Chapel Hill, North Carolina
No longer just a college town, Chapel Hill is a thriving area with an intellectual environment of college students and lots of entertainment options. It’s also the place where I had my first taste of real Southern home cooking done the traditional way! You can find classic Southern dishes with a twist at the Top of the Hill, but you can find everything from Indian and French fusion to Greek and Turkish delights, too.
Live music is a big draw in this part of North Carolina. For instance, in warm weather, you can enjoy some homegrown singing on the front porch of the Carolina Inn. If you like things to do after the sun goes down, head next door to Carrboro and visit the Baxter Arcade. It’s great for kids at heart, and there are countless vintage arcade games and pinball games to choose from alongside local beer on tap. They’ll even keep track of your high scores.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Image via Flickr by Justin Ruckman
It’s a paradise for all types of families who love laid-back city vibes and tons of activities to try while on vacation. Try out a day at the tracks and witness an adrenaline-pumping NASCAR race, or meet giraffes at the Lazy 5 Ranch. The ranch is a privately owned and operated sanctuary for many rare critters, including giraffes, albino deer, zebras, and buffalo.
One of the perfect spots to explore in Charlotte is Discovery Place. Complete with rotating educational exhibitions and the largest IMAX theater in the Carolinas, it’s the ideal spot to spend a day learning. There are also wonderful accommodations and places to grab a great meal nearby and round out the experience. Discovery Place has a great network of museums geared towards children in other cities, too. If you find yourself in Huntersville or Rockingham, swing by their locations there.
Asheville, North Carolina
The more hype we hear around this area of North Carolina, the more we’re desperate to visit. It’s a small city surrounded by diverse wildlife and dramatic natural landscapes, from massive gorges to waterfalls. The foodie scene is also fresh and fun. More than 300 edibles can be found in Asheville that are often incorporated into local dishes. Opportunities for mountain biking, kayaking, and even rock wall rappelling are all at your fingertips. I think it’s time to plan another trip to North Carolina soon!
What’s your favorite part of North Carolina? Do you prefer the great outdoors or the swanky cities?