Biltmore Estate is a large private estate and tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House, the main house on the estate, is a Châteauesque-styled mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States.
#2 – Battleship North Carolina.
Located in Wilmington, the USS North Carolina was the first of 10 battleships to join the American fleet in WWII having been commissioned on April 9, 1941. The vessel is well armed: there are nine 16-inch, 45-caliber guns in three turrets, and 20 five-inch, 38-caliber guns in ten twin mounts. She was the world’s greatest sea weapon, but today tourists can wander through the ship to visit the mess hall, tour the sailor’s and officer’s quarters, and wander the expansive deck to see the intimidating guns up-close and personal.
#3 – Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.
The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, located at the University of North Carolina in the heart of Chapel Hill, has been a stop for over seven million guests since first opening in 1949. The center hosts multiple shows every day – a schedule that changes with the seasons. In addition to regularly shows, there are fun activities such as a lessons on how to identify planets, bright stars, and constellations.
#4 – Linville Gorge and Falls.
Known as the “Grand Canyon of the East,” Linville Gorge is the deepest and one of the most scenic gorges in the eastern United States. The Linville River enters the gorge at the magnificent 90 ft Linville Falls, and is one of the most (if not the most) photographed waterfalls in North Carolina. The trails here are easy to moderate, and if you have time, it’s worth viewing the falls from different angles.
#5 – Chimney Rock State Park.
Twenty-five miles southeast of Asheville, a 315-ft granite spire rises to an elevation of more than 2,280 ft in Chimney Rock State Park. There is a 26-story elevator built inside the mountain, making the trip to the top an easy excursion for tourists. Also within the park, the Hickory Nut Falls Trail is a moderate, mostly-level trail to the base of the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls.
#6 – Grandfather Mountain.
Hiking at Grandfather Mountain in Linville ranges from leisurely trails with picturesque views to challenging treks that could include ladders and reward with expansive, mountainous panoramas. Visitors can also learn about local flora, or catch a glimpse of wildlife. Plan a walk across the park’s well-known Mile High Swinging Bridge, a highlight that has been in place since 1952 and offers 360-degree views.
#7 – North Carolina Aquarium.
The North Carolina Aquarium has four coastal locations at Roanoke Island, Pine Knoll Shores, Fort Fisher, and Jennette’s Pier. While Jennette’s Pier is not an actual aquarium, it does offer views of marine animals like humpback whales in their natural habitat.