Top Vacation Spots in North Carolina

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North Carolina offers beautiful scenery and a wide range of attractions for kids of all ages and is definitely
worth considering for your next
family vacation. Whether its to enjoy some of the wonderful beaches and
lighthouses that the state has to offer, or do a little gold panning or gem mining at some of the kid-friendly
mines, explore the Great Smoky or Blue Ridge Mountains, or visit some of the exciting and unique theme
parks, there is bound to be plenty of fun and adventure for everyone.
If you love the ocean and prefer a beach vacation, then North Carolina has much to offer.   Here are some
popular surf-side attractions that can provide a great deal of family fun.

The Outer Banks - It is about a 200 mile long string of narrow barrier islands off the coast of North
Carolina and is home to Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Cape Lookout National Seashore. Also, the
northern area around Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head is quite popular. Here, you can visit the Wright Brothers
National Memorial and Jockey's Ridge State Park, which is home to the largest sand dunes on the east
coast. There are many old and interesting light houses along the Outer Banks and many of these allow
visitors to climb the seemingly endless spiraling stairs to the top to enjoy spectacular views of the ocean
and surrounding area.

Of course, part of the fun is just getting from the mainland out to the island, so if possible, take one of the
ferries and enjoy a short, relaxing trip out to the island. Feel the stress begin to melt away and the
excitement build as you begin to anticipate a fun and relaxing vacation at the beach.

Roanoke Island Festival Park - Located across from the Manteo waterfront approximately 5 miles from
Nags Head, this is a great spot to find out more about the Outer Banks history. It is a 25-acre interactive
historic site that represents the first attempted English settlement in 1585. Elizabeth II, a 16th century ship is
harbored here. The park features costumed interpreters from the Roanoke Voyage and shows visitors what
daily life was like. Board and explore the Elizabeth II and help costumed 16th century sailors set the sails,
plot a course and perform many of their day-to-day tasks.

USS North Carolina Battleship Exhibit - Located across the river from downtown Wilmington, visitors are
welcome to walk the decks and explore one of America’s most historic ships. While touring the ship,
envision the daily life and fierce combat her crew faced in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Both
young and old alike will thoroughly enjoy time spent here. While visiting the area, be sure and check out
some of the great beaches in the area like Wrightsville Beach, Bald Head Island and many others that are
close by.
World War II shipwrecks sunk in 1942 off the
coast of North Carolina during the Battle of
the Atlantic. Credit:  NOAA
It is hard to go wrong with a family vacation to North Carolina. We've mentioned just a few fun spots, but
there are many, many more. There are a number of great cities like Charlotte that are very popular to visit, and
the state even has a number of ski resorts, if you prefer to visit in the winter and spend some time on the
slopes. Hopefully, this list of vacation spots gives you something to consider and might match up with some of
your interests. Start planning your next family vacation soon and have a wonderful time on your next trip!
Favorite Family Vacations

Attractions on the North Carolina Coast

If you enjoy beautiful forests, rock formations and mountain scenery, then be sure and spend some time in the
Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Here are some great family attractions that can
be found in North Carolina's beautiful high country.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad - Your journey begins at the historic depot in Bryson City and scenic rail
excursions take you through the beautiful countryside of Western North Carolina. What better way to see this
beautiful mountain area than a relaxing train ride, which will create great vacation memories.

Tweetsie Railroad Old West Theme Park - This Old West theme park is great for families and children of all
ages. Be a cowboy, cowgirl or engineer. Take in a wide variety of live shows, pan for gold, enjoy amusement
rides or visit the live animals in Deer Park. Top off your visit by hopping aboard the historic train for a fun-filled
three-mile Wild West journey through the scenic mountains. Located near Boone, in Blowing Rock, an
enchanting village with row upon row of unique shops and many nearby attractions.

Ghost Town in the Sky Theme Park - Located in Maggie Valley, a double incline railway brings visitors to the
entrance 3300 feet up the mountainside. This Old West theme park is literally built on the top of the mountain.
Phase 2 - Western Town just opened in July, 2013 and offers many action-packed family attractions. Phase 3 -
Holy Land is expected to open in 2014.

Blue Ridge Parkway  - Magnificent scenery and tons of recreational opportunities make the Blue Ridge
Parkway an incredibly popular area. Visit the Biltmore Estate in Asheville and then start your journey heading
either southwest toward Cherokee or northeast toward Blowing Rock and Boone. Enjoy stunning scenery and
take in some hiking to stretch your legs and have some great fun along the way.
Pan for gold and many other gems all across the state. These are fun family trips that treasure hunters
of all ages will enjoy. Here are some treasure hunting locations that you may want to check out.

Reed Gold Mine -  Located approximately 30 miles east of Charlotte, this is the site of the first documented
gold find in the United States. From this discovery, gold mining spread gradually to nearby counties and
eventually into other southern states. Guided mine tours and gold panning is available to visitors.

Cotton Patch Gold Mine and Campground - Located in New London, about 42 miles northeast of
Charlotte,  the Cotton Patch caters both to the amateur and seasoned prospector alike.

Rose Creek Gem Mine - Located in Macon County in the heart of the Smoky Mountains. Find Ruby,
Sapphire, Garnet, Amethyst, Citrine, Moonstone, Topaz, and more. Many other attractions are close by, so
this is a great area to visit.

Emerald Village - A group of gem, mining, and historical attractions nestled deep in the Blue Ridge
Mountains, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It is within an hours drive of Asheville, Boone, and Blowing Rock.

Gold Panning and Gem Mining

North Carolina Mountain Region