Got a trip coming up and looking for things to do in North Carolina? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our favorite destinations that you’ll want to visit when you’re in the Tar Heel state.
10. Expand Your Mind at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
If you’re looking for things to do in North Carolina that’ll expand your mind, then stop by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. This museum is the largest of its kind in the Southeastern United States and the oldest established museum in the state. The collection features more than 1.7 million specimens of amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, mammals, invertebrates, invertebrate/vertebrate fossils, plants, geology, and meteorites. In addition to the exhibits, visitors can also experience their 3D movie theater that shows films daily.
9. Stop and Smell the Roses at Sarah P Duke Gardens
If you’re looking to relax and take in some nature, then go for a stroll at the Sarah P Duke Gardens at the heart of Duke University. The gardens consist of 55 acres of landscaped and wooded areas, including 5 miles of allées, walks, and pathways throughout. There are four distinct areas: the original terraces known as the Historic Gardens, the HL Blomquist Garden of Native Plants, the WIL Culberson Asiatic Arboretum, and the Doris Duke Center Gardens. The garden is free to visit and open every day of the year from 8am to dusk.
8. Tour the Battleship North Carolina
If there are any military buffs in your group looking for things to do in North Carolina, then a tour of the battleship that carries its namesake should be on your list. The Battleship North Carolina was the first of 10 battleships to join the American fleet during WWII. During the war, it participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific, earning 15 battle stars as a result. In all, the North Carolina carried out nine shore bombardments, sank an enemy troopship, destroyed at least 24 enemy aircraft, and steamed over 300,000 miles. Visitors can explore the ship any day of the year and can enjoy guided tours on Saturdays and Sundays.
7. Learn About Motorcycle History at Wheels Through Time Museum
If you’re looking for things to do in North Carolina for the motorcycle lover, then cruise over to the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley. The museum is home to a large collection of rare American motorcycles, memorabilia, and “one off” American automobiles. In total, there’s over 350 vehicles of 25 different makes including Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior, Henderson, Pope, Yale, Crocker, Flying Merkel and many more.
6. Go on a Zoofari at the North Carolina Zoo
Get in touch with your wild side at the North Carolina Zoo! This zoo is located on 2,6000 wooded acres and features 500 developed acres – making it the world’s largest natural habitat zoo. More than 1,800 animals from more than 250 species live at the zoo. One of the highlights of the zoo is their Watani Grasslands attraction which recreates the savanna of Africa and is home to rhinos, African elephants, Thomson’s gazelle, gemsbok, waterbucks, sitatungas, blesboks, ostriches, and greater kudu – all roaming together without a cage in sight. Their Zoofari tours allow visitors to ride in an open-top truck and experience the grasslands up close.
5. Start Your Engines at NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum
North Carolina is home to 73% of motorsports employees in the United States, including a ton of NASCAR teams, drivers, and employees. So it’s no wonder that the NASCAR Hall of Fame can be found in the state. One of the star attractions is “Glory Road” (pictured above). This 33-degree banked ramp replicates the same steepness of Talladega and features 18 different cars while paying tribute to 46 past and current tracks. The six-decade history of NASCAR is celebrated in the “Heritage Speedway” with historic artifacts from its history. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual fan of cars, a trip to the Hall of Fame should not be missed.
4. Morehead Planetarium and Science Center
If there are any stargazers in your group, then don’t miss this thing to do in North Carolina. The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is one of the oldest and largest planetariums in the country. Astronauts who flew in the Gemini and Apollo space programs actually used the facility to train in celestial navigation – Neil Armstrong being the first. The planetarium seats 240 people and features a full-dome digital video projection system that provides super high-definition image resolution, 5.1 surround sound system. This all contributes to one of the most immersive planetarium experiences you can find.
3. Build & Ride at Legoland Discovery Center
For the old or young Lego fan in your life, check out the Legoland Discovery Center in Tempe, Arizona. With two rides, 10 Lego build & play zones, a 4D cinema, and more there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy. Discover how your favorite brick toy is made, experience MINILAND – an interactive city comprised of over 1 million bricks! Open seven days a week, this family fun location is full of social media-worthy photo opportunities.
2. Enjoy Nature’s Water Slide at Sliding Rock
If you’re looking to cool down during your trip to North Carolina, a very fun thing to do is to visit Sliding Rock Recreation Area. Sliding Rock is a 60-ft natural water slide that ends with an 8-foot deep pool of water that is powered by 11,000 gallons of water per minute. The cost is only $3 for a whole day of fun, which is hard to beat. It doesn’t matter when you visit, either. Sliding Rock is open every day of the year (weather permitting) from 10am to 6pm.
Photo: K1 Speed
1. Experience Authentic Go Kart Racing at K1 Speed
If you’re someone that craves excitement and Unique experiences, then a trip to K1 Speed in Concord should definitely be on your North Carolina list of fun things to do. Known as the world’s largest and premier indoor go-karting operator, K1 Speed features go-karts are all-electric, so you don’t need to worry about breathing in exhaust fumes or leaving with stinky clothes. Plus, the power is instant, giving these karts a much faster acceleration than any gas-powered kart you’ve driven before. Junior karts speed up to 25mph and delight kids 4’ or taller, while adult karts rocket to 45mph for racers 4’10” or taller.
The location is immaculate and features motorsport memorabilia fit for a museum, meeting spaces for group events, an arcade for all ages, and an onsite eatery that serves food & beverages. And since everything is indoors, it doesn’t matter if it’s pouring rain or scorching hot – you can still enjoy this popular worldwide attraction, open seven days a week. If you’ve never experienced go-kart racing before or have never been to a K1 Speed – you simply have to stop in for an Arrive & Drive race. If you’ve been to a K1 Speed, try out their track layout – exclusive to this Concord location.