We have listed below just a few
of our favorite North Carolina Beach and Mountain destinations, and will
continue to add more NC beach and mountain destinations. If you would like
to suggest NC trip destinations for inclusion, please
. We welcome your suggestions!
Children's Museum of Wilmington , 116 Orange Street, Wilmington,
NC 28401 - Originally opened in 1997, the Children's Museum of
Wilmington has continued to grow over the years and now has re-opened in
its beautiful, expansive new home on a quaint, shady tree-lined street in
historic downtown Wilmington. The Children's Museum offers fun
activities for children of all ages, including an Art Studio where
children can create their own masterpieces, a Pirate Ship for climbing and
exploring, with wonderful props for imaginative play (don't miss the
hidden mermaid, octopus and giant oyster!), a Grocery Store where children
can shop for pretend groceries or check-out groceries at the cash
register, a pretend International Diner where children take orders and put
on an apron and play short-order chef, Imagination Circus with lots of fun
games and activities, a long train table with wooden trains and wooden
boats, Animal Friends (where children can visit animals such as a
chinchilla or a bunny rabbit), a Toddler Room for younger children and
their parents or caregivers, a fun outdoor play area featuring giant
bubble blowing, a rock wall and a giant rope spider's web for climbing, and so much more
for lots of fun imaginative play! Children won't want to leave and
will enjoy visiting again and again! New
location in Historic Downtown Wilmington now open (Summer, 2006!) Hours of Operation: Monday 9-5 (open Mondays from June-August
only); Tuesday-Saturday 9-5; Sunday 1-5. Admission $7.00; babies 12
months and under Free; memberships available. (910) 254-3534
North Carolina (downtown Wilmington, NC) The most decorated U.S.
Battleship of WWII has 15 battle stars and has been on tour since
1941. Explore nine decks, crews' quarters, gun turrets, and much
more. (910) 251-5797.
- N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher
(Amazing sea life right before your eyes! Watch the sea horses and
pet the starfish and other North Carolina sea creatures. Interact with scuba divers who answer questions
from the audience while swimming around with sharks, fish, skates, and
other sea life! Lots of fun for the whole family.) Located on US 421 @ 15 miles south of
Wilmington, just beyond Kure Beach. From Southport take the
Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry. 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach,
NC 28449. (866) 301-3476.
- Play on the beautiful expansive white sand beach at Wrightsville Beach.
- Carolina Beach State Park (Look for the Venus Flytraps!)
- Fort Fisher State Recreation Area
- Downtown Wilmington Historic Riverfront District (shops and restaurants
in a beautiful historic riverfront setting; horse drawn carriage tours)
- Shopping in downtown Wilmington at the historic Cotton Exchange
- Bellamy Mansion Museum of History & Design Arts (spectacular
restored 22-room antebellum house c. 1861and formal gardens. (910)
- Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson - Visit the excavated ruins of
a colonial port town that was founded in 1726 and burned by the British in
1776; during the Civil War Fort Anderson was the site of a battle in
1865. (Located off of NC 133 near Orton Plantation). (910)
- Cape Fear Museum of History and Science (featuring Wilmington's
Giant Ground sloth from the prehistoric era.) (910) 341-4350.
- Hugh MacRae Park (giant public playground; lots of fun for children)
- New Hanover County Parks. Located on Oleander Drive, one block East of
S. College Road.
Cars are not
allowed on this beautiful and unique beach island. Residents and
guests take a 20-minute ferry ride to the island and use golf carts,
bicycles, or their own two feet for transportation on the island.
(If you will be renting accommodations, ask whether access to the Bald
Head Island club and pool are included.)
Time from Chapel Hill area to Bald Head Island:
3-4 hours + 20-minute ferry
Beaufort by the Sea, NC Wild ponies at Shackleford Banks, Blackbeard the Pirate, and the
Atlantic Beach, Morehead City and much more
Founded in 1709, Beaufort , NC
is North Carolina's third oldest town. Beaufort is the seat of
Carteret County (the Crystal Coast), and is a great place to take
historical strolls. The historic homes are beautiful and the town is
wonderfully scenic. Visit the Old Burying Grounds (300 year old
cemetery), Blackbeard the
Pirate's House (The Hammock House), and go on the Beaufort
Ghost Walk. Blackbeard's
ship, the "Queen Anne's Revenge," was discovered late 1996 in the shoals of the Beaufort Inlet at
Beaufort, NC and recovery was expected to last several years. Also
visit the nearby islands. Wild ponies roam at Shackleford Banks, not
far from Beaufort!
Time from Chapel Hill area to Beaufort, NC:
3.5 - 4 hours
The Crystal Coast is at the southern end of the great barrier island chain called the Outer Banks.
It is a three-hour drive from Raleigh (a straight shot on U.S. Highway
70), and only a few hours from Greenville.
NC Carova Beach, Corolla,
Duck, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, Nags Head
Roanoke Island, Hatteras Island, Ocracoke Island
- The N.C. Aquarium on Roanoke
Island(Located at 374 Airport Road, off Highway 64 Business on the
north end of Roanoke Island near Manteo.) P.O. Box 967, 374 Airport
Road, Manteo, NC 27954-0967. (866)332-3475.
