Plan a great adventure getaway for the whole family with our collection of North Carolina tourist attractions. Although the attractions we’ve listed could easily be just as great for singles or couples, our focus in this article is providing information on North Carolina tourist attractions that kids enjoy as much as the adults.
From the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee and The NC Zoo in Asheville, our list will give you all the info you need to plan your next great family vacation in Western North Carolina:
- Asheville Art Museum – Set in the heart of downtown Asheville, North Carolina, Asheville Art Museum offers a collection of 20th and 21st century American art, along with cultural and educational experiences for all ages. Additional programs include classes and workshops, film screenings, lectures and school programs. For more information, call (828) 253-3227 or visit the website.
- Biltmore Estate – Located at One Lodge Street in Asheville, NC, this 8,000-acre estate built for George Vanderbilt is a major tourist attraction in Western North Carolina and is still America’s largest home. Built in 1888 as a lavish private estate, Biltmore now offers a wealth of opportunities for the public. These include mansion and estate tours, 250 acres of immaculate gardens, fine dining on-site, lodging (from moderate to luxury-level), a winery, 80 miles of equestrian trails and a high-end line of home furnishings, apparel, gourmet foods and gifts. Throughout the year, Biltmore Estate offers a variety of special events including the most popular Christmas lights and festivities.
- Blue Ridge Parkway – The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway spans 469 miles through Western North Carolina and Virginia, incorporating everything from Cherokee Indian culture and history to authentic Appalachian crafts and music along the way. There are numerous access roads onto the parkway, with one being the Soco Gap Access at Maggie Valley, NC. The Appalachian Mountains offer some of the oldest mountains in the world to view, as well as remarkable scenery and unsurpassed biodiversity. Visit the website to download parkway maps, view tips and regulations, and to explore all that is offered by this top-ranking North Carolina tourist attraction. Millions of people cruise the parkway annually.
- Chimney Rock State Park – Chimney Rock is a North Carolina state park, located at 431 Main Street, Chimney Rock, NC. The name refers to the whole park, but it derives from a granite outcropping shaped something like a chimney, with a large flat surface on its top that allows for panoramic views of the mountains. In addition to either hiking or taking an elevator to the top of Chimney Rock, the park offers an Animal Discovery Den, rock climbing, music concerts and adventure trails.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park – As America’s most visited national park, Great Smoky Mountains features ancient mountains and gorgeous natural scenery, glimpses of Southern Appalachian Mountain culture and an amazing diversity of animal and plant life. Cades Cove is the most popular destination in the park. It features historical cabins and churches, wildlife viewing and of course, remarkable mountain scenery.
- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort – Boasting 150,000 feet of gaming, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino also offers live entertainment (from major music acts to comedians). Enjoy dining on-site at the Chef’s Stage Buffet, featuring Mexican, Asian and American BBQ favorites. Additional opportunities at the resort include a spa, pool and a Multi-Tainment Center with 24 lanes for bowling and great activities for the kids. Located in Cherokee, NC, Harrah’s is one part of this exciting “Things to Do in Cherokee” itinerary courtesy of Meadowlark Motel.
- Linville Caverns – Take a journey deep inside Humpback Mountain to view ancient caverns with stalactites, a pristine, clear waterway brimming with trout and natural rock formations. Learn about natural science on your tour. The caverns are located at 19929 US 221 North in Marion, NC.
- Nantahala National Forest – Enjoy everything from scenic driving to picnicking, horse-riding, camping, fishing, climbing, bicycling and more in this beautiful national forest.
- NC National Zoo – Located in Asheboro, NC, the North Carolina Zoo features African Exhibits (a two-hour tour by itself, replete with baboons, elephants, lions and more), an Aviary with 3,000 tropical plants and several dozen Asian birds, and a two- to three-hour tour of North American wildlife and exhibits. Additionally, the Zoo offers learning opportunities and special events. In the Streamside Exhibit, you’ll see River Otters, Snakes, salamanders and more. This is the “world’s largest natural habitat zoo.”
- Oconaluftee Indian Village – Set in Cherokee, North Carolina, this village is a recreated 18th Century Indian village and ‘living museum’. You will be able to tour an authentic working village and see live reenactments of Indian life in the 1760s, including exhibits of canoe, pottery and basket-making. Tour recreated dwellings; enjoy interactive demonstrations, art classes for children and much more.
Accommodation Near Western North Carolina Tourist Attractions
You can plan one or several vacations centered around these popular Western North Carolina tourist attractions. Book a stay at Meadowlark Motel in Maggie Valley and all of the above-listed attractions will be within a short walk, drive or easy day trip of your Creekside accommodation. Located right in the center of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, Maggie Valley is a tourist attraction in itself. The Meadowlark Motel is within walking distance to Maggie Valley Festival Grounds (home of the famous Hillbilly Jam Festival) and a number of restaurants, shops and attractions.