Charlotte is a great place to live, not just because of its own character and soul but because of its proximity to some great vacation spots. Being a driveable distance to the mountains and the beach, you can find a great getaway for a day trip, a long weekend or a full-on vacation right in your own backyard!
If you’re looking to head to the coast, North Carolina has some great history and natural resources for you:
Topsail Island, Bald Head Island and along the Outer Banks, sea turtles come to nest. At many of these sites, visitors can check out these nesting sites.
Aquariums at Pine Knoll Shores, Fort Fisher and Roanoke Island also participate in the sea turtle rescue and rehabilitation projects. But they also offer experiences with river otters, alligators and sharks!
The NC Coast is also known for its nine lighthouses, three of which you can climb to the top of. At Cape Hatteras, you can visit the tallest lighthouse, recognized by its black and white stripes. At Cape Lookout, the lighthouse is known for its black and white diamond pattern and is also the only lighthouse to operate during the day. On Bald Head Island, Old Baldy is the state’s oldest standing lighthouse, being built in 1817 after being commissioned by Thomas Jefferson.
Seafaring museums also abound at the NC coast. The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras has artifacts from hundreds of shipwrecks. At Beaufort’s North Carolina Maritime Museum, there’s plenty of information about North Carolina’s pirate history and artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Southport offers insight into the impact the Cape Fear River has had on seafaring history, especially in colonial times and the Civil War.
If the mountains are more your scene, you’re not left out when it comes to NC getaways, either:
The Blue Ridge Parkway offers spectacular scenery, incredible views, trails and overlooks over 469 miles, not to mention the quaint small towns to explore.
Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Rockies,rises 6,684 feet to tower over the Black Mountains. Located in NC’s first state park, its 1,946 acres offers exceptional hiking and views of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Chimney Rock, located near Lake Lure, offers amazing views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure, hiking, bird-watching and rock climbing, so there’s something for everyone!
- Looking for a bit of a thrill? Check out the swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain! Suspended a mile above sea level, the bridge provides breathtaking views of the Catawba River Valley and its surrounding peaks.