North Carolina – Tar Heel State

“Esse quam videri” – to be, rather than to seem – is the state motto of North Carolina. This diverse state can be divided into three different regions; coast, mountains, and piedmont. We will explore each one and the variety of activities there are to do in each.

Whether you like to sit on the beach and soak up the sun, hike and wonder through small towns, or roam the big cities drinking wine and craft brews, there is a reason for you to visit, or stay, in North Carolina.

Charlotte

This most populous city in North Carolina is in the Piedmont region, known for craft beers, furniture marts, NASCAR and more.

As the home of NASCAR you will find the only motorsports hall of fame of its kind, the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The first floor is comprised of the Belk High Octane Theater which shows guests and first-time visitors primer videos. Moving upstairs is the Great Hall with a 14ft by 18ft video screen and rotating exhibits along with Glory Road, a 33-degree banked ramp featuring past and current cars and tracks. The third floor is a 360-degree Hall of Honor with each honoree enshrined in their own exhibit. The final floor is Heritage Speedway, a six-decade history of NASCAR, including artifacts from the history of stock car racing. Tickets start at $25 per adult, $18 per child, for general admission.

If racecars aren’t your thing maybe a 400-acre amusement park with a bonus 2-acre water park attached sounds fun. Carowinds was built on the state line of North and South Carolina to bring the two states closer together. The park is loaded with rollercoasters, drop rides, bumper cars and more. In 2015 the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster was opened, the Fury 325. The coaster is 325ft at its highest point and reaches a top speed of 95 mph, making it the sixth fastest in the world.

Thrill seekers may be inclined to visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center where the biggest feature is the world’s largest and most complex recirculating man-made whitewater river. The facility is open to the public and can be used for whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking. They recently opened a new aerial sports section containing a mega zip line and controlled free fall jump from a 46-foot tower!

The Hopper - Dish NetworkWith so much to see and explore, you’re bound to miss some of your favorite shows and television specials! Fortunately, Dish Network’s Hopper is an HD DVR program that enables you to pause, rewind, and record live TV Now you enjoy the nightlife of Cedar Falls without skipping out on the newest episode of Game of Thrones or Keeping Up with the Kardashians. What’s more, with 2,000 hours of recording space, there’s no need to argue about who gets the TV during primetime hours.

Raleigh

A perfect getaway, Raleigh has luxury hotels, award-winning chefs and spa getaways to pamper yourself. After your relaxed check out the many art and history museums the area has to offer.

The city is often referred to as the “Smithsonian of the South” due to the number of museums and historical attractions. The North Carolina Museum of History, which details the history of the state, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, featuring state-of-the-art exhibits, both have free admissions. If you want to make it a family day the kids will love the Marbles Kids Museum with tons of hands-on exhibits to keep them busy.

If you’re looking for some activities to do with the family, Blue Jay Point County Park is the place to be. Within the park is Go Ape, an adventure through the trees. Take a canopy tour by using the zip lines, Tarzan swings, rope lines and suspended bridges. Take it to another level and make is competitive – see who can get through the TreeRunner Adventure the fastest. You can also simply check out the “city in a park” and take advantage of the more than 180 miles of trails Raleigh has to offer.

Opened in 1887 as the first public park in N.C, Pullen Park is still open for enjoyment. The 66-acre park has concessions and a few rides including the Pullen Park Carousel, a classic wooden carousel built in 1900. Also located on the park grounds is the Pullen Aquatic Center, Art Center and Theatre in the Park. Take a break and ride the miniature train through a tunnel and around the park. A big hit with the kids is the real Southern Railway red caboose displayed that the kids can explore.

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Waynesville

If you love the outdoors, this city in the mountains region of North Carolina is for you. Waynesville offers urban charm, local shops, farm-to-table restaurants and fresh mountain air.

Located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains you will want to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. America’s most visited national park covers over half a million acres with a diversity of plants and animals and beautiful mountain scenes.

One of the most popular hikes in the park is the Cataloochee Valley. It’s also one of the most remote areas rich in cultural history. The area was once a settlement with original homesteads still there today. Tour the school, churches and homes to see what life may have been like in the early 1700s. Time your day just right and catch the elk grazing in the early morning or late evening in the meadows.

To cool off grab your map and make your way down one of the 18 different hiking trails to see some of the most beautiful waterfalls. Make sure to wear your swimsuit if you decide the visit Sliding Rock Waterfalls and face the challenge of the 50-foot slippery rock slide into the deep pool at the bottom. Or swim at Sunburst Swimming Hole where all the water comes from within the mountains around the creek making the water constantly fresh.

