3 Must-Visit North Carolina Cities

Charlotte, NC. Photo credit: charlottesgotalot.com

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Last month I spent a weekend in North Carolina to celebrate one of my best friends getting married! The setting was gorgeous and so peaceful: a rustic estate surrounded by nature. It embodied so much of why I love that state! I've had the chance to visit a handful of times in the past, and though I haven't explored all of it, North Carolina seems to have it all: beaches, mountains, waterfalls, the countryside, big cities, mild weather, small college towns, art, music, great food. It also seems like a great place to raise a family. So with the expert help of my best friends (thank you guys!), I've compiled a quick guide to three of my favorite areas in North Carolina, and I hope y'all like it!

Lincoln Log Palace. Photo credit: Talented bestie Cherie Chalouhi

Nestled among western Carolina mountains, Asheville makes my hippie heart jump with joy! It's a very artsy and colorful small college town, chock full of vegetarian and vegan restaurants, music venues, and art galleries. The town is surrounded by national forests, so there are plenty of routes to hike, regardless of your fitness level. Asheville was the location of my friend's bachelorette party! She found an amazing Airbnb house about 30 minutes from downtown called Lincoln Log Palace that was just heavenly. As far as bars and restaurants go, try Biscuit Head for breakfast, Luella's BBQ and Tupelo Honey for comfort food, Cúrate for tapas, and Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge and Wicked Weed for drinks.

Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (The Research Triangle)
Downtown Durham

The Research Triangle is the area composed of Raleigh, the state's capital, and neighboring Durham and Chapel Hill. It originally referred to the three universities — North Carolina State, Duke, and University of North Carolina — that drove the research and workforce of the area. When visiting Raleigh, look out for First Fridays, Marbles Children's Museum, Visit Beasley's for comfort food, Bida Manda for Laotian food, and Raleigh Times for drinks. In Durham, make sure to visit Duke Forest and Duke Gardens, Eno River State Park, Nasher Art Museum, and Southpoint mall. As for restaurants, check out Monuts Donuts or Rise Biscuits for breakfast, Cocoa Cinnamon for coffee, Dames for comfort food, and Motorco for drinks. Lastly, when in Chapel Hill, check out Buns Burgers & Fries, Lantern, or Barcade for drinks and dancing, and Cat's Cradle for live music.

The U.S. National Whitewater Center. Photo credit: charlottesgotalot.com.

According to its official tourism website, Charlotte is the largest city in the state and one of the largest in the Southeast. Sports are a big part of the city's culture, with even the Nascar Hall of Fame located there. One of the coolest attractions in town is the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a locally owned and operated nonprofit dedicated to promoting an active, outdoor lifestyle. It offers all-day pass programs, classes, a leadership school, festivals, races, and other outdoor events in 1,100 acres of woodlands just outside the city. Soul Gastrolounge is a good option for snacks and small plates. If you choose to take a trip to this great destination city, you have a wide variety of hotels in Charlotte choose from.

Coastal North Carolina
North Carolina's coast is still on my bucket list! I can't wait to visit places like Wilmington and the Outer Banks and report back to you! Have you visited North Carolina? What are some of your favorite places in the state?

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About the Writer

I'm Louise, a Tampa Bay based Brazilian-American travel blogger. Join us as we learn and share the ins-and-outs of traveling with a toddler and our sweet rescue pup Oreo, while promoting local nonprofits and wellness along the way.