How to Travel in North Carolina Like a Local

nolocal-145009809592ef5f7bcd975530cfd633

North Carolina stretches from the beautiful beaches of the Atlantic to the majestic mountains of the southern Appalachians. As a big state, it has a lot of offer and is a great place for a vacation. A road trip through the state can explore many different places, while a trip to a city or region provides an in-depth experience. However, there are some things that are the same across the whole state, and certain things to try for an authentic North Carolina experience. Here are four tips for traveling like a local in the Tar Heel state.

Go Outside

 /><figcaption><em>The Blue Ridge Mountains have some of the most scenic sights in the country.</em></figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>No region in North Carolina feels expansively urban like it might farther north or south on the East Coast. For active adults on vacation, that means there are lots of opportunities to get outside. Visitors can enjoy the mountains, woods, and beaches that the state has to offer. In Western North Carolina, the <a <a href=Asheville area is in the Great Smoky Mountains. The area has unparalleled hiking and camping opportunities in the nearby recreation areas. The Blue Ridge Parkway scenic drive offers an easy way to see the region, while three national forests and the Great Smoky Mountains national park have massive stands of deciduous forests.

The central part of the state has man-made lakes for boating and stand-up paddling boarding, and the flat pine-covered forests are perfect for easy hiking and long bike trips. While the Outer Banks and Wilmington areas have commercial beaches, the Pamlico Sound and other rivers offer lots of opportunities for boating and places like Topsail and Rodanthe offer more secluded beaches.

Watch College Sports

 /><figcaption><em>Whatever school you support, there are plenty of sports to go around. (Image via Shutterstock.com)</em></figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>All Americans take their sports seriously, but North Carolinians have a special relationship with sports, especially college sports. Within the state, there are some of the biggest rivalries in all of the NCAA. <a href=Duke University, the University of North Carolina (UNC), Wake Forest University, and North Carolina State University (NC State) all have rivalries at different intensities, depending on who you ask.

Throw in other big state schools like UNC Charlotte and East Carolina University, and there is bound to be an exciting ball game of some sort to watch when traveling. Football and men’s basketball are the biggest events, but schools also have great soccer and baseball teams, and excellent women’s teams.

Listen to Some Bluegrass

 /><figcaption><em>There’s always somewhere to listen to bluegrass in North Carolina, whether it’s a music hall or an alleyway. (Image via Shutterstock)</em></figcaption></figure>
</div>
<p>Bluegrass and Bill Monroe are Kentucky classics, but that doesn’t mean that the genre isn’t all over North Carolina. Bluegrass bands play everywhere across the state, and finding the nearest live bluegrass music is almost as common as going to church. Restaurants, bars, clubs, festivals, and arts centers across the state will have bluegrass and roots music. In the Raleigh suburb of Cary, you can catch roots music at <a href=Blue Note Grill, or at a larger club in like the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.

The streets of Asheville are full of buskers, while the nearby Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the John C. Campbell Folk School have bluegrass concerts throughout the year. Big performers come through the state during events like MerleFest (founded by Bluegrass guitarist Doc Watson) in Wilkesboro, the International Bluegrass Music Awards in Raleigh, and the North Carolina Folk Festival in Greensboro.

Eat Barbecue

In North Carolina, barbecue is not a cookout or a social gathering. The definition is restricted to chopped pork, usually sandwiches, with the typical sides: coleslaw, baked beans, and hush puppies. While differences in styles and sauces vary across the state, traveling through any part of North Carolina means stopping at a local barbecue spot for some good food. In the Raleigh-Durham area, Smokey’s BBQ Shack is one of the most popular places to eat, while Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge in Shelby, North Carolina is a favorite for the vinegar and tomato sauce.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

The entrance sign at the Polo Club at Mountain Island Lake, a 55+ community in Charlotte, North Carolina

The Best Small Active Adult Communities in Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina is a top retirement destination for adults 55+. With 72 active adult communities in the area, there’s a lot to choose from and think about. If you’re considering a move to Charlotte and already know you’re looking for a small community in size but big on options, then we’ve got you covered.

Cresswind Charlotte is a 55+ community near Charlotte, North Carolina

The Best Communities for Downsizing in Charlotte, North Carolina

A smaller home has less space to clean and maintain–inside and out. They also typically come with a smaller, more affordable price tag. Fortunately for the 55+ crowd looking to downsize in the Charlotte area, there are several active adult communities that offer smaller floor plans at affordable price points.

A sunny day at Lake Walk Freedom Homes in Mooresville, North Carolina

55+ Communities Near Lakes in the Charlotte Area

Dreaming of spending your retirement on the water, boating, fishing, swimming, or just relaxing, soaking up the sun every day? Then, Charlotte, North Carolina should be on your radar.

The clubhouse at Village at Deaton Creek in Hoschton, Georgia

The Best Active Adult Communities in the Atlanta Area

The state of Georgia is a popular destination for 55+ active adults, and the Atlanta area is one of its hottest places to relocate. The city offers fine restaurants, diverse shopping opportunities, and impressive cultural attractions, as well as its own rich history and distinctive southern charm. If you are considering living near Atlanta, you’ll want to take a look at six of the area’s most popular active adult communities.

A happy group of elderly people living in a 55+ community meet the age requirements.

What Are the Age Requirements for a 55+ Community?

For many, the answer to “What are the age requirements for a 55+ community?” may seem obvious. You have to be 55 or older, right? No, that’s not always the case. In fact, there are many scenarios where there’s only one resident who is 55 or older. Also, there are rare cases when no residents is 55 or older. 

An older adult takes a continuing education course offered in his 55+ community.

Never Stop Learning: Continuing Education Programs in 55+ Communities

Many people look forward to retirement because they can finally stop focusing on work and start focusing on doing more of what they enjoy. Do you want to learn a new language, play an instrument, or try making a new craft? There are many benefits that learning something new can provide.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top