I just recently returned from a long weekend in North Carolina to visit some family and friends. Whether you're just visiting or you live in the magnificent Tar Heel State, North Carolina offers no shortage of things to do. The warm weather, marvelous scenery, and rich history come together to give endless entertainment. Here are the top five things to do in North Carolina.
Take a Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Image via Flickr by David Joyce
This scenic drive is more than just an opportunity to cruise. Along the way, your eyes will feast on rich plant life and panoramic views. Along the way, stop at lovely little towns, get acquainted with Appalachian culture, or experience the thrill of zip lining near milepost 291.
Depending on how long you want your road trip to last, you can even stop and spend a day at Grandfather Mountain, where you can go for a hike and soak in the majesty of a nature preserve. Along the Blue Ridge Parkway you can explore Little Switzerland, and those who feel adventurous can climb Chimney Rock to experience a stunning view of the mountains.
Visit Salisbury-Rowan County
According to visitsalisburync.com, "Each community in Rowan County has its own story to tell and is unique in its own heritage and history." In addition to the history, pay tribute to some extraordinary creatures when you visit the Eagle's Nest Nature Preserve.
Check out some of the art galleries, visit one of the area's many annual festivals, and enjoy a unique shopping experience as you browse through amazing antique stores. I returned home with an antique lamp and a few model cars, things that I could never find in stores at home. Take time and browse through these shops, you never know what you may find behind each door.
Visit the Coast
Who doesn't love the beach? North Carolina's 301 miles of coastline welcome visitors with stimulating views of the Atlantic, majestic sand dunes, and lighthouses. The seven lighthouses along the coastline exude history and dignity. You have to take a ferry to reach a few of the lighthouses, but you'll find the reward is worth the effort when you get up close to these old giants.
Visit the Outer Banks and go hang-gliding or surfing. The Outer Banks are one of the few places on the East Coast that get constant waves suitable for surfing. Light up your imagination by visiting the site of Blackbeard's last battle. After you work up an appetite from your day on the water, visit a nearby restaurant for fresh seafood.
Throw a House Party or Barbecue
The mild climate of North Carolina makes it a perfect place to slow down and just enjoy the company of friends and family. Whether you live there or you're just staying in a vacation rental, hosting a house party or barbecue is a great way to savor North Carolina.
If you plan to host a party at your own home, remember the importance of having accurate insurance coverage on your home. Think ahead and investigate quotes for NC insurance rates; it won't take a lot of your time, and you'll be avoiding any major liability issues that could arise down the road. Certain times of the year can be very dry in North Carolina, and the possibility of brush fires is very real. Be sure to take the proper precautions before starting a campfire to assure the safety of the home and friends and family enjoying the fire.
Hit the Links and Enjoy Sporting Events
North Carolina is home to hundreds of golf courses, so channel your inner Tiger Woods at any of them, almost any time during the year. If golf isn't for you, visit one of North Carolina's racetracks like Mooresville or the 311 Speedway to watch as vehicles dash around at thrilling speeds. Some of the top college sports programs call North Carolina home, with UNC, Duke, NC State, and Wake Forest having campuses in the state. Each campus holds sporting events nearly year round, and by checking their athletic websites, you might get lucky and catch a game!
Whether your appetite is for slowing down or speeding up, North Carolina welcomes you with its many things to do. The above five things are just the start of the possibilities that are open to you in the Tar Heel State.