Thanks to their relaxing atmosphere, their amazing views, and the opportunity for many outdoor adventures, it should come as no surprise that North Carolina’s many coastal cities and mountain towns make it an ideal place for a summer vacation. All the great restaurants, waterfronts, and outdoor activities you can find are great for traveling with the whole family, and the only issue you will bump into when planning your vacation here is that there are too many good options to fit into a single week! But how can you focus exclusively on the absolute best places from all that there is to see in our great state?
Well, you’ve come to the right place looking for answers. Below you will find five of our favorite destinations in NC, the attractions you will find there, and the reasons that make them such good options in the first place. We hope that you find that perfect place with some help from our list!
1. Nags Head
Nags Head is part of the barrier islands that form the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and all of them have a family-friendly, small-town atmosphere that is hard to match anywhere else in America. However, you can call Nags Head the quintessential Outer Banks beach town because it offers so many great things to see and do without getting too hectic. The beachfront vacation rentals are perfect for spending a relaxing day lounging around near the sea. The whole family can learn how to hang-glide, swim with dolphins, paddle on a kayak, and much more in places such as the Jockey’s Ridge State Park and Kitty Hawk Kites.
If you want to feel like you’ve left behind every stressful aspect of the world, there’s no better choice than Bald Head Island. This little piece of paradise can only be reached by a 20-minute ferry ride that leaves from Southport, as not even cars are allowed on the island, so once you get there there’s nothing else to worry about but relax! The kids will love the Turtle Walks organized by the Bald Head Island Conservancy, which can only be enjoyed in the summer. The main attraction, however, is the 14 miles of pristine beaches that line the whole island, on which you can take tranquil walks every single afternoon and feel amazed by the view every single time. Without a doubt, a trip to Bald Head Island is one of the best things to do in North Carolina this summer.
3. Bryson City
This great mountain town near the Nantahala River is truly one of the best places to stay in all of North Carolina thanks to the alpine community atmosphere, plenty of outdoor activities, and the variety of rentals that range from grand lodges to cozy cabins. Inside the city, you can find many stores, museums, restaurants, and hangout spots with a distinctly local feel to them. Outside, however, is where the adventure begins; the whole family can go horse riding, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, swimming, and much more.
We just had to include North Carolina’s queen city in this list since it offers such a wide variety of fun places and activities for the whole family. From world-class museums and amusement parks to delicious local restaurants and shopping centers, there’s something for each family member in Charlotte! The hotels are, as you would expect, first-class, but you can find very affordable options all around town if you look for them. If you want a vacation where you can ride a roller-coaster in the morning, appreciate the work of Picasso and Warhol in the afternoon and have a delicious meal at the end of each day, Charlotte is for you.
Want a vacation spot that mixes the best of natural getaway and city destination, look no further than Wilmington. This beautiful port city is 20 minutes away from three of North Carolina’s best beaches—Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and Carolina Beach. In the city, you can take a walk through the historic district lined with Antebellum architecture and oak trees. You can also expect to eat delicious southern food all day, every day, no matter where you are staying. The Riverwalk is an excellent place for a walk at any point of the day, and there are many breweries and bars that will satisfy any palate.
Visiting any of these incredible places will give your family the best summer vacation in North Carolina, guaranteed! Wherever you choose to go, you will discover a place rich in history, culture, and warm people, and so clean! And while you can’t really take your vacation home with you, that cleanliness can be yours, learn how.