Mount Airy Main Street named Best North Carolina Attraction!

Battleship North Carolina, Biltmore Estate, Sarah P. Duke Gardens and Grandfather Mountain in top five

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast or culturephile, there's a lot going on in North Carolina. The state earns big points for its spectacular outdoor attractions, ranging from the secluded beaches of the Outer Banks to the forested peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But the cultural scene in cities from Asheville to Chapel Hill to Raleigh and Durham is just as appealing.

  • Corolla Wild Horses
    Corolla

    The secluded beach community of Corolla is famous for a different kind of resident, the wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs that roam freely on the beaches of this secluded Outer Banks destination. Guided 4x4 tours take visitors to see the horses in this rather remote area.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / shmac84

  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park

    Great Smoky Mountains National Park, straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, is one of the most biodiverse areas in North America. It's also the most visited national park in the nation for good reason; visitors can tour historic homes, see black bears in their natural habitat or spot some of the 1,500 species of flowering plants.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / LarryKnupp

  • Cape Lookout National Seashore
    Harkers Island

    Stretched along the outer banks of North Carolina, this national seashore includes a long narrow strip of beach that begins at Beaufort Inlet in the south to Ocracoke Inlet at its northernmost point. In between are a series of remote barrier islands highlighted by wide flat beaches bordered by protective dunes and grasslands. Ferries provide access to the seashore that is popular for swimming, birding, shelling and sunbathing.
    Photo courtesy of Kerby Price / NPS Photo

  • International Civil Rights Center & Museum
    Greensboro

    Greensboro's International Civil Rights Center & Museum is devoted to the struggle for human and civil rights around the world, while highlighting the nonviolent 1960s sit-ins that helped fuel the American Civil Rights Movement. 
    Photo courtesy of International Civil Rights Center & Museum

  • Blue Ridge Parkway

    Under the purview of the National Park Service, the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway winds for 469 miles through the tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Appalachian Highlands, connecting Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina with Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. While at its prettiest when painted with fall color, this iconic American drive is a destination in its own right - and one of the most visited places in the national park system.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / kellyvandellen

  • Grandfather Mountain

    Towering nearly 6,000 feet, Grandfather Mountain is one of the state's most popular outdoor playgrounds. Visitors can brave a Mile High Swinging Bridge, tour a nature museum, come eye to eye with native wildlife or hike miles of craggy alpine trails within the Grandfather Mountain attraction or neighboring Grandfather Mountain State Park.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / WerksMedia

  • Sarah P. Duke Gardens
    Durham

    The 55-acre Duke Gardens on the campus of Duke University in Durham are free to the public throughout the year. More than 4,000 varieties of colorful plants are on display along 5 miles of walkways and paths.
    Photo courtesy of Charles Twine / Sarah P. Duke Gardens

  • Biltmore Estate
    Asheville

    Biltmore, the country's largest privately owned home, includes 250 rooms and an 8,000-acre backyard. Built in 1895 for George Washington Vanderbilt II, Biltmore was fashioned after the French chateaus of the Loire Valley.
    Photo courtesy of The Biltmore Company

  • Battleship North Carolina
    Wilmington

    The first of ten fast U.S. battleships that saw service in World War II, the USS North Carolina was decommissioned in 1947 and was narrowly saved from scrappers in 1960. Today she sits anchored in the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, N.C., where visitors can walk her decks and learn the stories of the crew who served on board.
    Photo courtesy of Mr.TinDC / Flickr

  • Mount Airy Main Street
    Mount Airy

    The charming town of Mount Airy was Andy Griffith's childhood home and the inspiration behind the town of Mayberry in his 1960s classic The Andy Griffith Show. The town's historic Main Street looks much like its fictional counterpart, complete with vintage squad cars and a replica of the jail and courthouse from the show.
    Photo courtesy of G Keith Hall / Wikimedia Commons

10Best enlisted a panel of North Carolina travel writers and photographers to nominate their favorite state attractions, and for the past four weeks, 10Best readers have been voting for their favorites.

The top 10 winners in the category Best North Carolina Attraction are as follows:

  1. Mount Airy Main Street - Mount Airy
  2. Battleship North Carolina - Wilmington
  3. Biltmore Estate - Asheville
  4. Sarah P. Duke Gardens - Durham
  5. Grandfather Mountain
  6. Blue Ridge Parkway
  7. International Civil Rights Center & Museum - Greensboro
  8. Cape Lookout National Seashore - Harkers Island
  9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  10. Corolla Wild Horses - Corolla

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Jason Frye, Charles McCool (McCoolTravel.com), Renata Parker, Ramsey Qubein (RamseyQ.com), Lynn and Cele Seldon (www.seldonink.com), Lan Sluder (Awesome Asheville), Michael J. Solender (michaeljwrites.com) and Kristy Tolley were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of travel in North Carolina.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions.

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Jason Frye

Jason Frye

Charles McCool

Charles McCool

Renata Parker

Renata Parker

Ramsey Qubein

Ramsey Qubein

Lynn and Cele Seldon

Lynn and Cele Seldon

Lan Sluder

Lan Sluder

Michael J. Solender

Michael J. Solender

Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley