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    Visit North Carolina For Biking, Hiking, History, and Beaches

    From quiet towns steeped in history, to the tallest dunes on the East Coast, North Carolina offers a vast array of attractions for those who love culture, history and the great outdoors. Situated on the South Eastern Atlantic Seaboard, North Carolina is a geographically diverse state with mountains up to 6000 feet in the west, 4000 miles of rugged coastline in the east, and the beautiful rolling hills of the Piedmont region in between.

    Outdoor activities in North Carolina Winter sport fans will find ample opportunities for skiing and snowboarding in any one of the eight ski resorts in North Carolina's Appalachian Mountains, which offer the highest peaks east of the Mississippi and harbor some of the lowest winter temperatures in the region. Come summer, the same mountains offer fantastic hiking opportunities through lush forests, with cascading waterfalls and stunning vistas to enjoy.

    Keen fishermen can take advantage of North Carolina's many lakes, rivers and streams in which three species of trout can be found; and the 4000 miles of coastline also offer sea fishing for king mackerel, striped bass and trigger fish. For adrenaline junkies, North Carolina offers white water rafting, caving, mountain biking, surfing and scuba-diving amongst sunken shipwrecks. Motor bikers will also enjoy the long, quiet winding roads, with their sweeping curves and mountain top views.

    Nature enthusiasts can look forward to the vast amounts of untouched scenery found in the state's various national parks, which offer hiking and horse riding trails of varying lengths and difficulties, from short, flat woodland strolls to challenging mountain hikes. Be on the look out for North Carolina's wildlife which includes a number of rare and endangered species such as the Finback Whale, Red Wolf, Eastern Cougar and West Indian Manatee. And if you're visiting one of the bigger cities in North Carolina, such as Charlotte, you'll find various botanical parks and gardens to visit.

    Anyone who's interested in exploring the state's culinary offerings will find miles of wine growing regions to visit, hundreds of small farms producing organically grown foods and many restaurants specializing in local dishes made with regional produce.

    Art and culture are also alive and well in North Carolina, with plenty of opportunities to watch live theatre, dance, music and visual art. The city of Charlotte, for example, is well known for its array of museums, galleries and arts venues. The Charlotte Museum of History, the Carolinas Aviation Museum and the Levine Museum of the New South are just a few of the countless sites of cultural interest in the city. You'll also find annual festivals which celebrate this diverse culture, which is heavily influenced by the Native American Cherokees, Bluegrass music and African American history - and there are even defined trails that allow you to absorb North Carolina's heritage at your own pace.

    With its unusual terrain, unscripted landscape and stunning cities, North Carolina makes a great vacation destination for anyone who loves culture and the great outdoors.

    By Andrew Regan

    Getting There:

    For complete information on planning your vacation to North Carolina, including lodging, attractions and activities, logon to the North Carolina Division of Tourism website at www.visitnc.com.