North Carolina is not the first state one would think of when it comes to tourism. However, like many lesser visited places, it's a land of hidden gems. There is a lot of interesting history too since it was settled by one of the original 13 colonies, was part of the American Civil War, and is the home of various Native American tribes. To the east, you can enjoy the ocean and to the west, you can visit the mountains. It is a state that has a little bit of everything.
So here are some hidden gems worth visiting if you ever find yourself in North Carolina.
10 Visit An Alphabet Museum
Here is a heaven for any linguist. In the small North Carolinian town, Waxhaw, there is a hidden gem known as "The Museum of the Alphabet." Here you will learn that out of 7,000 languages in the world, one-third do not have a written form yet. They have research and documents on the most obscure languages in the world.
Besides language itself, the museum focuses on the people who created language. Also, you can translate your name into any language in this museum, even fictional ones like Klingon!
9 Go On A Safari In Your Own Car
In Mooresville, there is a privately owned and operated property called "The Lazy 5 Ranch." The ranch is enormous and filled with (mostly) free-roaming animals. Straight in the gate, you can buy a generous bucket of animal food.
While there is a more traditional zoo section, the real fun is in the safari. Once through the gates, you are not allowed to exit your car and you can feed the animals through your car window. The animals are not shy, so be prepared for them to try to take your entire bucket! It is quite a thrill.
8 Write In The Kindred Spirit Mailbox
If you journey to North Carolina's beaches, there are plenty of exciting tourist attractions. One that is quite unique is the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. For over 30 years, thousands of visitors from all walks of life have written heartfelt notes that rest in the mailbox.
The mailbox sits on an uninhabited island called Bird Island. So it is a bit of a walk. However, it's become a sacred site to both visitors and locals. There are notes of sadness, hope, and secrets stuffed into that little mailbox.
7 See The Cherokee Theatre, Unto These Hills
Since the 1950s, Native Americans of the Cherokee tribe have lived in a small town called Cherokee. The town welcomes visitors to their various attractions and stores. However, a must-see is at their Mountainside Theater.
Every summer from June to August they perform Unto These Hills, which is a re-telling of their history during America's colonization written by Kermit Hunter in 1950. The town of Cherokee is one of the few, if not the only, place this play can be seen.
6 Try Indoor Skydiving
The perfect activity for those who want to fly but are scared of heights: Indoor skydiving! Many do not know that this is even a thing, let alone that you can experience it in Raeford, North Carolina.
The place where you can try indoor flight is Paraclete XP Skyventure, which is a training ground for military and civilian skydivers. They can take tourists for a little flight in their wind-tunnel if they can pay a large sum.
5 Visit A Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum
In this museum, you will see all sorts of paranormal artifacts from haunted dolls to Bigfoot's footprints. It's based in Littleton and overseen by cryptozoologist Stephen Barcelo. For such a small town, the museum is packed with a lot of information regarding UFO sightings and ghosts. They even sometimes do ghost tours.
The museum was founded in 2015 and tells just as much about Littleton's history as it teaches about the paranormal.
4 Camp At The Devil's Tramping Ground
The Devil's Tramping Ground is one of North Carolina's most famous haunted sites. It is a mysterious circle where nothing grows. It's also known that any object put into the circle at dusk will be moved out of it by dawn. There are many stories, such as animals refusing to go into the circle to campers hearing feet walking around.
The main legend is that the devil comes there at night to dance or pace while thinking of how to bring all humans to damnation.
3 Slide Down A Natural Rock Slide
Known as "Sliding Rock," this hidden gem is located in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest. Due to erosion, the slippery rocks of the river have become a natural waterpark slide! It's 60 feet long and its base is a natural pool for visitors to slide into.
However, the water is very cold even in the hot summers. It's advised to bring towels so you do not freeze after taking a dip.
2 See Blue Ghost Fireflies
These beautiful blue fireflies are rarely seen and are known to just appear near DuPont State Forest and only from mid-May to Mid-June. They also solely appear after sunset. Due to their habitats dwindling and climate change, they may not be as easy to see for much longer. They are also known to be nearly impossible to capture on camera.
They also have a local legend attached to them. Some say the fireflies are ghosts of Confederate soldiers from the Civil War.
1 Stroll Through A Flesh-Eating Plant Garden
Botanical gardens sometimes have some carnivorous plants, but not to the extent of the Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Plant Garden in Wilmington, North Carolina. It's the world's only public carnivorous plant garden, although one is arguably more than enough. It was named after a carnivorous plant collector and enthusiast that locals called the "Flytrap Man."
A lot of the plants have teeth, so visitors are advised to wear close-toed shoes both for your safety and the plants! They would rather eat bugs than your feet.