20 Interesting And Fun Facts About North Carolina [Explained]

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North Carolina is a southern state that borders the Atlantic Ocean. The state is known for its diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. Did you know that North Carolina is home to the Great Smoky Mountains? That is just one of the many fun facts about North Carolina. 

Quick Statistics And Facts About North Carolina

  • Capital: Raleigh
  • Population: 10.7 Million (9th Populous State in the U.S)
  • Land Area: 53,819 sq mi / 139,390 km² (28th Largest in the U.S)
  • Nickname: The Tar Heel State
  • Abbreviation: NC
  • Statehood: November 21, 1789 (12th U.S State)
  • State Bird: Northern Cardinal
  • State Flower: Flowering Dogwood

Historical Facts About North Carolina

It Was Home To The Lost Colony Of Roanoke 

In 1585, an English settler named Sir Walter Raleigh came to America and settled in a colony on Roanoke Island in North Carolina. However, when Raleigh later returned to England, the colony mysteriously vanished, and the word “Croatoan” was the only thing left on a tree. That led to it being pegged as “The Lost Colony” of Roanoke. 

Another related fun fact about North Carolina is that the capital, Raleigh, actually got its name from Sir Walter Raleigh.

North Carolina Was One Of The Original Colonies 

King George recognized the efforts of eight English noblemen who helped him keep the throne by giving them the Carolina Province in 1663. It remained an English colony from 1663 to 1776, when it rebelled against Great Britain and joined with America during the Revolutionary War. 

A bonus North Carolina fact is that during the Continental Congress in 1774-1776, it was the first state to tell its delegates to vote for independence from Britain.

The Agriculture Industry Relied On Slaves


During the early years, North Carolina’s main industry was agriculture, which relied on slavery. By 1860, more than 30% of the population in North Carolina was comprised of slaves. 

During this time frame, spiritual groups such as the Quakers fought hard to convince enslavers to liberate slaves. Even though they achieved a certain degree of success, many African Americans remained oppressed and exploited.

It Was The Last to Secede And Was Home To Many Battles


On May 20, 1861, North Carolina became the last state to secede from the Union during the American Civil War. Additionally, the state saw lots of fighting during the war. It was even home to an important battle, “The Battle of Bentonville,” near Durham, which was the last battle of the Civil War.

In 1903, Orville And Wilbur Wright Made Aviation History

The Wright Brothers and their achievements in aviation are some of the many things North Carolina is known for.

Although they were from Ohio, the Wright Brothers chose Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, as the site for their aviation experiment due to its favorable wind conditions. 

They conducted years of testing in North Carolina and finally achieved their historic first powered flight on December 17th, 1903. 

Today, North Carolina honors the Wright Brothers and their legacy through the Wright Brothers National Memorial, which serves as a reminder of the state’s significant contribution to the advancement of aviation.

“The Greensboro Four” Was A Pivotal Moment In The Civil Rights Movement 

The “Greensboro Four” happened in Greensboro, North Carolina, and was comprised of four African American students who staged protests at the racially divided Woolworth’s lunch counter. They refused to leave until they were served. Their courage and bravery helped other college students nearby follow suit after hearing about their demonstration.

The “Greensboro Four” inspired the establishment of the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, NC.

Cultural Facts About North Carolina

North Carolina Honors Its Heritage 


North Carolina blends old traditional ways from the Deep South with modern, business-minded culture. The coastal towns still honor their colonial heritage, while the Appalachian towns have unique folk traditions. In large cities, there is an emphasis on high-tech research and business. 

No matter where you go, people highly value their history and traditions. However, the famous southern hospitality hasn’t been lost during the state’s development. Even in large cities, people are friendly and laid back.

North Carolina Is The BBQ Capital


Have you ever had really good barbecue food? Well, an exciting fact about North Carolina cuisine is that it’s known for its barbecue. 

It even has two distinct styles. The Eastern barbecue style uses a whole hog and a vinegar-based sauce, while the Western barbecue style primarily uses pork shoulders and a tomato-based sauce. So when you go to North Carolina, make sure to get both styles and compare them to see which one you like best.

North Carolina’s Literary Works Are A Key Part Of Its Cultural Identity


From renowned authors to everyday readers, the state has plenty of famous names whose writing reflects the region’s history and values. Themes like family relationships, race, and Southern society all feature in these beautiful pieces, giving you a better understanding of North Carolina culture. 

Various events and festivals honor the local literary community while promoting literacy in the area. There are historical sites in North Carolina dedicated to important writers and personalities which allow you to discover more about the state’s rich legacy. 

Simple Facts About North Carolina For Kids

North Carolina Has Diverse Wildlife Thanks To Its Distinct Geographic Regions


Well-known species such as American bison, elk, white-tailed deer, gray wolves, and cougars are part of the wildlife in the state. Additionally, it hosts abundant fish and amphibians in its eastern region, from albacore tuna and tiger sharks in its coastal areas to bass trout and pike in its freshwater zones. 

Furthermore, there are 470 different bird species present in North Carolina, including the state bird, a northern cardinal, as well as hummingbirds, doves, and hawks.

Krispy Kreme And Pepsi-Cola Were Founded In North Carolina


Vernon Rudolph founded the donut company in 1937 in Winston-Salem, and since then, it has expanded globally. Known for its glazed donuts and coffee, Krispy Kreme is a favorite. Aside from Krispy Kreme, Pepsi-Cola was also founded in North Carolina. 

