Explore America's Backyard and Beyond!

    Discover North Carolina's Top 10 Attractions and Activities

    From city parks to mountain trails, wineries to waterfall, and aquariums to museums there is sure to be an activity or attraction to suit the entire family. To help narrow down the list, here are some of the top North Carolina "must see or do" locations.

    1.Hit the Greens - With over 400 golf courses across the state, there are plenty of opportunities to practice one's putt. Whether it is a bogey on the 9th hole of a scenic mountain green, watching the pros play at the GGO, or a perfect putt at one of the courses along the outer banks region, there is no end to the great golfing greens.

    2. Explore North Carolina's beaches - Come spend some time on North Carolina's coastline. There are 8 lighthouses, boardwalks, various museums, historic homes and locations like the Wright Brothers National Memorial or Jockey's Ridge State Park, just waiting to be explored.

    3. Take a hike - With well over a 1,000 miles of hiking trails ranging from steep mountainside climbs to quiet trails through quiet meadowlands or beaches, there are plenty of reasons to pack one's hiking gear.

    4. Go on a wine tour - With over 50 wineries across the state, one can get a taste of North Carolina's newest agricultural achievements. From Cabernets to Chardonnays, Scuppernong to Sangiovese, Burgundy to Blackberry, there is sure to be a wine (or two) that will please the most discerning palate.

    5. Discovery Place (Charlotte) -The interactive science museum in Charlotte is one of the best in America. One can visit the planetarium, see realistic automated dinosaurs, walk through a rain forest, explore the Science Circus, watch a movie at the OMNIMAX Theatre and much, much more.

    6. The North Carolina Zoological Park (Asheboro) - Spend a day watching the animals at America's largest walk-through zoo. From zebras to elephants and alligators to seals, there is much to do and see. Besides animal watching, there is a carousel, a 4-D ride, animal demonstrations, a variety of concession stands and 2 restaurants.

    7. Carrowinds (Charlotte) - This 108 acre theme park offers 60 state of the art rides ranging from roller coasters to water rides. Open daily all summer and weekends in the spring and fall.

    8. The Lowes Motor Speedway (Concord) - Racing enthusiast will love the guided tour of the racetrack and visiting the gift shop. While there, one can also sign up for the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Also in the Concord area is Hendrick Motorsports where one can see sports car exhibits and behind the scenes racing preparation, and the Roush Racing's Museum which has racing memorabilia and racing vehicles.

    9. Biltmore Estate (Asheville) - No visit to North Carolina's mountains would be complete without a visit to the 250 room estate. The 8,000 acre country estate is comprised of formal gardens, a conservatory, a winery, 4 restaurants and has 85 rooms open for viewing.

    10. Hit the Slopes - North Carolina is home to 8 winter recreation areas that offer vertical drops, snowboarding, tubing, night skiing, ski schools and even ice skating. One can make reservations to stay at the lodge or choose from area bed and breakfast, hotels, lodges and rental cabins.

    North Carolina is a vast and varied state. It has so many things to do, that it would take several trips to explore them all. One can kick back and relax, race around the speedway, or simply see the sights in its beautiful regions - they're all just waiting to be enjoyed.

    By Janet Slagell

    Getting There:

    To explore destinations, events, and attractions in North Carolina visit the North Carolina Division of Tourism at www.visitnc.com