5 (68)
Aug31 (87)20 (67)
Sep28,3 (82)16,6 (61)
Oct23,3 (73)10 (50)
Nov17,2 (62)3,9 (39)
Dec11,7 (53)0,6 (33)

State Data & Essentials

North Carolina Flag

State Name
North Carolina  – State Abbr.: NC
– Statehood Ranking: 12
Land Area
48,711 square miles  (126,157 qkm)
– Land Area Ranking: 29
10,4 Mio (est. 2019); 9,535,483 (2010 Census); 8,049,313 (2000 Census)
Biggest City
The Old North State oder The Tar Heel State
“Esse Quam Videri” (== To be – rather than to seem)
Highest Point
2.037 m / 6,683 ft (Mt. Mitchell)
Lowest Point
Sea Level
Daylight Saving Time: yes
The Cardinal
Gray Squirrel
“The Old North State” (William Gaston; Collected and Arranged by Mrs. E. E. Randolph, 1927)


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