Family Adventures Throughout North Carolina

Our neighboring state of North Carolina is a popular place for both day trips and vacations. From the lush and adventurous mountains of the west to the stunning coastline and Outer Banks of the east, there is so much to do in North Carolina. If you’re planning a trip up to North Carolina, we’ve got some great information on places to stay, where to eat, and things to do.

This article includes travel destinations in:
Western North Carolina
Central North Carolina
Coastal North Carolina

Looking to turn your day trip into an overnight trip while visiting North Carolina? Check out our list of Western North Carolina Vacation Rentals to help pick the perfect lodging for your epic adventure!

Western North Carolina

If you’re traveling to WNC for a day trip or weekend getaway, you’ll find this information handy. We’ve organized some helpful content by city, so you’ll be able to easily find reader-recommended things to do, places to eat, and lodging advice. Enjoy your trip!

Looking for the perfect day trip destination? Check out our Mom-Approved Day Trip Destinations in WNC article.

Asheville

Asheville is a popular destination for many of our readers. With a thriving art scene, delicious and unique food options, and a beautiful downtown to explore, no wonder Asheville is consistently named on top travel lists throughout the country. Our helpful guides below offer information to make planning your trip to Asheville a breeze.

Check out our Guide to Asheville for reviews on our favorite things to do in the area, plus some really fantastic places to eat. Lots of these places are recommended by our readers and we’ve included their quotes, so you know what to expect!

Sierra Nevada Brewery, Asheville NC

Flat Rock

Though Flat Rock, NC has become heavily associated with the famous poet Carl Sandburg, there is so much natural beauty, food, and exploration to enjoy. For more great things to do, check out A Day in Flat Rock or look over our reviews of popular places in Flat Rock below.

Baby goats at Carl Sandburg House
Petting Zoo at Carl Sandburg Home

Brevard

Brevard, North Carolina is a cozy little area of NC tucked away at the entrance of the Pisgah National Forest near the SC border. Dining, river tubing, waterfalls, and a hunt for the white squirrels that populate much of the city make Brevard, NC a perfect day trip destination. Check out our reviews of some of the fun things to do in Brevard below.

Indoor exhibits at the Cradle of Forestry
Cradle of Forestry

Hendersonville

Hendersonville is a gem of WNC destinations, and it’s less than an hour’s drive from Greenville! Home to many u-pick orchards, snow tubing centers, and vineyards, activities in Hendersonville will pill your entire day’s itinerary. Don’t miss our list of Free Things to Do in Hendersonville, NC! You can find reviews of some of the best Hendersonville has to offer below.

Fairy house on the trail
Fairy House at Bullington Gardens Fairy Trail

Cherokee

Cherokee, North Carolina is rich in both history and culture while complemented by spectacular views of the Great Smoky Mountains! This is the place to go if you are looking for a mountain adventure where you can delve into the history of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Maybe you will even see some Elk crossing the Oconaluftee River during your visit! Check out some of our reviews of Cherokee, North Carolina below.

Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock is home to Tweetsie Railroad, one of North Carolina’s oldest wild-west themed amusement parks. You can find out all about Tweetsie Railroad in our review below.

Engine 12 at Tweetsie Railroad

Little Switzerland

Considered the “Jewel on the Blue Ridge Parkway”, Little Switzerland, North Carolina is the perfect stopping place when traveling between North Carolina and Tennessee. Check out our review of Emerald Village in Little Switzerland below.

You Can Hunt for Treasure at Bon Ami Mine in Emerald Village

Cashiers/Highlands

If you’re looking to spend time with Mother Nature while traveling in North Carolina, then Cashiers, NC has what you are looking for. Loaded with Waterfalls, river tubing, and beachy lakes, the Highlands area is the perfect place to unwind while taking in spectacular views. We have reviews of some of the best things to do in Cashiers below.

Sliding Rock
Sliding Rock in Cashiers, NC

Bryson City

Bryson City is an adorable little getaway town in Western North Carolina that is home to the Smoky Mountain Railroad! The downtown area offers shopping, dining, and the rich history of WNC without the touristy vibes of some of the larger cities.

Polar Express Bryson City, NY
Polar Express at the Smokey Mountain Railroad

Tryon

Tryon, North Carolina is a small town that borders South Carolina just above Landrum and is home to one of the country’s largest Equestrian centers. You can check out more information in our review below!

Saluda

Saluda, North Carolina offers an abundance of picturesque wilderness and is only 50 minutes from Greenville. You can check out our review of one of Saluda’s most popular hikes (with a spectacular waterfall as a prize) below!

Rutherfordton

You can explore the picturesque historic downtown of Rutherfordton North Carolina during your visit to Hendersonville, its neighboring city. While you’re there, be sure to visit their amazing interactive children’s museum! You can find our review below.

What is KidSenses in Rutherford, NC

Looking for places to hike throughout the Upstate and Western North Carolina? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Hiking to find that perfect trail to spend the day!

Central North Carolina

The Central region of North Carolina includes big cities such as Charlotte and Concord. With big cities comes lots of adventures to behold! Below you will find organized content that will help you plan the perfect trip to the Queen City and cities surrounding the Charlotte Metro area, including places to eat, things to do, and awesome places to stay!

Charlotte

The Queen City is the largest city in North Carolina. With excellent dining experiences, sporting events, and one of the largest amusement parks on the east coast, Charlotte is a world-renowned destination. You will find tons of information in our Ultimate Guide to Charlotte, as well as reviews of Charlotte and Concord area adventures below.

Charlotte Moter Speedway

Gastonia

Gastonia, North Carolina is just south of Charlotte and offers a great day trip destination for those looking to get away for a few hours without burning through an entire tank of gas. Check out our list of Top 10 Things to do in Gastonia, NC, and find reviews of a natural history museum in Gastonia that’s worth the trip below.

Coastal North Carolina

Surf City

Located near Wilmington on Topsail Island off the coast of North Carolina, Surf City is a quaint and quiet beach town perfect for families with small children. The town is walkable, with small shops and local restaurants to enjoy after a day at the beach. There is even a turtle rehabilitation center you can visit. You can read our review of Surf City, North Carolina to see some of what this beach town has to offer!

Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach, North Carolina is an excellent option for a family-friendly beach vacation. This beach is less crowded than some other beaches but offers fun entertainment such as an amusement park on the boardwalk. You can read our Carolina Beach review to find some great ideas for dining and entertainment to plan the perfect beach getaway!

Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is absolutely stunning! Located off the northern coast of North Carolina, this 175-mile-long strip of barrier island offers quaint beach towns, humongous sand dunes, wild horses, watersports, historical lighthouses, and so much more! Check out our review of the Outer Banks, including popular destinations along the island’s coast such as Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills.

Kite Flying at Jockey’s Ridge State Park