North Carolina is a quintessentially Southern state in the United States of America offering visitors endless variety with three distinct regions. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities from hiking, mountain climbing, and skiing, along with a taste of Appalachian music and culture in the Blue Ridge and Smokey mountains. Increasingly diverse and fast-growing cities dot the Piedmont- from Charlotte's skyscrapers, Raleigh's museums and historic neighborhoods, and Chapel Hill's college nightlife. Kite-surfing, fishing, sun, and sand await visitors to the state's coastal region- with secluded barrier islands in the Outer Banks and the bustling beach-side city of Wilmington.
The state's temperate climate has four distinct seasons and is highly acclaimed for its year-round living comforts. Rainfall is adequate and dispersed over the entire year. More than 64.5 million visitors traveled to North Carolina in 2005, ranking the state eighth behind California, Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and Michigan. Eighty-nine percent of all travelers traveled to North Carolina by auto, truck or camper/RV.
As North Carolina lies in the center of the eastern seaboard of United States, nearly half of the country lives within a 500-mile radius of the state. Murphy is the westernmost town of significance and Manteo is the easternmost town of significance; "From Murphy to Manteo" is a popular saying.
In general, for travelers coming from cooler climates, the heat and humidity of southern summers can be a shock, making spring and fall much more attractive. During the Fall season, the Blue Ridge Mountains are a popular destination due to the beauty of the foliage. It should be noted that construction on Highway 321 may involve delays. Please check your local traffic reports. In the winter, the mountains of northwestern North Carolina offer skiing and other winter sports.
Compared to other American states, North Carolina has decent roads. Larger cities such as Charlotte and Raleigh tend to have lower-quality roads due to heavy traffic; still, they are tolerably well-kept. Some mountain areas still have unpaved roads, and some of the Outer Banks are inaccessible by automobile.
Hiking and Camping: The Appalachian Mountains in the western part of the state provide extensive trails for hiking and many places allow for overnight camping. Go see Grandfather Mountain, a popular tourist spot with a fantastic view, or climb Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.