How to Travel in North Carolina Like a Local

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.

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 optout@55places.com. Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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

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 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

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. 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

There’s always somewhere to listen to bluegrass in North Carolina, whether it’s a music hall or an alleyway. (Image via Shutterstock)

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 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.

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 optout@55places.com. Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Exterior view of an attached home at Windsor Lakes in The Woodlands, Texas.

Houston 55+ Communities With Attached Homes for Sale

Imagine having more time for hobbies, travel, and friends—and less time spent on yard work and home repairs! In Houston, there are plenty of vibrant communities to choose from, each offering unique character and amenities. Let’s take a look!

The grounds of Gatherings at Potomac Station in Leesburg, Virginia.

New Active Adult Communities Added to 55places.com

In this comprehensive roundup, we bring you the latest additions to 55places.com—a trusted resource for exploring active adult communities. Over the past 30 days, several new communities have joined the ranks, each offering different amenities and locations.

A golf cart outside the golf club at CountryPlace in Pearland, Texas.

Retire on the Links in Houston, TX: Golf Course Homes for Sale

Active adults who are lifelong golfers or newfound golf enthusiasts can easily enjoy the sport when their neighborhood contains a golf course. Homebuyers who desire a golf course lifestyle and want to remain near the heart of a big city can find a great fit at one of these exceptional Houston area communities.

Moving to South Carolina? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

South Carolina is a state known for its incredible coastal beauty, charm, hospitality, acclaimed golf courses, and vibrant culinary scene that’s full of rich Southern dishes. It’s also home to some of the most desirable retirement destinations in the country–and for good reason.

Close up on a tiny wood home model on green grass, a representation of the real estate market.

Real Estate Summary: This Month in the 55+ Housing Market

This month, we brought in more than beautiful flowers. There are also lower mortgage rates and new homes for the housing industry! Below is a more in-depth breakdown of what happened and why now is an excellent time to enter the market.

A side-by-side image of Savannah, Georgia and Atlanta, Georgia.

Savannah vs Atlanta: Which Is Better For Your Retirement?

Georgia is a popular destination for active adults looking to retire–and Savannah and Atlanta are two of the state’s biggest draws. So how do you know which city is better for you? We’ve put together a guide to offer some helpful insight into both cities to help decide which one might be best for your retirement.

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