Interesting facts about North Carolina

north carolina flag

North Carolina is a state in the southeastern region of the United States.

It borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west, Virginia to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

As of September 2018, the population of North Carolina was estimated to be about 10.3 million people. It is the 9th most populous state in the United States.

North Carolina is the 28th largest state in the United States in terms of total area with 139,390 square kilometers (53,819 square miles).

Raleigh is the capital the second-largest city of North Carolina. Raleigh is known as the “City of Oaks” for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city.


North Carolina terrain is diverse. The eastern 2/5 of North Carolina is characterized as coastal plain and tidewater. Moving west, the next 2/5 of North Carolina, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) wide, consists of a piedmont plateau. In the west, the land slopes upward from gentle to rugged rolling hills to the high southern Appalachian Mountains containing the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains.

Mount Mitchell is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in mainland eastern North America. It is located near Burnsville in Yancey County, North Carolina, in the Black Mountain subrange of the Appalachians, and about 31 kilometers (19 miles) northeast of Asheville. Mount Mitchell’s elevation is 2,037 meters (6,684 feet) above sea level.

mount mitchell

North Carolina has 484 kilometers (301 miles) of coastline, from the Outer Banks to the South Carolina border, and nearly all of it is accessible beachfront.

The Outer Banks is a 320-kilometer (200-mile) -long string of barrier islands and spits off the coast of North Carolina. The Outer Banks are a major tourist destination and are known around the world for their wide expanse of open beachfront.

outer banks

North Carolina has 10 national parks and 41 state parks.

Pisgah National Forest is a National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina. The forest is completely contained within the state of North Carolina. The Pisgah National Forest was established in 1916, one of the first national forests in the eastern United States. The new preserve included approximately 35,000 hectares (86,700 acres) that had been part of the Biltmore Estate, but were sold to the federal government in 1914 by Edith Vanderbilt.

pisgah national forest

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States, noted for its scenic beauty. The parkway, which is America’s longest linear park,[3] runs for 469 miles (755 km) through 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties, linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs mostly along the spine of the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains.

blue ridge parkway

Chimney Rock State Park is a North Carolina state park in Chimney Rock, Rutherford County. The 2,755-hectare (6,807-acre) park is located 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Asheville. It has hiking trails for all skill levels, views of the Devil’s Head balancing rock and a 123-meter (404-foot) waterfall, Hickory Nut Falls. Its most notable feature is a 96-meter (315-foot) rock formation, a granite monolith, Chimney Rock, accessible by elevator and providing views of the park and surrounding countryside.

chimney rock state park

One of North Carolina’s must-see attractions is the Biltmore Estate, one of the top attractions in Asheville. It measures 2,812 hectares (6,950 acres) or 28.12 square kilometers (10.86 square miles). Biltmore House is the largest privately owned house in the United States, at 16,623 square meters (178,926 square feet) of floor space and 12,568 square meters (135,280 square feet) of living area.

biltmore estate

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS) is located in Raleigh. This museum is the oldest established museum in North Carolina and the largest museum of its kind in the Southeastern United States. With about 1.2 million visitors annually is the state’s most popular museum or historic destination among visitors.

north carolina museum of natural sciences

Located in Wilmington, the USS North Carolina was the first of 10 battleships to join the American fleet in WWII having been commissioned on April 9, 1941. The vessel is well armed: there are nine 16-inch, 45-caliber guns in three turrets, and 20 five-inch, 38-caliber guns in ten twin mounts. She was the world’s greatest sea weapon, but today tourists can wander through the ship to visit the mess hall, tour the sailor’s and officer’s quarters, and wander the expansive deck to see the intimidating guns up-close and personal.

uss north carolina

Woodland-culture Native Americans were in the area around 1000 BC; starting around 750 AD, Mississippian-culture Indians created larger political units with stronger leadership and more stable, longer-term settlements.

Giovanni de Varrazano is the first European to visit North Carolina in 1524.

The first English colony in America was located on Roanoke Island. Walter Raleigh founded it. The colony mysteriously vanished with no trace except for the word “Croatoan” scrawled on a nearby tree.

North Carolina is one of the original 13 colonies.

north carolina map flag

It was the first state to instruct its delegates to vote for independence from the British crown during the Continental Congress.

In 1861, North Carolina seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy in the Civil War. In 1865 North Carolina troops surrendered, and in 1868 the state was brought back into the Union.

The 20th century has seen North Carolina transformed into a modern state, a transformation that began when the Wright Brothers flew the first airplane in Kitty Hawk, NC in 1903.

North Carolina is the largest producer of sweet potatoes in the nation. The state also leads the nation in furniture, tobacco, brick, and textile production.

North Carolina led the world in the production of naval stores from about 1720 to 1870, and it was this industry which gave to North Carolina its nickname, “Tar Heel State.”

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