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7 of the Most Beautiful Places to See in North Carolina

Jamie Delos Reyes

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Dreaming of reaching the summit of the East’s tallest peak, or relaxing on quiet undiscovered beaches? Make your outdoor adventure dreams come true in North Carolina! The most beautiful places to see in North Carolina are some of the most underrated in the nation.  However, that sense of seclusion just increases the magic of this state. Add North Carolina to the top of your travel plans, and work your way down this list of awesome places to see!

1. Mount Mitchell State Park

Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina
Photo Credits: Atlanta Kids TV

Mount Mitchell’s summit overlook reaches 6000 feet at its summit, making it the highest point in the East. It features some of the longest, most beautiful mountain views in North Carolina. In ideal conditions and clear days, visitors can see as far as 85 miles!

Its height also means that conditions are chilly or otherwise quite cool year-round. As a result, it is an ideal destination for visitors looking to cool down from the summer heat. It also boasts some impressive ecological diversity, home to flora and fauna more reminiscent of Canada than that of the surrounding area. Mount Mitchell invites visitors to hike one of its seven trails to experience the diversity firsthand.

2. Cape Hatteras Seashore

Cape Hatteras Seashore, North Carolina
Photo Credits: Visit the USA

The Cape Hatteras Seashore stretches from Bodie Island on its north end, all the way to Ocracoke Island. Its barrier islands are a national treasure that separates the Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.

In between are miles of pristine, undeveloped beaches. Wild marshes full of diverse wildlife and beautiful structures await explorers. It also features the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. A stunning sight on most nights, visitors can climb its 257 steps for a gorgeous, 360 view of the surrounding shoreline that cannot be beaten.

Visitors can ride one of the ferries that service the island to view the shoreline and the lighthouse from the water. It’s a unique and stunning view that can be found nowhere else.

3. Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock State Park, North Carolina
Photo Credits: Travel + Leisure

The Chimney Rock Mountain is an icon in the landscape of North Carolina. It is at the center of the sprawling state park that takes its name. It features a stunning view of rock formations covered by the lush forestry of the surrounding trees.

Visitors can climb 26 stories of stairs on the Outcroppings Trail to reach the top and enjoy a gorgeous view of the Hickory Nut Gorge, and Lake Lure. and even the Piedmont region on the east side of the mountain. Another trail, the Skyline Trail, can take visitors to Exclamation Point, which is the highest peak in the park, which was the setting for several scenes from the movie The Last of the Mohicans. Chimney Rock Mountain is truly a unique experience of nature that can be found nowhere else.

4. Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher, North Carolina
Photo Credits: Trover

A destination for history buffs, beachgoers, and environmentally conscious visitors, Fort Fisher is truly one of the most beautiful places to see in North Carolina. You can find it at the Wilmington Area, near Carolina Beach. Soldiers built the fort in 1861 during the Civil War to defend the Confederacy. It also served as a firing range during World War II to train military personnel.

Nowadays, however, the fort is a gorgeous seascape that entrances history lovers and beachgoers alike. For instance, the boardwalk is a peaceful place to stroll in the later afternoon, watching the waves crash along the shore. Each season showcases different natural wildlife making its home on the beach, from nesting sea turtles to migrating birds. The shoreline is undeveloped, making for a relaxing breath of fresh sea air for visitors looking to get away from the city.

5. Goose Creek State Park

Goose Creek State Park, North Carolina
Photo Credits: Flickr | JLouther

Another pocket of undiscovered quiet in North Carolina is Goose Creek State Park, located in the rural eastern region of North Carolina. The park features the quiet Goose Creek, Mallard Creek, and the peaceful Pamlico River. The shores are lined with Spanish moss, sheltering visitors from the sun as they walk under the swaying branches.

Trails leading to untouched marshes and swamps allow visitors to encounter wildlife with family and friends, and those looking to get away from the city will find their time enriched with a quiet paddle along the river.

6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina
Photo Credits: Flickr | mksfca

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country, with more than half its huge sprawl located in North Carolina. For those looking to experience a beautiful, scenic drive, the Cataloochee Valley at the eastern end of the park is a common location to spot elk and other wildlife that frequent the area.

For adventurous hikers, a quick trek through the Deep Creek area rewards them with the vista of three waterfalls: Tom Branch, Juney Whank, and Indian Creek. With gorgeous natural splendor, it is no wonder that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts such a reputation.

7. Hammocks Beach State Park

Hammocks Beach State Park, North Carolina
Photo Credits: Winston-Salem Journal

Adding to North Carolina’s number of undeveloped, unspoiled beaches is Hammocks Beach State Park. It boasts 33 acres of land found on the mainland, with the rest of it found on the 3.5 mile long Bear Island, which is its premier feature. It is accessible by ferry, boat, or even canoe or kayak. There are more than 3 miles of unspoiled beach to be found on the island, making it an ideal spot for visitors looking to relax next to the water. The island is also a popular destination for nesting loggerhead sea turtles, which contributes to its continued unspoiled state.

Truly, North Carolina is an underrated state that is a great destination for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of their daily lives. Its unique features, diverse wildlife, and fantastic beauty all contribute to its feature as a must-see state for adventurers, backpackers, and simply those looking to relax in nature. Some areas even look out of this world!

Visit the most beautiful places to see in North Carolina, and fall in love at first sight!

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