50 States / 5 cities – North Carolina

50 States / 5 cities is an ongoing series in which we hand-pick 5 cities in every state that we think make great places to vacation in. Explore the United States along with us!

North Carolina is a state full of surprises, from tales of Blackbeard the pirate, to wild horses roaming beaches, to mountain-top cities, there are an abundance of things to do and see in this amazing state. Here are five cities that we think make great places to visit whether you are an aviation lover, a Dawson’s Creek fan or a wanna be pirate.

If you decide to visit North Carolina, don’t forget to get a North Carolina Travel Guide.

1. Asheville, North Carolina

Photo Credit: VisitNC.com

Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is known for it’s artsy community. The downtown area alone has over 30 art galleries and Frommer’s named it one of the world’s 12 must see destinations. Outdoor enthusiasts can go hiking, whitewater rafting and mountain biking with the added pleasure of stunning scenic views.

Architecture lovers can tour the cities’ well preserved Art Deco buildings and movie buffs can explore the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, the film setting for The Hunger Games.

If you are in the mood to see how American royalty used to live, make sure to visit the Biltmore, the largest private residence in North America and what some consider the Donton Abbey of the United States. With landscaping by the designer of New York’s Central Park, its grounds alone are worth the visit.

Blogger’s Perspective:
Asheville, North Carolina Day 1
Asheville, North Carolina Day 2
Asheville, North Carolina Day 3

2. Wilmington, North Carolina

Photo Credit: VisitNC.com

Seafood, beaches, plantations, oh my! Wilmington is a port town situated on the Cape Fear River and a short drive from three beach communities: Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. More than 400 feature films, documentaries and television series including Dawson’s Creek, Matlock and Weekend at Bernie’s, have been filmed in this scenic area.

Wilmington boasts nearly two miles of riverwalk featuring shops, restaurants and attractions and a downtown area known for its historic houses.

Between mid-May and September Loggerhead sea turtles visit the area and if that isn’t enough for you visit the Cape Fear Museum where you can see the bones of a giant prehistoric sloth that was unearthed in Wilmington. One other don’t miss attraction is the USS NORTH CAROLINA, an authentic World War II battleship that you can can tour.

Blogger’s Perspective: Explore this! Wilmington, North Carolina

3. Beaufort, North Carolina

Photo Credit: VisitNC.com

Heard of Blackbeard the pirate? Get to know him even better when you visit Beaufort. What is believed to be Blackbeard’s ship, The Queen Anne’s Revenge is still underwater in Beaufort inlet. The pirate heritage of the area is so deep that many of the ships around Beaufort proudly wave a pirate flag.

History lovers can explore Beaufort’s historic homes, the oldest of which is Hammock House. It dates to around 1700 and once was an inn that regularly served Blackbeard. Another historic stop is the Old Burying Ground which dates from 1709 and sits under the protective branches of ancient live oak trees.

Wild Horses are another attraction of Beaufort. They can be seen by looking across Taylors Creek or taking an excursion to Shackleford Banks.

Blogger’s Perspective: Beaufort, North Carolina: Coolest Small Town in America

4. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Photo Credit: David Bjorgen

Winston-Salem is a vibrant city with an array of arts related entertainment, but my main reason for including it in this list is its rich Moravian history.

The Moravians, a religious group, founded Salem in 1766 and became known for their craftsmenship and artisans. Today you can visit Old Salem, a living history museum, and experience what life was like in a Moravian community in 18th and 19th century North Carolina. Highlights of the town include a tavern where George Washington spent two nights in 1791, beautiful gardens and restored landscapes.

Winston-Salem is also known as the gateway to the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail. The wine trail has over 35 wineries and vineyards to explore.

Bloggers Perspective:
Winston-Salem part 1
Winston-Salem part 2

5. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Photo Credit: VisitNC.com

Located on the Outerbanks, a 130 mile chain of barrier islands off the shores of North Carolina, Kitty Hawk is a must stop destination for all aviation enthusiasts. Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial where the brothers first took flight (for 12 seconds). Visit nearby Jockey’s Ridge State Park and take hang gliding lessons from the largest hang gliding school in America and enjoy the beauty of the largest living sand dune on the east coast.

Another amazing attraction in the area is what is known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, a region of the ocean where over 3,000 shipwrecks dot the depths. Scuba divers and snorkelers can dive just offshore and explore these ghosts of the ocean.

Bloggers Perspective: The Wright Brothers At Kitty Hawk

Do you have a favorite city in North Carolina? Let us know why you love it and what the must see spots are!

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