North Carolina’s Hidden Hot Spots

Posted on March 18, 2017

It is no secret that North Carolina is one of the great places to be. We live in a beautiful state where you are never too far away from the mountains or the sea. Popular places like Charlotte, Asheville, Raleigh, and Wilmington are great places for fun, and family travel, but what about those small towns in-between?

I want to explore some of those not so familiar North Carolina towns that are really starting to make their way onto the map.

Fuquay – Varina

This rapidly growing town is a place very close to my heart. It is where I learned to swim, played sports and attending my freshman year of high school but it is much different now. Fuquay-Varina was formally two different towns that eventually joined in 1963. Because they were originally separate there are two historic downtowns that have been able to grow while keeping that small town feel. There are now a large number of restaurants and markets that keep the downtown areas very lively.

Fuquay-Varian’s growth can’t be attributed to one thing but I would say Aviator Brewing Company sent it in the right direction. It is now one of the town’s biggest hot spots and it has given the town a younger more modern feel. I wouldn’t have thought was possible when I was younger. With a Tap House, Beer Shop and Smokehouse, all in the small downtown area, I would say they have really livened up the nightlife. Thanks to the Aviator some of my family members are ever starting to like good beer…. 🙂

Fuquay is a great town, with an unbelievable spirit and culture. If you are looking for a new place to explore just outside of Raleigh I would highly suggest starting here.

Looking for something fun to do on Memorial Day Weekend? WRAL Freedom Ballon Festival in Fuquay-Varina is a great place to be!

Blowing Rock

This little town is situated right on the parkway. It has beautiful views, great outdoor activities and you cannot beat the weather in the summer or the leaves in the fall. My favorite part of downtown Blowing Rock is probably the different restaurants and watching candle making at High County Candles. If you are looking for something a little more thrilling there are ski slopes, zip lines and plenty of rivers to tube down.

If I was retiring tomorrow this is where I would go. They may not have all the breweries that Asheville has but Blowing Rock has some serious class. Not to mention, it would be very convenient to attend all the Mountaineer football games.

Blowing Rock is very close to several other lovely mountain towns like Banner Elk, Linville, and Boone; other places at the top of my retiring list.


Morganton is a town that I haven’t spent much time in. Apparently, it is a great town to retire to but they also have a lot going on. Morganton is a great place to go if you are looking for something low key or outdoor. They have 11 parks and over 400 acres of land used for recreation. They also have a large mix of antique shops, restaurants, and plenty of community activities and festivals. I also love that it is so close to the parkway. There is nothing more relaxing than taking a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The last time I traveled up the mountains I thankfully took the back way through Morganton. I stumbled upon Fonta Flora Brewery and I have to say it is now one of my favorite breweries. They have amazing beer and a great atmosphere! If nothing else, take a special trip to Morganton for Fonta Flora!


If you ever find your way onto the Outer Banks, I really encourage you to take your time driving up the coast. The Outer Banks are filled with History and truly all the towns along the way are amazing! I have had the pleasure of spending a good amount of time in Corolla.

Corolla is a bit of a hike but it is so worth it. This is a very family oriented place with nice beaches and plenty of activities to do with your family. If you are up for a little adventure and you have four wheel drive, I suggest driving even further north. Eventually, the road ends and you are able to drive on the beach. There is nothing better than spending the day with your family and friends, away from it all, on the beach.

The Village of Pinehurst

Looking for a romantic getaway or weekend with the girls? The Village of Pinehurst might be the place. Pinehurst is historical and elegant. I am always amazed when I am there, it just truly feels like you are in another world.

I come from a family of golfers so I spent a lot of time in Pinehurst watching tournaments when I was little. There are over 40 different golf courses within a short drive of the Village

If golf isn’t your thing there is still plenty to do. There are miles of beautiful greenway trails, Lake Pinehurst, and multiple family parks.


If you want to have a different kind of weekend go to Cherokee! The town of Cherokee is located on the Eastern Cherokee Reservation, because of this, it is unlike any other town are you going to find. The amount of culture here is amazing.

Cherokee seems to be one of the liveliest towns in North Carolina. There is always something fun going on whether it is a fishing tournament, festivals or music on the river.

My favorite part about Cherokee is its location. It is right in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains…can you tell I am obsessed with the mountains? I was lucky enough to call the Smoky’s my house for a summer and even though I only made $25 a week (yes, $25…) it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. The mountains are beautiful, they are teeming with wildlife and it is a hikers dream.


There are so many towns in North Carolina that are worth mentioning, these are just a few that I have had the joy of visiting.  If you are planning a family vacation or if you just want to get out of the city for a day, I highly suggest you take a drive through some of these towns. Do a little research, you would be surprised at the activities going on every day.

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