If you happen to visit in the fall, a drive on Blue Ridge Parkway is a must. The 469 mile linear park is named after the Blue Ridge Mountains. A drive along the parkway offers beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the countryside. It is most popular in the fall as all the leaves begin to turn bright red, orange and yellow.

While Waynesville is a wonderful place to explore, it’s always a good idea to have a backup. By purchasing an affordable television and internet bundle from Dish Network, you can indulge in some of your favorite programs from the comfort of your own home. As an added bonus, new customers get three free months of HBO®, Cinemax®, and Showtime®.

Wilmington

And finally, the coastal region of North Carolina where the breathtaking beaches, surfing, kayaking and much more take place.

Wilmington has three beaches to offer, each unique in their own way. Kure Beach is the perfect family destination with plenty of activities to keep everyone busy. This small-town beach has lots of big things to do. The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher has live animal encounters and feeding schedules or see the Fort Fisher State Historic Site with all Civil War era artifacts. End the day exploring the six miles of shoreline at the State Recreation Area.

Carolina Beach is a laid back, authentic beach scene. Relax on the miles of white sandy beaches and watch the surfers and kayakers out on the waves. Take a stroll down the beautiful beachside boardwalks and piers. In the evening enjoy the festivals and numerous events that take place while you dine outdoors on fresh seafood dishes.

Wrightsville Beach is just a few short minutes away and will pamper you so that you’ll want to stay. Voted “South’s Best Beach Towns” by Southern Living magazine, the beach is very high-end with endless amenities and activities. Take sailing lessons, standup paddleboarding lessons or book a fishing charter for the day. Get dressed up and jump on a 23-foot catamaran with Epic Excursions to be whisked away to a beautiful uninhabited island, served drinks and a fresh sea-to-table meal, for an evening you’ll never forget.

One day make sure to dust off the sand and head to Historic Downtown Wilmington to explore the Battleship North Carolina. This refurbished WWII Battleship is open every day as a memorial to the 11,000 North Carolinians who died during the war. The tickets are $14 for adults, $6 for kids and $10 for military/seniors to take the self-guided tour of the 6700 square foot ship.

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The Weather Can Get A Little Crazy

Bring on the coast has a lot of advantages, but it unfortunately comes with a few disadvantages too. North Carolina can experience severe weather in both the summer and the winter; however the summer brings the threat of rain, from heavy rain to hurricanes. Five hurricanes have hit the North Carolina coast with Hurricane Hazel being a major category four storm in 1954.

With hurricanes and tropical storms comes the threat of tornados spawning from within them. The state averages fewer then 20 tornados per year, however in April 2011 the state confirmed 30 tornados touched down killing at least 24 people, making it the worst tornado outbreak in the state’s history.

Services

North Carolinians will appreciate knowing the following companies are here to service them:

Duke Energy

One of the largest electric power holding companies in the United States, Duke Energy provides electricity to 7.6 million customers across six states, including North Carolina. They also provide natural gas distribution to more than 1.6 million customers across 5 states, including the Carolinas.

This Fortune 125 company has 150+ years of service and 49,500 megawatts of generating capacity. The company is a large supporter in their communities they serve, providing grants to nonprofit organizations in the fields of the environment, economic development, education and community.

Dominion Energy

As of January 1, 2019, Dominion Energy merges with SCANA to bring safe, clean energy to North and South Carolina. Operating in 18 states with a goal to keep rates low and protect the environment, they are the 4th largest solar fleet in the United States. This has allowed them to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost 50% since 2005 with a goal to reach 80% by 2050.

Dominion is dedicated to clean energy at an affordable price with rates below national, regional and state averages. Another bonus, one in five new hires is a veteran, making them the leading private employer of veterans.

Dish Network

DISH Installation, a national retailor for DISH, has been in business for 17+ years. They have an “A” rating with the BBB and offer free same-day or next-day installations.

New customers signing up are eligible for an exclusive sign-up bonus of a $100 free gift card. With DISH’s up-to-date technology they offer single whole-home solutions with one system, the Hopper and Joey. You also receive DISH anywhere for free, meaning you can watch live or recorded TV from anywhere – phone, computer – for free.

Conclusion

As you can see, North Carolina is a wonderful destination. From the Outer Banks hosting some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, America’s largest home, to the 1500 lakes and 37,000 miles of fresh water streams, North Carolina truly is a dream escape.

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