by Rachel W. / Jun 24, 2021

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES IN NORTH CAROLINA

Great Smoky Mountains at sunset

North Carolina is a beautiful nature-filled state with so many places to visit and things to do. One of the things I love about NC is how diverse the geography is. You can go from the beach to the mountains without crossing any state lines. Here are some places I’ve visited in NC that I can 100% say are totally worth the visit.


BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

You might’ve already heard of Blue Ridge mountains from the song ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ by John Denver. If you haven’t, do check out the song on Spotify or Apple; it’s a classic goodie! The Blue Ridge Mountains are also a part of the larger Appalachian Mountains range and extend from Georgia to Pennsylvania. Other states might get to enjoy this mountain range’s beauty but the highest peaks are found in NC. The highest point in Blue Ridge is Mount Mitchell which reaches 6,684 feet in elevation. This mountain range is known for being surrounded by a lovely bluish haze and is one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the U.S. There are endless trails to hike, but you don't have to go hiking to enjoy these parts. The Blue Ridge Parkway winds right through these mountains making it one of the most scenic drives in America.

Blue Ridge Mountains


LAKE LURE

Lake Lure is famous for being the filming grounds for one of the world’s most iconic films, Dirty Dancing. That’s not all it’s known for though. Along with stunning scenery, forested mountain landscapes and cascading waterfalls, Lake Lure is also home to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, a one-of-a-kind destination. What makes this bridge so unique is that the garden is carefully crafted over the scenic byway of the historic Rocky Broad River Bridge. You can also see spectacular views and hiking trails in an 8,014-acre park located right near Lake Lure, called Chimney Rock State Park.

Lake Lure


GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

One of the most well-known national parks in NC is Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Great Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains located along the border of Tennessee and NC. Fun fact: This is actually America’s most visited national park and is world-renowned for it’s diversity of plant and animal life. The best time to camp there is in the summer and fall and if you keep a close eye out, you might even get to see a black bear (obviously keep a far distance)!

Great Smoky Mountains at sunset


DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE

Mountains, hiking trails, delicious beer, local art. Asheville has so much to offer! Downtown Asheville has unique buildings, museums, craft breweries and over 200 locally owned stores and boutiques. It’s also well-known for it’s River Arts District. As you walk down the streets of Asheville, you’ll get to experience fun street performances and a diverse mix of cultures.

Asheville wall art


BILTMORE ESTATE

A must-see if you're in the Asheville area. The Biltmore Estate is a sprawling 8,000-acre estate filled with lively gardens and stunning architecture. The luxurious home of George and Edith Vanderbilt was built in 1889 and has since been preserved and open to the public. You can explore the estate's history, architecture, gardens, and award-winning winery (vino is always a good idea).

Biltmore Estate


PISGAH NATIONAL FOREST

Pisgah National Forest is also known as the “Land of Waterfalls” because it contains more than 250 waterfalls. It’s also part of the Appalachian Mountains but what makes it even cooler is that it’s completely contained within the state of North Carolina. Some waterfalls that I’ve visited and highly recommend are Looking Glass Falls, Hooker Falls, and Triple Falls. Sliding Rock, my favorite waterfall of all time, is also located here. Sliding Rock is a natural mountain waterfall where you can slide down a 60-ft. rock slope and land in a deep pool of water. Disclaimer: Even if you visit in the summer, the mountain water is always a bit chilly!

Waterfall


BOONE

Boone is a historic town located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, named after the explorer Daniel Boone. The town is a whopping 5,946 feet above sea level and home to the Appalachian State University. Boone is filled with laidback people and is very popular for winter activities. Grandfather Mountain and Beech Mountain are wonderful places to go skiing and snowboarding!

Downtown Boone


BEACHES & ISLANDS OFF THE COAST

My favorite part of NC is the beach, although I might be a tad biased because I live in a beach town ;) There are too many amazing beaches and islands to name them all, but some of my top picks are Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Southport, Oak Island and Bald Head Island. Each beach is located in a charming town filled with friendly faces and surfboards. Southport in particular is not only one of the cutest coastal towns but is also a hotspot for filming TV shows and movies (Safe Haven, A Walk to Remember, etc).

ocean water by the beach


AIRLIE GARDENS

Airlie Gardens is a gorgeous 67-acre public garden located in our home base of Wilmington that hosts a wide array of flowers, plants, and the most incredible live oak trees. The best time to visit is late spring when everything is in full bloom. From a casual stroll to an outdoor wedding, Airlie Gardens is a perfect everyday place to visit or for that very special day.

Airlie Gardens