North Carolina: From the Mountains to the Sea

Every year millions of people travel long and far to get a piece of the North Carolina experience. The Carolina culture has deep roots in vinegar based BBQ, cotton and tobacco production, and more recently, is becoming a center for research and industry. The great Tar Heel state is home to highly esteemed universities, beautiful mountains, charming cities, and the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast. Tourism in North Carolina has been on the rise and continues to flourish.


According to a 2013 study prepared for the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film, and Sports Development, domestic and international travelers spent almost $21.0 billion on transportation, lodging, food, entertainment, recreation, and retail trade. This is an increase compared to previous years, 2014’s forecast projected even higher. North Carolina is home to many great places to visit including the Biltmore Estate, Blue Ridge Parkway, Old Salem, historic lighthouses, and over 300 miles of incredible beaches. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, North Carolina’s capital city, Raleigh, has continually been rated as one of the best cities to live in.


On a local level, Wilmington and the surrounding area offers an array of attractions from Screen Gem Studio tours to eating lunch on the pier at the Oceanic. Recently, US Today ranked Wilmington as the Best American Riverfront due to the amount of cafes, bars, and shops as well as close proximity to many historic museums and landmarks including the USS North Carolina. According to the Attraction-Selection-Attrition framework, “the people make the place.” The people of North Carolina bring charm to the state and create a large part of the culture. As a student of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, I am proud to call this amazing place home. Wilmington and the state of North Carolina exemplify southern hospitality, good eats, and a rich culture. So, what’s your favorite part about North Carolina?

– Anderson McNaull

4 thoughts on “North Carolina: From the Mountains to the Sea

  1. My favorite part about North Carolina is our diverse landscapes. We have the mountains (for people who like the snow and skiing), the big cities (Charlotte for NFL games, Raleigh for shopping, concerts, and college sports), small towns (for people like myself who enjoy the laid back, small town, southern charm), and last but certainly not least THE BEACH (for awesome people who like warm weather, salt air, and waves!). Can’t forget to mention our incredible film industry…they call us “Wilmywood” ya know?! North Carolina truly has it all. We are so very lucky to call North Carolina (and UNCW) our home.

  2. I really enjoyed this post about our beautiful state. As someone who previously lived in New Jersey, I can really appreciate the diversity and hospitality NC has to offer. I think the best part of North Carolina is the diverse landscapes. The ability to drive to the beach and the mountains from Raleigh is a great aspect of our state. NC truly has a lot to offer as far as tourism and attractions and the multitude of things to do really draws a lot of people down here. I have not yet been to the Biltmore Estate but I can’t wait for a chance to visit!

  3. Anderson,
    Your post highlights some of the amazing things North Carolina has to offer both tourists and its residents! It really is the state that “has it all” – from the mountains to the sea, from cities to small towns. As someone not originally from North Carolina, I recognize that North Carolinians are proud of what their state offers and what it has accomplished. North Carolina wasn’t on my map a few years ago, but it is obvious that as the state’s industries grow and more and more Americans are drawn to vacation here, it is starting to make its mark on our country. As for my favorite part about North Carolina? Undoubtedly, the beach!

  4. My family just opened an artisan boutique in the mountains that features handmade items from all over N.C. Since opening the shop, it has opened my eyes to all the culture N.C. has to offer. Sometimes it is easy to clump everything into one state, but each county/region in North Carolina has something different and amazing to offer. For instance, we were just talking about some of the art, and how the theme and concept can be so, so different depending on where you get it from. Asheville’s art is a totally different kind of art than what you would find in Raleigh.. While both cities are in N.C. the region and atmosphere is so different, it is such a different experience. It is hard to pinpoint my favorite part about North Carolina– I truly love it all! Moving from the mountains all the way to the beach definitely helped me understand and appreciate both places, and everything in between!

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