If you love to travel, North Carolina has so much adventure to offer! North Carolina is a popular place for both day trips, vacations, and backcountry exploration. From the lush and adventurous mountains of the west to the stunning coastline and Outer Banks of the east, there is so much to do in North Carolina.
If you’re planning a trip up to North Carolina, we’ve got some great information on places to stay, where to eat, and things to do.
Check out our list of Western North Carolina Vacation Rentals to help pick the perfect lodging for your epic adventure!
Western North Carolina
If you’re traveling to WNC for a day trip or weekend getaway, you’ll find this information handy. We’ve organized some helpful content by city, so you’ll be able to easily find reader-recommended things to do, places to eat, and lodging advice. Enjoy your trip!
Looking for the perfect day trip destination? Check out our Day Trip Destinations in WNC article.
Asheville is a popular destination for many of our readers and is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. With a thriving art scene, delicious and unique food options, and a beautiful downtown to explore, no wonder Asheville is consistently named on top travel lists throughout the country. Our helpful guides below offer information to make planning your trip to Asheville a breeze.
Check out our Guide to Asheville for reviews on our favorite things to do in the area, plus some really fantastic places to eat. Lots of these places are recommended by our readers and we’ve included their quotes, so you know what to expect!
- Asheville Adventure Park
- Western North Carolina Nature Center
- Mountain Play Lodge
- Biltmore Estates
- Visiting Biltmore With Kids
- Christmas at Biltmore
- Rabbit Rabbit
- Grove Inn at Christmas
- Eliada Corn Maze
- NC Arboretum
- NC Arboretum (Holiday Lights)
- Jingle Bell Trolley
- Wolf Ridge Snow Tubing
- Appalachian Ski Mountain
- Zen Tubing
- French Broad Chocolate Factory Tour
- Sierra Nevada Brewery (Kid Friendly)
Though Flat Rock, NC has become heavily associated with the famous poet Carl Sandburg, there is so much natural beauty, food, and exploration to enjoy. For more great things to do, check out A Day in Flat Rock or look over our reviews of popular places in Flat Rock below.
- The Park at Flat Rock Obstacle Course Playground
- Glassy Mountain Hike
- Skytop Orchard
- Carl Sandburg Home
Explore why A Day in Flat Rock makes for the perfect day trip to WNC!
Brevard, North Carolina is a cozy little area of NC tucked away at the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest near the SC border. Dining, river tubing, waterfalls, and a hunt for the white squirrels that populate much of the city make Brevard, NC a perfect day trip destination.
Check out our reviews of some of the fun things to do in Brevard below.
- Tubing on Davidson River
- Skinny Drip Falls
- DuPont State Forest (in nearby Cedar Mountain, NC)
- Blue Ghost Fireflies (Cradle Of Forestry, Pisgah National Forest)
- On the Hunt for the Blue Ghost
- Cradle of Forestry in Pisgah National Forest
Enjoy a day trip to Brevard, NC, and maybe even explore the Pisgah Forest!
Hendersonville is a gem of WNC destinations, and it’s less than an hour’s drive from Greenville! Home to many u-pick orchards, snow tubing centers, and vineyards, activities in Hendersonville will pill your entire day’s itinerary. Don’t miss our list of Free Things to Do in Hendersonville, NC! You can find reviews of some of the best Hendersonville has to offer below.
- Hands On Children’s Museum
- Justice Orchards
- Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing
- Jeter Mountain Farm
- Grandad’s Apples N’ Such
- Bearwallow Mountain
- Team ECCO Aquarium and Shark Lab
- Bullington Gardens Fairy Trail
Learn more about the wonderful Things to Do in Hendersonville, NC!
Cherokee, North Carolina is rich in both history and culture while complemented by spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains! If you haven’t visited national parks in a while, Cherokee makes for a easy day trip to one.
This is the place to go if you are looking for a mountain adventure where you can delve into the history of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Maybe you will even see some Elk crossing the Oconaluftee River during your visit!
Check out some of our reviews of Cherokee, North Carolina below.
Check out of KA review of Cherokee, NC, and learn why it is such a great place to spend the day with your kids.
Blowing Rock is home to Tweetsie Railroad, one of North Carolina’s oldest wild-west themed amusement parks. You can find out all about Tweetsie Railroad in our review below. You can also visit a mile high swinging bridge while you are in Highlands of North Carolina at Grandfather Mountain!
- Our Trip to Tweetsie Railroad
- Things to Do Near Grandfather Mountain, NC
- Beech Mountain’s Land of OZ
Considered the “Jewel on the Blue Ridge Parkway”, Little Switzerland, North Carolina is the perfect stopping place when traveling between North Carolina and Tennessee. Check out our review of Emerald Village in Little Switzerland below.
