About North Carolina

Welcome to the magnificent Tar Heel State, also known as North Carolina. The nickname Tar Heel hails from the state's historical roots in the tar, pitch, and turpentine industry, sourced from the vast pine forests that once covered North Carolina.

Beyond its pine-covered past, North Carolina today is a diverse state, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty.

From the majestic Appalachian Mountains in the west to the stunning Atlantic coast in the east, North Carolina's varied “Mountain to Sea” landscapes truly have it all. Its vibrant cities are rich in art and culture, while its small towns maintain a charming, southern atmosphere.

  • 100 Counties
  • Largest Cities: Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham
  • Population: 10.6 million (2021)
  • Size: 53,820 sq. miles (#29 in the U.S.)


What month is the best time to visit North Carolina?

North Carolina is truly a 4-season state, and each season has its unique charm and attractions.

Spring (April to June) is a beautiful time to visit. The weather is mild and the state's flowers are in full bloom. It’s a perfect time for outdoor activities like hiking in the mountains or strolling through botanical gardens. The famous North Carolina Azalea Festival takes place in April, featuring a vibrant parade, garden tours, and a street fair.

Summer (July to September) is a great time for beach lovers. The coastal areas of North Carolina, including the Outer Banks, offer beautiful beaches and warm, clear waters. But keep in mind that this is also the peak tourist season, so be prepared for crowds at popular attractions.

Autumn (October to November) in North Carolina is nothing short of spectacular. The state's fall foliage is renowned, especially in the western mountainous regions. It's an ideal time for scenic drives and hiking.

Winter (December to February), while colder, offers its own attractions and charm. Winter sports like skiing and snowboarding in the western mountains are popular. Meanwhile, the coastal regions remain relatively mild (and uncrowded), making it a quiet and peaceful time to visit the beaches.

What part of North Carolina should I visit?

Choosing which part of North Carolina to visit depends on your interests. The state is divided into three distinct regions: the mountains, the piedmont (the central area), and the coast.

The mountains, including the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, are a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Here, you can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, and fishing. The region is also home to Asheville, known for its vibrant arts scene and historic architecture, including the impressive Biltmore Estate.

The piedmont is where you'll find the state's major cities, such as Charlotte and Raleigh. This region offers a mix of modern attractions and historical sites. It's also the heart of North Carolina's wine country, with numerous vineyards and wineries to explore.

The coastal region is known for its beautiful beaches, charming lighthouses, and historic coastal towns. The Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands, offer pristine beaches and excellent surfing. It’s also a world-class wreck diving destination. The city of Wilmington is famous for its riverfront downtown, historic homes, and WWII Battleship.

Is Charlotte or Raleigh better to visit?

Deciding between Charlotte or Raleigh for your visit to North Carolina can be a tough choice. Both cities offer a mix of southern charm and modern urban attractions, but each has its unique flavor.

Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, is known for its bustling downtown, rich history, and vibrant arts scene. The city offers numerous attractions, including the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Carowinds amusement park, and the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Foodies will love exploring Charlotte's diverse culinary scene, which ranges from traditional southern fare to international cuisine.

On the other hand, Raleigh, the state capital, is a city steeped in history and culture. It's part of North Carolina's Research Triangle, making it a hub for technology and scholarly institutions. The city is home to several museums, including the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the North Carolina Museum of History. Raleigh also boasts a vibrant food and craft beer scene.

What is the number 1 attraction in North Carolina?

North Carolina boasts a plethora of attractions, but one that consistently tops the list is the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Built in the late 19th century by George Vanderbilt, the Biltmore Estate is the largest privately-owned house in the United States.

The 250-room French Renaissance chateau is filled with priceless art and antiques. The estate also features spectacular gardens, a winery, and a farm. Throughout the year, Biltmore hosts various events, including concerts, festivals, and holiday celebrations.

Visiting the Biltmore Estate is like stepping into a time machine. It's a must-see attraction for any visitor to North Carolina.

Is North Carolina good for tourists?

In a word, yes. North Carolina is an excellent destination for tourists. It offers a diverse range of attractions and activities to suit all types of travelers. From its stunning natural beauty and outdoor activities to its rich history and cultural attractions, there's something for everyone in North Carolina.

North Carolina is also known for its southern hospitality. Wherever you go in the state, you'll be greeted with warmth and friendliness. The state's cities and towns offer a wide range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to quaint bed-and-breakfasts, ensuring a comfortable stay for all visitors.

Top North Carolina Experiences