- Run up and down the sand dunes at Kitty Hawk. Visit Jockey's
Ridge State Park - 42-acre park has the largest natural living sand
dune on the East Coast. (Walk around the valleys and hills of the
dunes and picture what a desert might be like - all white sand and blue
skies.) Hang gliding, kite flying, hiking, visitor's
center, gift shop, museum, picnic facilities and restrooms
available. Open year-round;
free admission. (252) 441-7132
River National Wildlife Refuge - Enjoy hiking, kayaking, canoeing
(guided canoe tours available for a fee) and wildlife observation at the
Refuge with more than 150,000 acres of wetland habitats hosting wildlife
ranging from wood ducks and alligators to black bears and red
wolves. (252) 473-1131
Island Festival Park - Visit the Elizabeth II, a
sixteenth-century representative sailing ship, and the Roanoke Island
Settlement Site featuring blacksmithing, woodworking and games, Art
Gallery, Museum Store, Fossil Pit, Film Theatre, waterside boardwalk,
maritime forest and marsh conservation area, and more. Picnic tables
available. Admission fee. (252) 475-1506; (252) 475-1500.
- Visit the Elizabethan
Gardens, a living memorial to the lost colonists. Open
year-round. Admission fee. (252) 473-3234.
- Visit the Cape Hatteras National Seashore
- extending more than 70 miles from South Nags Head to Ocracoke Inlet,
with more than 30,000 acres. Lighthouses, picnic areas, camping
grounds. (252) 473-2111.
- Bodie Island Lighthouse - This 156-foot
tall striped lighthouse is not open for climbing, but there are nature
trails and a visitor's center in the old keeper's quarters features
exhibits, a bookstore. Located eight miles south of US-158 and US-64
intersection within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
- Take the kids for lunch or dinner at Goombay's
in Kill Devil Hills and have a "Shirley Shark" (beach version of
the classic Shirley Temple; arrives with a fun surprise and a toy rubber
shark). Kids also will enjoy the decor; frog and fish tank featuring
some of the coolest aquatic frogs, and underwater
ceiling scene. Good food and lots of fun for the whole family!
There is so much more to do at the Outer
Banks! We have listed some of the highlights here; to find more
Festivals and Events:
here for a comprehensive calendar of festivals and events in the Outer
Banks. A great resource for planning your trip to the Outer Banks!
Approx. Drive Time from
Chapel Hill area to the Outer
- Visit the Biltmore
- Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride with Mt.
Pisgah Hot Air Balloons - Take a guided canoe tour on the French Broad River led by Headwaters
- Visit Chimney Rock Park (25
Miles southeast of Asheville) 1-800-277-9611
- Go hiking
- Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway
- Take a historic Trolley Tour
- Go horseback riding
- See the Cherokee Eagle Dance and visit the Museum
of the Cherokee and the Oconaluftee Indian Village (NC US Highway 441
N; Cherokee Indian Reservation, Western North Carolina, Adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
- Blowing Rock
- Blue Ridge Mountains
- See the swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain
- Hike Grandfather Trail (for experienced hikers, the hike requires the
use of in-place cables and ladders; easier hikes also available.)
- Visit Tweetsie Railroad family amusement park (wild west theme;
authentic steam engine and three-mile train ride, ferris wheel, deer park,
cable cars, and more).
- Visit the Mast General Store
- Linville Caverns
- Go hiking and see the waterfalls
- Whitewater rafting
- Visit the "Horn in the West" outdoor theater
Boone offers lots of fun in every
season! Enjoy four modern ski resorts in winter, few people
and long-range views in spring, cool mountain breezes in summer,
world-famous leaf color in fall, scenic mountain beauty year round,
beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway views, and Boone is closer now on new 4-lane
US 421. For more information, call the Boone Convention Vistors
Bureau at 1-800-699-5097or visit www.VisitBooneNC.com.
Mountain lights - (just a little NC trivia!): From the WesternNC.com
website: "Brown Mountain lies in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Parkway with an elevation of only 2,600 feet. The Brown Mountain Lights of Burke County, near Morganton NC, have intrigued residents and visitors for hundreds of years. The lights are mentioned in local Native American mythology, and by Geraud de Brahm, a German engineer and the first white man to explore the region, in 1771. The lights have been described in many ways from being a glowing ball of fire, to being a bursting skyrocket, or a pale almost white light. The fact that they never seem the same is as fantastic as the lights themselves. At times they seem to drift slowly, fading and brightening and at other times they seem to whirl like pinwheels, then dart rapidly away.
. . . The lights can be seen from as far away as Blowing Rock or the old Yonahlosse Trail over Grandfather Mountain some fifteen miles from Brown Mountain. At some points closer to Brown Mountain the lights seem large, resembling balls of fire from a Roman candle. Sometimes they may rise to various heights and fade slowly. Others expand as they rise, then burst high in the air like an explosion without sound.
Brown Mountain is located in the Pisgah National Forest, in the Blue Ridge mountains of Western North Carolina.
. . . " Click
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