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Oak Island Lighthouse

The beacon in the tower is the strongest light in the world. Four flashes occur at 1-second intervals followed by 6 seconds of darkness. The tower rises 169 feet above the water and it's daymark is black on top, white in the middle and gray at the bottom.

Bald Head Island Lighthouse
"Old Baldy"

The oldest lighthouse in North Carolina, Bald Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1817. At 90 feet high and is one of three towers built on Bald Head Island. Its beacon guided ships into the mouth of the Lower Cape Fear River until it was replaced by Oak Island Lighthouse.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Constructed between 1857 - 1859, and towering 163 feet above sea level, it received its distinctive daymark of what is called "diagonal checkerboard" design in 1873. The lighthouse is located within Cape Lookout National Seashore, but it is owned and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard and still considered an active working lighthouse.

Ocracoke Lighthouse

The 76-foot high tower is located in the community of Ocracoke and is the second oldest still operating on the North Carolina coast. Unlike the other lighthouses that are much larger, this lighthouse was built for navigators to locate Ocracoke Inlet and it displays a "constant light" which means there is no rotation or "blinking".

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Relocated during the summer of 1999 due to shoreline erosion, the tallest lighthouse in the United States was moved 2,900 feet inland. Its distinctive daymark of four spirals (two black and two white that extend around the tower 1 1/2 times) was applied in 1873. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse towers 196 feet above the sand, and operates from dusk till dawn with a beacon that rotates every 13 seconds.

Bodie Island Lighthouse
"The Body"

This was the third lighthouse to be built on Bodie Island (pronounced "body")and was constructed in the early 1870's with tower of 150 feet high. Bodie Island Lighthouse is within Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and has a unique daymark of broad alternating black and white circular bands. The Bodie Island light signal is 5 seconds on, 5 seconds off, and 5 seconds on, 22.5 seconds off and operates dusk till dawn.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

The red brick lighthouse rises 158 feet above sea level. Unlike many other lighthouses that received distinctive day marks, Currituck was not painted. But its red brick is unique on the Carolina coast. It has a short light signal: 5 seconds on, 15 seconds off.

Carolina Beach State Park

Features diverse coastal ecological communities that support rare plants, including the Venus flytrap. A marina with concession area and river fishing from accessible dock. Boat ramps to the river, the intracoastal waterway and ocean are just minutes away. More than 80 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites with showers and dump station; two group backpack campsites. Visitor's center with exhibit hall, interpretive programs, 5.7 miles of hiking trails, picnicking.

Fort Fisher State Park

Barrier island between river and Atlantic Ocean is home to rare and endangered coastal birds and endangered sea turtles. Five-mile beach with four-wheel-drive access, river and ocean fishing, ocean swimming. Visitor's center, interpretive programs. Short hiking trail past World War II bunker to scenic overlook.

Hammocks Beach State Park

is an undeveloped barrier island with sand dunes up to 60 feet high, 3.5 miles of ocean beach shoreline, maritime forests, salt marshes, tidal creeks, and endangered sea turtles. Accessible only by boat the park operates a seasonal passenger ferry. Fourteen backpack family campsites, three backpack group campsites. Ocean swimming and fishing. Visitor's center with exhibits, interpretive programs. Short hiking trail across island and hiking along shoreline.

Fort Macon State Park

Restored historic fort that played a key role in Civil War, barrier island beach. Exhibits and fort tours, Civil War reenactments during warmer months, interpretive programs. Ocean swimming, ocean and inlet fishing, picnicking, short hiking trail. Accessible beach overlook.

Jockeys Ridge State Park

Tallest sand dune along U.S. Atlantic Coast, large dune system, barrier island ecology. More than two miles of hiking trails. Hang gliding, sandboarding, kite flying. Swimming, fishing, kayaking and sailboarding in Roanoke Sound. Eight picnic shelters, visitor's center with exhibits, interpretive programs.

Lake Waccamaw State Park

Carolina bay environment with unique natural communities of rare plants and animals. More than nine miles of hiking trails, wheelchair accessible boardwalk. Four backpack campsites also available for groups. Lake fishing, picnicking, interpretive programs, visitor's center with exhibit hall.

Singletary Lake State Park

A Carolina bay environment with scenic lake vistas and a undeveloped shoreline. Two group camps with cabins, showers, kitchen. Lake fishing and swimming, canoe rentals. Interpretive programs, exhibits.

Jones Lake State Park

This Carolina bay environment has a four-mile hiking trail through dense vegetation with bay overlooks. Twenty tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites with showers. Lake swimming, fishing, canoe and pedal boat rentals. Access for boats with 10-horsepower motors and below. Exhibits and interpretive programs, picnic shelters.