If you love to travel, North Carolina has in gem hidden in the mountains called Cashiers, NC. Loaded with Waterfalls, river tubing, and beachy lakes, the Highlands area is the perfect place to unwind while taking in spectacular views. We have reviews of some of the best things to do in Cashiers below.
- The Sapphire Valley aka Land of the Waterfalls
- Waterfall Driving Tour in WNC
- Spencer, NC: Polar Express
- Lake Lure
- Bryson City: Deep Creek Tubing
Bryson City is an adorable little getaway town in Western North Carolina that is home to the Smoky Mountain Railroad! The downtown area offers shopping, dining, and the rich history of WNC without the touristy vibes of some of the larger cities. Plus, you are right at the door of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so you know it’s gorgeous there.
Learn more about Bryson City and everything this mountain town has to offer!
Tryon, North Carolina is a small town that borders South Carolina just above Landrum and is home to one of the country’s largest Equestrian centers. You can check out more information in our review below!
Saluda, North Carolina offers an abundance of spectaular wilderness and is only 50 minutes from Greenville. You can check out our review of one of Saluda’s most popular hikes (with a spectacular waterfall as a prize). If you love river tubing, be sure to check out the excellent tubing adventure on the Green River!
You can explore the picturesque historic downtown of Rutherfordton North Carolina during your visit to Hendersonville, its neighboring city. While you’re there, be sure to visit their amazing interactive children’s museum! You can find our review below.
Chimney Rock / Lake Lure
If you love a mountain adventure that also involves hiking, a gorgeous mountain lake, and a sandy beach with waterslides, then the Chimney Rock and Lake Lure area of Western North Carolina is where to go!
Check out our guide to Kidding Around Western North Carolina, where you can find even more things to do in WNC!
Looking for places to hike throughout the Upstate and Western North Carolina? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Hiking to find that perfect trail to spend the day!
Central North Carolina
For those who love to explore and travel, North Carolina offer the central region with big cities and lots to do. The Central region of North Carolina includes cities such as Charlotte and Concord. With big cities comes lots of adventures to behold! Below you will find organized content that will help you plan the perfect trip to the Queen City and cities surrounding the Charlotte Metro area, including places to eat, things to do, and awesome places to stay.
Charlotte / Concord
The Queen City is the largest city in North Carolina. With excellent dining experiences, sporting events, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and one of the largest amusement parks on the east coast, Charlotte is a world-renowned destination. There are also epic places like the U.S. National Whitewater Center to take your older kids for an amazing day trip!
You will find tons of information in our Ultimate Guide to Charlotte, as well as reviews of Charlotte and Concord area adventures below.
- Christmas on the Charlotte Speedway
- Great Wolf Lodge
- Carolina Raptor Center
- Carolina Renissance Festival
- Christmas Town USA
- Top Things to do in Concord, NC
- Sunflower Baking Co. in Charlotte, NC
- ZMAX Dragway in Concord, NC
- The Escape Game
- iFLY Indoor Skydiving
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Charlotte, North Carolina, with things to do, places to eat, and more!
Gastonia, North Carolina is just south of Charlotte and offers a great day trip destination for those looking to get away for a few hours without burning through an entire tank of gas. Check out our list of Top 10 Things to do in Gastonia, NC, and find reviews of a natural history museum in Gastonia that’s worth the trip below.
Learn more in our list of the Top 10 Things to Do in Gastonia, NC!
Coastal North Carolina
When you are looking to travel, North Carolina has beaches galore! Plus, many of the beaches offer excellent things to do, tons of history, and even some unique qualities you may not find anywhere else (I am looking at your Outer Banks).
Located near Wilmington on Topsail Island off the coast of North Carolina, Surf City is a quaint and quiet beach town perfect for families with small children. The town is walkable, with small shops and local restaurants to enjoy after a day at the beach. There is even a turtle rehabilitation center you can visit. You can read our review of Surf City, North Carolina to see some of what this beach town has to offer!
Carolina Beach, North Carolina is an excellent option for a family-friendly beach vacation. This beach is less crowded than some other beaches but offers fun entertainment such as an amusement park on the boardwalk. You can read our Carolina Beach review to find some great ideas for dining and entertainment to plan the perfect beach getaway!
The Outer Banks is absolutely stunning! Located off the northern coast of North Carolina, this 175-mile-long strip of barrier island offers quaint beach towns, humongous sand dunes (including the tallest living sand dune!), wild horses, watersports, historical lighthouses, and so much more!
Plus, Outer Banks beaches are wonderful for an adventure, including the stunning beaches in the Cape Lookout National Seashore on the southern park of the barrier islands.
Check out our review of the Outer Banks, including popular destinations along the island’s coast such as Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hill.
What is your favorite destination in the spectacular state of North Carolina?
Always up for an adventure?
Check out our KA Travel Guide, with dozens of ideas for the best kid-friendly places to visit during your next trip!