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North Carolina Travel Guide

North Carolina — Things to Do

Visitors to North Carolina are rewarded with a complete package of outdoor scenery and recreation. From the quiet uncrowded beaches and sand dunes of the Outer Banks on the east coast to the dense mountains at the western side of the state, North Carolina presents a little bit of everything within a few hours drive.

Hike the Appalachian Trail or wander around the Great Smoky Mountains. The rivers that pour out of western North Carolina create some of America’s best kayaking and rafting, and the fishing isn’t bad either. The flat terrain of interior North Carolina’s Piedmont region is perfect for biking, while the beaches offer deep sea fishing, surfing, and sailing to spice up hours of beachcombing and lounging around.

A real highlight of North Carolina is its mountains. Visitors have both the Appalachians and the Great Smoky Mountains to work with, but the latter is definitely the prime area for hiking. This national park alone boasts some 800 miles of trails, and the park’s visitor center has a great guide map of the best 60 trails. Outfitters like Pura Vida can provide you with any kind of outdoor adventure in North Carolina.

The fishing in North Carolina is just as impressive, ranging from deep-sea action in the Outer Banks to fly fishing or good old fashioned rod and reel fun on the hundreds of inland lakes and rivers. The Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains are two of the best wilderness areas to try your luck, and guides like Altamont Anglers cover the fresh water while The Big Tahuna runs sea charters off the coast.

In between the sea and the mountains is the rolling terrain of the Piedmont region. This is prime biking territory, both on road and off. There are great trails right along the beach like the paved path at Corolla that shadows Route 12 southwards. Quiet rural roads cover the Piedmont areas of Pinehurst and Southern Pines, and companies like Carolina Tailwinds and Sojourn Bike Tours can arrange anything from day outings to multiday trips.

Golfers are also rarely disappointed by what they find in North Carolina. This state is widely considered one of America’s finest for golfing, with legendary sites like Pinehurst Sandhills and Southern Pines boasting 35 world-class courses alone. The Pinehurst Resort is a real gem, with eight different courses on site. Let someone like Eagle Golf Tours use their intimate knowledge of the state to arrange your dream golf vacation.

North Carolina also has over 150 miles of beautiful coastline, most of it quiet and modestly developed. All kinds of water sports are possible here, from windsurfing at Cape Hatteras to relaxing sea cruises around the Southern Banks. The surfing isn’t bad around the Outer Banks either, and there are lots of outfitters at the beach towns that can hook you up for gear, training, and even guided outings. Try Crystal South Surf Camp or Sail Wilmington to fill your seaside trip with a little excitement.

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