Photo courtesy of VisitNC.com
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North Carolina offers plentiful outdoor adventuring, natural attractions, endless hiking, biking, climbing, camping, scenic drives and wildlife. Wild horses run along beaches, you can climb lighthouses and hear stories about Blackbeard, the notorious pirate whose ship sunk off the coast of North Carolina 300 years ago.
North Carolinians are most proud of their sports teams and their BBQ – self-appointing themselves the “BBQ Capital of the World”. There’s even a North Carolina Barbeque Society Historic Barbeque Trail! In terms of wineries, North Carolina is famous for not only being home to the first grapes in America, but also for growing every major type of grape available in the world! Food and beverages are never in short supply with 185 wineries, 175 breweries, dozens of micro-breweries and many cideries to choose from.
North Carolina is an all ages state and will appeal to all budgets and interests. Animal refuges and parks are perfect for families with children, such as the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, where you can participate in a red wolf howling safari. Also popular is visiting the Bald Eagle Conservancy or painting with lemurs at the Duke Lemur Centre. There’s treasure to be found too, so the rumour goes, in the Smokies, including rubies, garnets, sapphire and moonstone.
North Carolina sits on the south-eastern seaboard of the USA and shares borders with four other states. Virginia is to the north, South Carolina and Georgia to the south and Tennessee to the west. The State is divided into three distinct regions – the Great Smoky Mountains in the west, the beautiful Piedmont region in the middle and its stunning eastern coastline.
The Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains
Ashville & The Foothills are home to the quirky up and coming which combines buskers and other musicians, creative food, art and craft and natural attractions. You can lay low and relax in mountain spas and hot springs or fly high above it all over in a hot air balloon. No wonder, this area is a popular weekend retreat with celebrities. The Biltmore House in particular is an attraction in itself. It is the largest privately-owned house in America and has its own village, hotels, shops and the number one most visited winery in America! It’s an ideal place to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The High Country is an ideal base for outdoor play and exploration. You are surrounded by year- roundbiking, hiking, trekking, camping and fishing and other attractions such as Grandfather Mountain, where you can walk along the mile-high suspension bridge. As a family-based destination, it will appeal to no end!
The Smoky Mountains & Cherokee region is a special place to experience the ‘Land of the Blue Mist’ and honour the Cherokee journey through, art, museum and outdoor drama. There’s also breathtaking views and camping around the national parks and forests of the region.
Transylvania County is home to more than 250 waterfalls, hundreds of miles of mountain biking and road cycling routes, horse back riding, rivers and quaint towns. As a result, it is massively popular with groups and families, in particular Sliding Rocks see’s hundreds of visitors, kids and adults alike, sliding down a rock face with flowing water into plunge pool below.
The Piedmont Region
Famous for it’s mix of cosmopolitan cities and towns, such as Charlotte and ‘the triangle’ of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and its relaxed southern charm feel. In this area you can sample your way through unique entertainment districts, breweries, micro-breweries, cideries, art displays and galleries, boutique bars and restaurants and see local sport teams and sporting events. Watch and listen to a variety of live contemporary music, bluegrass, Americana, folk and jazz music and theatrical performances.
Attractions in the region include the NASCAR Hall of Fame and car racing events through the year, Renaldo House and Greyland Estate, both beautifully kept properties, popular with tours and celebrities and golf!
North Carolina golf courses are considered the home of American golf – in particular, Pinehurst, Sandhurst, Talamore and Sea Trail Golf Resorts, or as Pinehurst is often referred to, the ‘Cradle of American Golf’! After a long day of competitive golfing, visitors and guests can relax and enjoy luxurious spa treatments.
North Caroliner’s Coastline
As you head to the east, the coastline won’t disappoint either. The regions along the coast are made up of four areas, the Outer Banks, Crystal Coast, Wilmington Area and Brunswick Islands.
Across this region, you can enjoy islands of small towns and quaint fishing villages. Water sports, fresh seafood and scuba diving amongst 3000 shipwrecks in the ‘graveyard of the Atlantic’. There’s also nature trails, parks and aquariums, fishing tours and charters, wild horses running along the beach and horse drawn carriages to ride down the main streets. Endless opportunities to enjoy miles of beaches, 30 golf courses, fishing, boating, bird washing, surfing and relaxing on the beach.
For more information on vacationing in North Carolina, contact your local Merit Travel Consultant at 1.866.341.1777 and mention you are a Boomers member, or visit www.merittravel.com