Camping Gems - Places to Eat in North Carolina
Blue Ridge Dining Room
The Lobster Trap
Camping Gems - North Carolina
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
A haven for recreation and reflection, the islands of Cape Hatteras National Seashore are constantly changing by tide, storm, current, and wind. The plants, wildlife and people who live here adapt continually. Birding, swimming, fishing, and water sports of all kinds are popular here.
One of America's greatest golf courses and premier resorts, Pinehurst has more than just golfing on an amazing championship course. Set in the North Carolina Sandhills, this resort offers activities like tennis, lawn bowling, swimming in the pool, and beach sports like boating, fishing, and sun-bathing. For golfers, this is a unique chance to play on the same course where Jack Nicklaus and Payne Stewart once hit the ball.
This beach town in Onslow County is filled with maritime history and a thriving culture. Named in 1842 for President Andrew Jackson, this vibrant city is home to the largest Marine force in the world. In the nearby area you'll find farms, golf courses, excellent restaurants, antique shops, and opportunities for scuba diving, fishing, kayaking, and more.
Appalachian National Scenic Trail
The Appalachian Trail is a more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. In North Carolina, the trail winds through deep forests, offering breathtaking views.
Also known as "Race City, USA," Mooresville is the home of auto racing's top programs as well as race museums and race shops. Set on the shores of Lake Norman, this is a great place to enjoy Mississippi paddleboat cruises, swimming, fishing, boating, or jet skiing. You can head to Lake Norman State Park for a day of hiking the trails or visit the Lazy 5 Ranch for animal viewing, taking in the over 750 exotic animals from six different continents.
Cape Lookout National Seashore
Take a boat trip three miles off-shore to the islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore and enjoy remote beaches, watch wild horses and other wildlife, or visit one of the historic districts. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch for the day and don't miss the lighthouse!
For the past 65 years, this historic camp has served as the home for the II Marine Expeditionary Force, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Logistics Group and other combat units and support commands. The 156,000-acre camp includes eleven miles of beach, 78 live fire ranges, and 98 maneuver areas. This is the home to nearly 150,000 people, so the camp also includes shopping areas, childcare, recreational areas, restaurants, a theater, and more.
Morehead Planetarium, Chapel Hill
Once used for NASA astronaut training, this planetarium has a Zeiss Model VI projector capable of showing approximately 8,900 stars. The Planetarium offers shows each evening and matinees on weekends, as well as exhibits, art galleries, rose gardens, a massive sundial, and a science shop. (East Franklin Street, University of North Carolina, 919-962-1247)
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
The largest, most hotly-contested battle of the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign was fought at the small North Carolina backcounty hamlet of Guilford Courthouse. This battle proved to be the highwater mark of British military operations in the Revolutionary War.
This 20-block Victorian neighborhood, built in the late 19th century, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features restored homes that were built between 1870 and 1912. Self guided walking tour brochures are available at the Capital Area Visitor Center. In addition, you can see private homes and gardens during the December Candlelight Tour and the Garden Tour. (Franklin, Watauga, Linden, Jones & Person Streets, 919-834-0887)
Camping Gems - Places to Go in North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Straddling the border between western North Carolina and Tennessee, these ancient mountains appear to be covered in a forest that never ends. Visit the park to watch for black bears, deer, elk, foxes, squirrels, chipmunks, and over thirty different bird species. Enjoy fishing for trout in the 2,000-plus miles of streams, hiking the 800 miles of trails, or mountain biking and horseback riding through these misty, magical mountains.
New Hanover Beaches
You'll find incredible beaches that aren't overly crowded in the Cape Fear area surrounding Wilmington and Jacksonville. The beaches near Wilmington are popular with fishermen because of the many different piers, flourishing fishing spots, and great waters for recreational activities. You can tour Topsail Island with its 26 miles of white sands or visit Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach on the New Hanover coast.
Try your hand at spelunking in this cavern that includes curious formations like "tobacco leaves" and "The Gilkey Room," named for John Q. Gilkey, the man who first opened the cave to tours in 1939. Mineral deposits have helped color the stone, creating beautiful patters on the columns and flowstones.
With opportunities for golf, tennis, hiking, horseback riding, and other sports, you'll find plenty to keep your blood pumping in Southern Pines. For a calmer outing, try browsing through the quaint downtown, shopping for pottery and antiques. You'll find more than 40 first-rate golf courses in the area, as well as mini golf, walking trails, fishing, and canoeing.
From a ride aboard the Historic Charlotte Trolley to a stroll through Center City, the Queen City offers a wide variety. You can take the kids to see Discovery Place and ImaginOn, watch a PGA event, or take in the Billy Graham Library. Charlotte is home to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, the Carowinds Theme Park, and fabulous sports teams. Sports fans will find ice hockey, AAA baseball, NASCAR Nextel cup racing, the NBA Bobcats, and the NFL Carolina Panthers.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Stretching through the southern Appalachian Mountains, this road has earned its nickname as "America's Favorite Drive." The Parkway extends 469 miles between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shenandoah National Park, curving through some of the most stunning terrain you'll see anywhere. Stop to look for wildlife in this protected zone, take some photographs of the hills ablaze with fall color, or watch for birds like rose-breasted grosbeaks and northern saw-whet owls.
With its setting near three national forests, charming Asheville is perfect for outdoor adventures. When you're exploring the town, use the Urban Trail Map as your walking tour guide. You'll see more early 20th-century North Carolina architecture here than in any other city. Don't miss the North Carolina Arboretum or the elegant Biltmore Estate, built by George Vanderbilt in 1895.
Pisgah National Forest
Lush forests and greenery fill this 400-acre forest, a haven for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and ATV riding. This area is known as the Land of Waterfalls, and for good reason. In addition to falls, the forest offers terrific swimming, fishing, hunting, canoeing, rock climbing, rafting, tubing, nature studies, bird watching, and butterfly hunting.
Carl Sandburgh Home National Historic Site
Poetry fans will want to make the drive to Connemara to see poet Carl Sandburgh's home. As you take one of the scheduled guided tours of the 264-acre farm, you'll learn more about this famous poet and biographer's last days. You'll also get to know his wife, who raised prize wining goats. (1928 Little River Rd, 3 miles south of Hendersonville at Flat Rock, 828-693-4178)
North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill
Strolling through this 600-acre botanical garden, the largest in the southeast, gives you a chance to enjoy nature trails, a carnivorous plant collection, aquatics, and herb gardens. You'll also learn more about North Carolina and Southeastern plants as you study them in their natural settings. (15501 Old Mason Farm Road, 919-962-0522)
Camping Gems - Things to Do in North Carolina
Watch for black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Walk through the restored Victorian neighborhood of Historic Oakwood, Raleigh.
Look for seashells on the beautiful North Carolina beaches.
Explore the 'tobacco leaves' and Gilkey Room at Linville Caverns.
Go horseback riding in the Southern Pines.
Ride the Historic Charlotte Trolley through the Queen City.
Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and take in stunning views of the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Hike along Bent Creek in the Pisgah National Forest.
Take a romantic walking tour through Asheville.
Play a round of golf on the historic Pinehurst course.