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

Multicolored cliffs up to 98 feet tower over historic river. More than 30 tent and trailer campsites with showers and dump station; four group tent campsites. Picnic shelter, 1.6 miles of hiking trails, exhibit hall, interpretive programs, river fishing. Eleven-acre manmade lake with beach and diving platform, swimming, rowboat rentals.

Goose Creek State Park

Hardwood swamps and brackish marshes along the Pamlico River, oaks draped in Spanish moss, unique habitats for wildlife. More than seven miles of hiking trails, canoe access and trail, boat ramp, river fishing and swimming. Twelve tent campsites, one group tent campsite, picnicking, environmental eduction center with exhibits, interpretive programs.

Pettigrew State Park

Second-largest natural lake in state, old-growth trees, Native American artifacts including second-oldest dugout canoe in U.S., plantation historic site and grave of Confederate general. Thirteen tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites; showers; one group campsite. Nearly nine miles of hiking trails, some sections designated for bicycling. Picnic shelters, fishing pier, boat ramp, scenic overlooks, interpretive programs.

Medoc Mountain State Park

Exposed rock outcrops, bluffs; steep topography, rocks, minerals unusual to Piedmont. More than 10 miles of hiking trails. Thirty-four tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites, 12 with hookups; showers; three group tent campsites. Canoe access, creek fishing, picnicking, interpretive programs.

Merchants Millpond State Park

A virtual maze of towering bald cypress trees draped in Spanish moss dominate the lake and adjacent swamp. Twenty tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites with showers; seven canoe-in campsites; five backpack campsites; three group tent campsites and three canoe-in group campsites. Lake fishing, canoe access, canoe trails, canoe rentals. Nine miles of hiking trails, interpretive programs, picnicking.

Dismal Swamp State Park

A misterous 22 square miles of forested wetland dominated by red maple in place of the bald cypress and tupelos with 18 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails. Men's, women's and children's bikes are available, as well as helmets. A boat ramp near the parking area gives access to the canal waters. Glide along the amber colored waters of the historic Dismal Swamp Canal in your own canoe or kayak or rent a canoe or kayak from the park.

Lumber River State Park

State natural and scenic 115-mile black-water river, 81 miles also designated national wild and scenic waters. Picnic shelter, five canoe-in campsites, nine tent campsites, one group backpack campsite. River fishing, boat access, picnicking, short hiking trail, interpretive programs.

Weymouth Woods-Sandhills Nature Preserve

Flat-topped, sandy ridges; longleaf pine forest; broad, flat valleys; rare and endangered species include red-cockaded woodpecker, Sandhills lily, bog spicebush. More than five miles of hiking trails, including 3.5 miles of bridle trails. Picnicking, visitor's center, exhibit hall, interpretive programs.

Carvers Creek State Park

Authorized by the General Assembly in 2005, Carvers Creek State Park in Cumberland County is in the early stages of development for public use. A master plan is being prepared for what will be North Carolina's 36th state park and will likely encompass more than 4,000 acres. Until interim park facilities are constructed, no recreational public access is provided at this time.

Raven Rock State Park

Landmark bluffs on this historic river with wide river vistas and white water rapids. Five backpack campsites, six canoe-in campsites, five backpack group campsites, five canoe-in group campsites. More than 10 miles of hiking trails, including more than six miles of bridle trails. Picnicking, river fishing, and interpretive programs.

Jordan Lake State Recreation Area

Popular 13,900-acre reservoir, scenic vistas of lake and shoreline, home to American bald eagles. Lake fishing and swimming, 32 boat ramps, privately operated marina nearby. More than 1,000 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites, 690 sites with hookups; showers; dump stations; 24 backpack campsites; 11 group tent campsites, group trailer campsite. Ten picnic shelters, 16 miles of hiking trails.

William B. Umstead State Park

Hardwood forest oasis in urban Triangle region, creeks, lakes, extensive trail network with scenic overlooks. Nearly 30 tent and trailer campsites; showers; two group tent campsites; two group campsites with cabins and kitchen. Nearly 20 miles of hiking trails, including nearly 13 miles of bridle and bicycle trails. Lake fishing, rowboat and canoe rentals. Four picnic shelters, visitor center, exhibit hall, interpretive programs.

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area

Over 190 acres of land and nearly three miles of trails. Lake fishing, fishing streams in the Neuse River Basin, regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs. Picnic tables are available under shady oaks on the lawn near the parking lot. A vault toilet is near by.

Eno River State Park

Scenic wilderness corridor encompasses river, historic homestead and mill sites, extensive trail system. Nearly 21 miles of hiking trails, five backpack campsites, one backpack group campsite. Interpretive programs, picnic shelter. Canoe access, river fishing.

