15 Stunning North Carolina Towns You Absolutely Need To Visit

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

1. New Bern

Donna B McNicol CC BY / Via Flickr: dbmcnicol

Zach Frailey CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: zrfraileyphotography

Becky Wetherington / Flickr: macbeck


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.

2. Kitty Hawk

Tom Saunders CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: tombass59

Peaceful and beautiful Kitty Hawk is located on North Carolina Outer Banks. You’ll have a hard time topping its wild beaches and charming pier.

3. Southport

David McSpadden CC BY / Flickr: familyclan

Gerry Dincher / Flickr: gerrydincher


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.

4. Saluda

anoldent CC BY-SA / Via Flickr: anoldent

Kat Jenkinson CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: jenkinkn

Frank DiBona / Flickr: kiddocone


Located in Western North Carolina, Saluda used to be a railroad town and carries this heritage proudly. The village and its mountainous region will seduce any lover of small town charm and spectacular landscapes.

5. Asheville

Blake Lewis CC BY-SA / Via Flickr: blakelewisphotography

Clark Mackey CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: clarkmackey

Thinkstock / Getty Images


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.

6. Blowing Rock

Joe Flood CC BY-ND / Via Flickr: joeflood

Stephen Little CC BY-NC / Flickr: stephen_little


This gorgeous mountain village overlooking the Blue Ridge Parkway is a true gem for any lover of both adventure and small town comfort.

7. Manteo

Steve Walker CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: photos_by_steve

Eric Wettstein CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: ejwettstein


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.

8. Apex

Jamie Bradway CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: jdbradway

John Buie CC BY / Flickr: bumeister


Apex has everything to offer to its visitors: A charming small town feel, a cool jazz festival, a great farmers market, and an easy access to nature, with Jordan lake nearby… All of this, only 20 minutes away from downtown Raleigh!

9. Weaverville

Jeffrey Pott CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: jpott

mystuart CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: melystu

Jeffrey Pott / Flickr: jpott


Located north of Asheville, Weaverville is a peaceful and stunning town that will satisfy anyone yearning for some calm and natural beauty.

10. Lake Lure

switz1873 CC BY / Via Flickr: tripletri

Lake Guy CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: lake_guy

Susan K... / Flickr: susanthing


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.

11. Bath

Lucas Berrini CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: walkinline

Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC CC BY / Flickr: statelibrarync

Lucas Berrini / Flickr: walkinline


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.

12. Boone

Jackie O CC BY-NC / Via Flickr: pixwix

Lindley Ashline / Flickr: 91625873@N04


Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, wonderful Boone is an ideal spot for all adventure seekers. Whether you want to ski and snowboard in the winter or hike in the summer, the town is a treat all year long.

13. Beaufort

teresaphillips1965 CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: teresamorgan

Jim Brickett CC BY-ND / Flickr: jimbrickett


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.

14. Hillsborough

Steve Walker CC BY-NC-ND / Via Flickr: photos_by_steve

Steve Walker CC BY-NC-ND / Flickr: photos_by_steve

Mark & Tinka / Flickr: mark_tinka


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.

15. Edenton

-ted CC BY / Via Flickr: twbuckner

Patrick Cumby / Flickr: pcumby


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.

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