Ultimate Summer Bucket List Without Leaving NC

Ah, North Carolina in the summertime – where the sun shines, the barbecue sizzles and the sweet tea flows like a lazy river. Whether you are a Tar Heel native or just passing through, there is no shortage of adventures to be had during the sweltering summer months. So, grab your sunscreen, lace up your hiking boots and get ready to check off these must-do activities on your NC summer bucket list!

  • Conquer the Outer Banks: Start your summer odyssey with a pilgrimage to the Outer Banks, where sandy shores and salty breezes await. Climb to the top of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for panoramic views of the coast, or try your hand at hang-gliding over the dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park. And, don’t forget to indulge in some fresh seafood – after all, when in the OBX, it’s shrimp and grits for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
  • Tube the New River: For a leisurely day on the water, grab your inner tube and float down the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world. Drift past lush forests, rocky cliffs and the occasional lazy turtle sunbathing on a log. Bonus points if you bring along a cooler filled with ice-cold beverages to keep you refreshed along the way.

  • Chase Waterfalls: In NC, chasing waterfalls is practically a rite of passage. Head to the western part of the state to explore the stunning waterfalls of Pisgah National Forest or Dupont State Recreational Forest. Just remember to pack your swimsuit – you’ll want to take a refreshing dip in the cool mountain waters after your hike.
  • Catch a Show at the Biltmore: Step back in time with a visit to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, the largest privately owned home in America. Explore the opulent rooms of the mansion, stroll through the meticulously manicured gardens and cap off your visit with a concert under the stars at the Biltmore’s outdoor amphitheater. Pro tip: Bring a picnic basket filled with gourmet goodies and a bottle of wine to enjoy during the show.
  • Sample Moonshine in the Smokies: No trip to NC would be complete without a taste of the local moonshine. Head to the Great Smoky Mountains or even Wilkes County, once known as the “moonshine capital of the world,” to visit one of the many moonshine distilleries that dot the landscape. From fruity concoctions to fiery white lightning, there’s a moonshine flavor to suit every palate. Just be sure to sip responsibly – this stuff has been known to sneak up on you!
  • Go on a BBQ Crawl: NC is renowned for its barbecue, and no summer bucket list would be complete without a BBQ crawl. From Lexington-style pork shoulder to Eastern-style whole hog, there’s no shortage of mouthwatering options to choose from. Grab a bib and prepare to get messy as you sample the best ‘cue the state has to offer.
  • Camp Under the Stars: Spend a night under the stars at one of NC’s many picturesque campsites. Whether you prefer pitching a tent in the mountains, by the beach, beside a tranquil lake or state park, there’s a campsite to suit every outdoor enthusiast. Don’t forget to pack marshmallows for roasting over the campfire – no camping trip is complete without s’mores!

North Carolina offers a summer playground filled with endless adventures just waiting to be experienced. From beach bumming on the Outer Banks to sipping moonshine in the Smokies, there’s something for everyone to enjoy without leaving NC. So, grab your bucket list and start checking off those summer dreams – after all, life’s too short to spend it indoors!


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!

Latest Stories

Other Featured Articles


All Article in Current Issue

Be Well Table

Mexican Chicken Rice Bowls The best part of

Hodge Podge Lodge

It all started with a simple question:  “What’s

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with our events and get exclusive article content right to your inbox!