From the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains to the sandy shores of the Atlantic Coast, North Carolina never fails to amaze students. With an endless amount of fun, adventure and educational opportunities, the Tar Heel State is a premier location for student travel.
3 Places to Have Fun in the Outdoors
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
At Cape Hatteras National Seashore, students will marvel at one of North Carolina’s most stunning beaches. Run by the National Park Service, the seashore stretches the 72 miles of the preserved Outer Banks of North Carolina. Here, students can climb the 248 steps of the nation’s tallest lighthouse, swim, ride in off road vehicles, fly kites and explore sand dunes.
Chimney Rock State Park
There is no better way for students to see North Carolina’s mountain vistas than by visiting Chimney Rock State Park. Trails of varying level of difficulty allow students to take in the state’s natural beauty .
At Sliding Rock in Pisgah National Forest, students can cascade down a 50-foot, naturally formed slide into a 7-foot deep pool where they can swim, relax and have fun. Two observation platforms with lifeguards on duty ensure a safe visit.
4 Historical Experiences Unique to North Carolina
Battleship North Carolina
A must-see for any history buff, the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington allows students to board and explore a decorated American battleship. Self-guided tours are interactive, and students can expect to maneuver through passageways just as the officers and crew of the USS North Carolina did when the ship was in use. Start the experience by viewing the introductory movie in the auditorium and then browse through the exhibit hall and head up the gangway to board the ship.
Wheels through Time Museum
The Wheels through Time Museum in Maggie Valley presents a large collection of rare American motorcycles and related memorabilia from 1903 to the present. More than 350 of these machines are on display for students to examine. Students will get a look into motorcycle culture and its history in America.
Airborne and Special Operations Museum
At the Airborne and Special Operations Museum located near Ft. Bragg in Fayetteville, students can explore life-size dioramas, rare aircraft, artifacts and interactive displays that celebrate this sector of the U.S. Armed Forces. The museum houses five permanent exhibits that include a 24-seat motion simulator places students in the midst of parachute jumps, helicopter gunship attacks and daring missions. Additionally, a reproduction of a war-stricken French village offers a glimpse into the aftermath of the 1944 Normandy invasion. Other highlights include a 235-seat theater and an area devoted to changing exhibits.
North Carolina Maritime Museum
The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort depicts the state’s maritime and coastal natural history. Students will see artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship The Queen Anne’s Revenge, a sperm whale’s heart and skeleton and displays on the U.S. Life Saving Service.
3 North Carolina Must-Sees
NASCAR Hall of Fame
Located in Charlotte, the NASCAR Hall of Fame appeals to all students, not just those who are fans of racing. It showcases the history and heritage of NASCAR with artifacts, stick cars and the Hall of Honor where the most recent Hall of Fame inductees are enshrined. Over 50 interactive exhibits include the Pit Crew Challenge and racing simulators that invite students to engage with the sights and sounds of racing.
Asheville is home to the 250-room Biltmore Estate, America’s largest home. Built by the Vanderbilt family in 1889, the mansion features amazing sights of architecture and artwork from the Gilded Age. Students can explore the nooks and crannies of this 8,000-acre sprawling estate in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, picnicking and walks through the gardens.
Durham Performing Arts Center
The Durham Performing Arts Center presents one-of-a-kind live entertainment events sure to interest students. The center puts on over 180 shows per year and has something for everyone. Some critically acclaimed shows of the past include How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Mamma Mia and The King and I.
By Deanna Charkewycz