Falls Lake State Recreation Area

Expansive reservoir and woodlands, habitat for diversity of animals, including American bald eagles. More than 400 campsites: 176 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites with hookups; 99 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites without hookups; 89 backpack campsites; 18 group tent campsites; showers, dump stations. More than 20 picnic shelters. Interpretive programs, lake fishing and swimming, 10 boat ramps, privately operated marina nearby. Lakeside trail: 12 miles of hiking trails, more than six miles of bicycling trails.

Kerr Lake State Recreation Area

Expansive reservoir with 200-mile shoreline crossing North Carolina/Virginia state line. Nearly 700 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites, 342 with hookups; showers; dump stations; three group tent campsites. Lake fishing, accessible fishing pier, 14 boat ramps, two privately operated marinas nearby. Picnic shelters, more than two miles of hiking trails. Visitor's center, interpretive programs.

Haw River State Park

Authorized by the General Assembly in 2003, the Haw River State Park is in the early stages of development for future public use. Located near the headwaters of the Haw River, The Haw River State Park and Summit Environmental Education Center is situated on nearly 300 acres of piedmont forest, fields, wetlands, and uplands. Until additional properties are acquired for the state park, we do not have facilities for general public use. Visitors are welcome to come to visit, but it is recommended that you call ahead. We also ask that visitors check in at the front desk before touring the grounds.

Mayo River State Park

The Mayo River State Park's interim facility, Mayo Mountain Access, opened to the public on April 1, 2010. Located at the site are a park office/visitor contact station, picnic shelter with grills (accommodates up to 100), three individual picnic pads each with table and grill, .5-mile loop hiking trail, 1.8-mile loop hiking trail, rest rooms, catch and release fishing in the pond (N.C. fishing license required), and maintenance a facility. Total acreage for the entire park is presently 1,967 acres.

Morrow Mountain State Park

Mountains up to 936 feet, peaceful lake. More than 100 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites; showers, dump station; four backpack campsites; six cabins; six group tent campsites. Pool, boat ramp, lake fishing, canoe and rowboat rentals. Three picnic shelters, 16 miles of hiking trails including 15 miles of bridle trails. Visitor's center, interpretive programs.

Lake Norman State Park

State's largest manmade lake at 32,510 acres. Boat ramp, lake fishing. Rowboat, canoe and pedal boat rentals, swimming and fishing on 33-acre lake inside park. More than 30 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites; showers, dump station; two group backpack campsites. Community building, picnic shelters, interpretive programs, more than seven miles of hiking trails.

Pilot Mountain State Park

One of the state's signature landmarks, peregrine falcon habitat, scenic river access. Nearly 50 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites, showers; two canoe-in campsites; one group tent campsite. Ten miles of hiking trails, including seven miles of bridle trails, rock climbing. River fishing, canoe access, interpretive programs, picnic shelter.

Hanging Rock State Park

Rock outcrops up to 2,500 feet, five waterfalls and cascades, mountain lake, access to scenic river. More than 70 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites with showers; eight group tent campsites; ten cabins. More than 15 miles of hiking trails, including nearly four miles of bridle trails, rock climbing. Lake swimming and fishing, rowboat and canoe rentals; boat access to nearby river. Visitor's center with exhibits, interpretive programs, three picnic shelters, historic bath house.

Stone Mountain State Park

Rock dome rising 700 feet above valley floor, waterfalls, Blue Ridge Mountain overlooks. Historic sites, exhibits, interpretive programs. Nearly 40 tent, trailer and recreational vehicle campsites, showers, dump station; six backpack campsites; five group tent campsites. Two picnic shelters, more than 12 miles of hiking trails, including six-mile bridle trail. Rock climbing, stream fishing.

Crowders Mountain State Park

Hiking on the two highest peaks in Kings Mountain Range, views of more than 20 miles, streams and lake environments. Ten backpack campsites, four group backpack campsites. Nearly 12 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, two picnic shelters, interpretive programs. Canoe rentals, lake fishing.

Chimney Rock State Park

The unit was designated as Chimney Rock State Park shortly after the state had acquired Chimney Rock Park, a private nature park surrounding the striking 315-foot spire in the scenic Hickory Nut Gorge area of western Rutherford and the surrounding counties of Polk, Henderson and Buncombe. Elevator to the rock summit, nature center and a network of hiking trails to geologic points of interest including the 404-foot-tall Hickory Nut Falls.

