Whether you’re planning a weekend trip or a more-extended stay in the Southern state of North Carolina, there’s no shortage of things to do and exciting ‘firsts’, just waiting to be discovered. There are new attractions to explore, familiar activities to experience: all drawing visitors back here year after year. Check out our guide to the top five must-visits in North Carolina: 

Biltmore, Asheville 

Explore the beautiful Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. As America’s largest private home, Biltmore House has 250 rooms and stunning, historic gardens. There’s 8,000 acres of grounds to experience in a variety of ways, including rafting or horseback riding. Antler Hill Village is home to the award-winning Biltmore Winery and provides a relaxing place to dine, shop, and muse historical exhibits. Inn on Biltmore Estate is a four-star inn on the property that offers a luxurious getaway.

Birthplace of Pepsi: New Bern

First-time visitors, beware: if you ask for a Coke in New Bern, you’ll receive some funny looks… This community is proud to live in the birthplace of Pepsi Cola, and the fact is celebrated at several locations around downtown. Experience the Pepsi Family Center at the North Carolina History Center, antique stores which present ancient Pepsi bottles, and the signature Pepsi Store. 

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

You may not think of beach scenes when you imagine North Carolina. However, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the state’s Outer Banks shoreline. Looked after by the U.S. National Park Service, Cape Hatteras is a cape located at a bend in one of the barrier islands of North Carolina - Hatteras Island. Enjoy the scenic beaches that have some of the best surfing plus kayaking, fishing, walking, and birding activities. No matter what you enjoy doing, there is something for everyone to explore. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park 

Situated in North Carolina’s westernmost corner and sitting on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, you’ll find the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – America’s most visited national park. It is world-renowned for its diversity of animal and plant life, the beauty of its historic mountains, and the quality of its Southern Appalachian mountain culture. The Southern Appalachian Mountains, which provide a wealth of outdoor adventures, are some of the highest mountains in the East, so expect spectacular views. 

Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain towers 1.8 kilometres above northwest North Carolina and is estimated to be 300 million years old. As a guest, you’ll pay an admission fee to drive your vehicle through the park, stopping along the way to explore various activities, including native wildlife exhibits and the famous High Swinging Bridge that connects two peaks at 1.6 kilometres above sea level. Grandfather Mountain is another great option for those that love the outdoors and wide, open spaces.