Surprisingly, a pharmacist named Caleb Bradham created Pepsi-Cola in 1893. He originally called it “Brad’s Drink,” but later renamed it Pepsi-Cola in 1898. Now it has grown to become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of soft drinks.

Now when you go to North Carolina, you need to get a Krispy Kreme donut and a Pepsi and cherish them as you eat them, knowing you are in the state they originated from.

They Merged The Towns Of Winston and Salem


 It is now known as Winston-Salem, but did you know it used to be in two different places? An interesting fact about North Carolina is that before 1913, it had two towns: Winston and Salem.

Winston was known for its industrial and manufacturing prowess, and Salem was known for its Moravian roots and educational centers. 

On May 13th, 1913, a newly elected city board decided to merge the two cities to create a stronger community. The merger allowed for the pooling of resources and the use of each city’s strengths. That strategy proved to be successful, as Winstom-Salem is still standing tall.

It Is Home To Celebrities And The Filming Of Shows And Movies


A fact about North Carolina that you probably didn’t know is that the state is a very popular filming location for shows and movies. 

Teen dramas like One Tree Hill and Dawson’s Creek were filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Netflix show Outer Banks also made use of the North Carolina coast. Another famous movie filmed in North Carolina was The Hunger Games. 

On top of TV shows and movies, North Carolina is home to celebrities. Some celebrities include Zach Galifianakis, Julianne Moore, Emily Procter, Michael Jordan, Steph Curry, Tori Amos, and the late Andy Griffith, who filmed his show, The Andy Griffith Show, in the state. 

The NASCAR Hall Of Fame Is Located In North Carolina

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is a tribute to the state’s deep connection with stock car racing. This museum commemorates the abundant past of NASCAR and its forerunners. 

As far back as the Prohibition era, North Carolina was regarded as the originator of stock car racing because moonshiners modified their cars for speed. This led to NASCAR being officially established. 

The Hall of Fame offers interactive exhibits, artifacts, and historical vehicles so that when you visit, you can be part of this thrilling adventure. It comes as no surprise that this is one of the most visited attractions and landmarks in North Carolina.

Useful North Carolina Facts For Travelers

North Carolina Is The Best Place In The US To Explore Shipwrecks


If you’re interested in traveling to a location where you can explore shipwrecks in the US, North Carolina is the place.

The “Graveyard of the Atlantic” has sunk more than 5,000 ships over its 200-mile stretch of barrier islands and is home to countless tales of tragedy from as far back as the 1500s. 

Fortunately, the Gulf Stream’s waters help to preserve and protect these wrecks, giving people like you the opportunity to see them. The Outer Banks is one of the most renowned shipwreck areas in North Carolina and is home to the “Diamond Shoals” and the USS Monitor.

North Carolina Has The Largest Mansion In The US


The Biltmore Estate spans 8,000 acres of land and is the largest mansion in the United States. It has 255 rooms, gardens, and a winery. Many people from around the world come to see this mansion. 

It offers a slice of Versailles in this part of the world. The Vanderbilts constructed it in the late 1800s because one of their sons wanted a mini mountain getaway after falling in love with the North Carolina scenery. Now, millions of tourists visit it every year.

Bald Head Island Is The Perfect Place For Travel If Looking For Peace


Bald Head Island is located on North Carolina’s beaches and is the perfect island escape without leaving the continental United States. It’s only a short ferry ride from the rest of civilization, and cars aren’t allowed, so guests have to explore the region on foot, by bike, or by golf cart. 

With 14 miles of beaches and a historic lighthouse on its shores, Bald Head Island offers many things to do and see. Additionally, Bald Head Island is known for its sea turtle nesting activity.

Pisgah National Park Is A Great Place To Hike


Known as the Grand Canyon of the East, Pisgah National Forest is located in the mountains of western North Carolina. This spot is a dream destination for hikers, rock climbers, anglers, and campers. The .7-mile Gorge Trail leads tourists to awesome views. 

Linville Falls is where a misty shower awaits participants who might have worked up a sweat. Plus, serene panoramic views can be taken in from multiple locations at the rim of this grand ravine.

North Carolina Is A Top Producer Of Beer and Wine


For centuries, North Carolina has crafted beer and wine to perfection. 

Across the state, there are over 140 breweries and 159 wineries; particularly, Asheville features Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, as well as smaller establishments like Wicked Weed or Burial Beer Co. 

In the Triangle region (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill), there are more than 20 breweries that have set up shop. 

Going further into history, visitors have commented on the grapes of North Carolina since 1584. This contributed to the opening of Medoc Vinyard, an official commercial winery, in 1835. But now Yadkin Valley takes pride in being a premier destination for top-quality wines.

There Is A Well-known Art Museum In Raleigh

The North Carolina Museum of Art is the first state-owned art museum, having opened its doors in 1956. Its traces can be found as early as 1924, when the North Carolina State Art Society was formed and started displaying works in 1929. The collection grew exponentially after the state legislature gave away $1 million in 1947. 

Exhibitions and programs are held to both entertain and enlighten visitors regarding different artworks. The North Carolina Museum of Art is an innovative reference for other state-owned art organizations.

Discovering More Fun Facts About North Carolina

There are so many interesting North Carolina facts that these barely scratch the surface. North Carolina is an amazing state with great scenery, lots of history, and many things to do. 

The best way to experience the state is of course to visit it first hand yourself. You are bound to uncover more amazing facts about North Carolina and the local culture.



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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.


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