Travel

15 Stunning North Carolina Towns You Absolutely Need To Visit

Take a trip through one of America's most beautiful states.

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This is the ideal place to spend a three-day weekend. Former state capital and birthplace of Pepsi Cola, New Bern is a beautiful town that was named after Switzerland's capital by the Swiss immigrants that settled there in 1710. The place is full of history: Its gorgeous historic district is packed with architectural gems and you can take tours such as the African-American Tour that chronicles New Bern's strong African-American heritage.

Another stunning coastal town with a remarkable junction of southern charm and maritime culture, Southport will take your breath away. It's also a popular destination for movie sets: I Know What You Did Last Summer and A Walk to Remember, for instance, were filmed there.

Compared to other towns on this list, Asheville is actually quite big, but it's also so unique and beautiful that it just couldn't be left out. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the city is both cosmopolitan and homey, with food and art scenes that can rival much bigger cities. It's also home to the Biltmore Estate, an over-the-top mansion built in the late 19th century. And while you're in town, you can visit the YMI Cultural Center, a hub of African-American culture since its founding in 1893.

By now, you've probably figured out that North Carolina is full of lovely coastal towns, and Manteo is yet more proof of that. Like Kitty Hawk, it is located on the state's Outer Banks. Its quaint lighthouse and harbor are the perfect spot to enjoy a summer sunset.

At the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains sits this beautiful lake and the town of the same name that will seduce any hiker or nature-lover. And if you go in the summer, the lake's beach is the perfect spot for a swim and a picnic.

Founded in 1705, Bath is North Carolina's first town. In other words, the town is a history nerd's dream come true and the perfect destination for anyone who is looking for some peace and quiet.

It's no surprise the very popular coastal town has been featured on numerous rankings of "best towns" in the country: It has everything to offer, from the stunning historic mansions and cottages, to the beautiful waterfront. It's also a hub of great seafood restaurants and is only a boat ride away from the Rachel Carson Reserve and its wild horses. And if all of this isn't enough, just know that Beaufort used to be the favorite destination of many pirates in the late 17th century.

Hillsborough is a lovely and peaceful place with a lively artistic scene. It's also another great place for history nerds, with more than a 100 buildings dating back to the late 18th and 19th centuries and lots of opportunities to learn the full (if at times sobering) history of the town.

Vibrant and rich in history, this coastal town used to be the first colonial capital of North Carolina and remains one of the most spectacularly pretty spots in the state. It's also the birth place of Harriet Jacobs and the city offers walking tours of sites mentioned in the famous abolitionist's memoirs.