South Mountains State Park

Rock outcroppings up to 3,000 feet, 80-foot waterfall. More than 40 miles of hiking trails, including 29 miles of bridle trails and 18-mile bicycling trail. Eleven tent campsites, 20 backpack campsites, four group backpack campsites, 15 equestrian campsites with 37-stall barn. Stream fishing, picnic shelter, interpretive programs.

Lake James State Park

Scenic vistas of surrounding Appalachian and Black mountains overlooking manmade 6,510-acre lake. Two boat ramp areas, canoe rentals, lake fishing and swimming. Twenty backpack campsites 150 to 300 yards from parking lot; showers. Picnic shelter, three miles of hiking trails, interpretive programs.

Elk Knob State Park

Elk Knob State Park is one of the newest additions to the North Carolina state parks system. Currently, it is in an interim development stage with a park office/contact station, picnic area, parking areas, and trail to the summit of Elk Knob, with plans to add a maintenance facility and road improvements. At this time, visitors can hike to the summit by following a newly constructed trail most of the way and then taking an old dirt road the last 200 yards to the summit.

Mount Jefferson State Park

Panoramic views from scenic Blue Ridge mountaintop at 4,683-foot elevation. National natural landmark, unique plant communities. Picnic area with shelter, 1.3 miles of hiking trails, interpretive programs.

New River State Park

Believed to be the oldest river in North America, canoeing past scenic rock outcrops, farmlands, woodlands; 26.5-mile segment designated National Wild and Scenic River. More than 30 canoe-in tent campsites, many within hiking distance of parking lots. Canoe access, river fishing, picnic shelter, community building. Nearly five miles of hiking trails, interpretive programs.

Gorges State Park

Newest state park, still in development. Waterfalls, gorges, elevation rises 2,000 feet in only three miles, one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique plant and animal species in eastern United States. Extensive hiking trails. Backpack camping, river and lake fishing, picnicking.

Mount Mitchell State Park

Highest peak east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet, views up to 100 miles, North Carolina's first state park. Nine tent campsites, 11 miles of hiking trails. Trailheads for hikers, backpackers, equestrians using trail system on adjacent U.S. Forest Service lands. Exhibit hall, gift shop interpretive programs. Two picnic shelters, restaurant.

Grandfather Mountain State Park

Grandfather Mountain has 11 trails varying in difficulty from a gentle walk in the woods to a rigorous trek across rugged peaks. It is in the backcountry of Grandfather Mountain State Park that you come up against the more challenging hikes. 13 backpack camping sites along the trail system. More than 12 miles of trails lacing 2,456 acres along the mountain's ridgeline and its highest point at Calloway Peak.
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Welcome to NC Travel Guide.

Find the path less traveled. NC Travel Guide is devoted to exploring the State of North Carolina and here, you’ll discover everything you need to plan your next visit. Whether your planning a relaxing day trip, an adventurous weekend getaway, or a fun filled family vacation, NC Travel Guide is ready to guide you to excitement and memories. From the Great Smokey Mountains to the beaches of the Outer Banks and throughout the state, you will uncover live Theater and Music, Comedy, and Dance. Enjoy Amusement Parks and Sporting events, find out-of-the-way Pubs and Cafe's, get lost in nature, and indulge yourself to Fine Dinning. With NC Travel Guide, you get state wide, regional, and local news updates, weather forecasts and advisories, travel tips, insider information, and discounts to plan your North Carolina visit.

North Carolina Sites

Find incredible sights and unique North Carolina destinations.

North Carolina is a stunning mix of man-made and natural beauty. The Blue Ridge Parkway offers panoramic views stretching from Cherokee to the Shenandoah. The diverse North Carolina terrain is inviting for many outdoor activities including skiing, hiking, bicycling, swimming, horseback riding, fishing, and much more.

Linn Cove Viaduct


North Carolina offers a wide array of attractions for the entire family.

Enjoy incredible vistas across the western mountain frontier, and the breathtaking sunrises of the Outerbanks. World class theme parks and NASCAR competitions.

Plan your North Carolina Vacation.

North Carolina’s natural scenic beauty, rich history and culture, award-winning wines and top-notch sports facilities have distinguished it as a major destination and one of the Top 10 most visited states in the country. Discover the Golden Triangle - Durham, Raleigh and Chapel Hill, home to some of the countries leading universities. Raleigh is an exciting city with great nightlife, museums and other cultural opportunities, while Durham and Chapel Hill offer a peaceful town setting with tree-lined streets and full of great restaurants and shops. Go hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains or go fishing or kayaking in New River. Don't miss Hilton Head and other beautiful beaches and islands off the coast. North Carolina has 301 miles of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, including the Outer Banks, land-locked Albemarle Sound in the north, and Pamlico Sound in the south. These features make the state a very popular destination for beach-goers.

Welcome to NC Travel Guide