11 Key Historical Sites On North Carolina To Visit

Please note that some posts may contain affiliate links. We may earn a commission should you choose to purchase using these links but at absolutely no extra cost to you.

North Carolina is a great place to learn about history. Its records begin as early as 1585, and it has played an essential role in the history of America. There are over 27 historical sites in North Carolina scattered across the state, each significant in history.

North Carolina has been part of the French and Indian civil wars, the revolutionary and American civil wars. It is also believed to be the first Colony to declare independence from Great Britain.

Here are some of the prominent historical sites in North Carolina that will begin your journey as you explore the historical places in NC. 

Most Famous North Carolina Historic Site


Biltmore is a historical museum and one of the important historical sites in North Carolina. It is George Washington Vanderbilt’s 8,000-acre historic county estate built in the 1880s.

The Biltmore estate is a National Historic Landmark and is among the historic sites in North Carolina. It is a perfect example of a gilded age mansion. The estate features the Biltmore House, America’s largest privately owned home.

In addition to the Biltmore House, the estate also features attractive gardens, forested trails, the Biltmore winery, extensive art, and antique collections, and a 10,000-volume library. It is suitable for people of all ages and offers various activities.

National Historical Sites In North Carolina

Fort Raleigh National Historic Site 

Fort Raleigh was the site of the Battle of Roanoke Island during the American Civil War. It was a relatively small battle. After the battle of Roanoke Island, Fort Raleigh was established as the “Freedmen’s Colony.” It was the site to prepare the formerly enslaved African Americans for life after the war.

This site preserves the cultural heritage of the Native Americans, African Americans, and European Americans who lived on Roanoke Island. The Fort Raleigh National Historical Site also protects portions of the “lost” settlements of the English Colony.

Fort Raleigh is the only one among North Carolina’s historic sites with two monuments. Fort Raleigh also offers scenic trails, an outdoor theatre, programs, and fishing opportunities. Take a trip back to one of the iconic historical places in NC.


Wright Brothers National Memorial 

Wright Brothers National Memorial is an important historical site in North Carolina. It is the place where the Wrights brothers experimented with flight and succeeded.

A visit to this fascinating destination allows you to see where the first aircraft took off, reproductions of the brothers’ camp buildings, and a replica of the Wright brothers’ plane.

You can also climb the Big Kill Devil Hill to see the monument honoring the historic achievements of the Wright brothers. This fantastic monument offers guided lectures, outdoor exhibits, and an excellent museum.

It is one of the famous landmarks and historic places that North Carolina is known for.

Fort Fisher Historic Site 

Fort Fisher was a confederate fort during the American Civil War, defending the vital trading routes at Wilmington, North Carolina, and the last major open port to the confederacy. It protected the blockade runners by supplying necessary items and reservoirs to the armies inland.

It is the site of one of the most significant civil war battles and fell in 1865. Fort Fisher Historic Site is a museum and a National Historic Landmark among the historical places in North Carolina. Only about ten percent of the fort remains as a historical reference point.

The museum offers exhibits and guided tours to view the fort’s remains.

Old Salem Museums and Gardens Administrative Offices 

Old Salem Museum and Gardens Administrative offices is a historical site and living history museum, settled initially by Monrovians in the mid-1700s.

The Old Salem District was declared a national historic landmark in 1966. This district showcases the Monrovian culture from the 18th and 19th centuries alongside houses, churches, shops, and communal buildings.

Old Salem Museum and Gardens Administrative offices are one of the most comprehensive historical places in North Carolina. It has extensive historical attractions and museums that offer an immersive educational experience and showcases the art and culture of the people of the early American South.

The old Salem district is also home to the Winkler Bakery, the oldest operating bakery in the United States.

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site 

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is the home of the writer and poet Carl Sandburg. It was established as a national historic site to honor the achievements of Carl Sandburg. You’ll learn about Carl Sandburg’s life and career at this site.

Carl Sandburg’s home features a 5-mile network of hiking trails, a premier goat dairy and breeding program, and a bookstore. Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is only accessible through guided tours.

This National Historic Site gives an insight into the life of the man referred to as “more than the voice of America,” his written legacy, and theatrical productions featuring an excerpt from the Broadway play, the world of Carl Sandburg. It offers beautiful natural scenery and exciting history.


Other Historical Sites In North Carolina

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site 

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson is one of North Carolina’s historic sites that takes you back to the past. The town was the first permanent settlement of the Cape Fear Region. 

The town was established in 1726 and destroyed in 1776 by British troops. It was never rebuilt, and during the civil war, it became Fort Anderson.  

Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site allows you to learn history. Within the Fort Anderson Historic site is a museum with historical exhibits, old home structures, and trails to view the remnants of building structures.

The location offers demonstrations, colonial and civil war history, and mosaics depicting historical events. It is almost a forgotten site, but it holds essential records.

Dive into historical events at one of the fascinating North Carolina historical places.

Battleship North Carolina 

The battleship North Carolina is the most decorated US battleship of WWII. It was decommissioned in 1961 and served as a memorial to soldiers who served from North Carolina and the previous ships named “North Carolina.”

The battleship is one of the historical sites in NC where you can feel and experience history as it comes alive. It is a museum exhibiting the war items, the lives of many North Carolinians who fought for the Nation, and the stories created at this iconic site.

It is a must-see when exploring North Carolina’s Historical places. Battleship NC hosts events and programs accentuating the ship’s features. 

You can take self-guided tours to explore the ship.


Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest and most beautiful lighthouse in the US, with a height of 198 feet. The black and white striped lighthouse is the icon of Hatteras Island.

The current Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the second lighthouse built to service Hatteras island. It was authorized because the first lighthouse, built in 1803, was ineffective in protecting ships from the shifting sandbars.

The area surrounding the lighthouse is nicknamed the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” about 600 ships sunk in this area due to powerful ocean currents and shifting diamond shoals.

Cape Hatteras is usually open to all, even climbers (Note: it is currently close for restoration). The top of the lighthouse offers scenic views of the surrounding area. This is an iconic landmark that still serving a functional purpose among NC historic sites.

Historic Yates Mill County Park 

The Historic Yates Mill County Park is a 174-acre park in Raleigh. It is a wild refuge environmental research center and one of the historic sites in NC.

The park’s main attraction is the Historic Yates Mill, a fully restored water-powered gristmill in Wake County. It was established in 1756 and is the only operating grain mill in the county.

The park features a visitor’s center, a museum showcasing the area’s natural history, and an auditorium for research. The Historic Yates Mill County Park also features hiking trails and a serene atmosphere.

The park offers guided tours to visitors and fishing opportunities. 

Tryon Palace 

Tryon palace is renowned as one of the historic places in NC. It served as the North Carolina Capitol and home to the Royal Governor William Tryon. Tryon palace was regarded as one of the finest buildings in North America.

In the late 1700s, a fire destroyed the original building. Recognizing the historical value of Tryon Palace, a campaign was launched by the state and its citizens to rebuild the palace using the original building plan. A modern recreation of the Tryon Palace was built and opened to the public in 1959.

Tryon palace features two museums, interactive technology, history programs, a waterfront CafĂ©, gardens, and more. Tryon palace offers visitors an opportunity to learn about America’s history.

Discovering The Historical Sites in North Carolina

The historical sites in North Carolina are all relevant and tell the story of the state’s role in forming the history of America. Some of them are also key landmarks in North Carolina. For history buffs, these are the perfect destination to explore.

Discover these historical places in North Carolina to revisit the past and learn about the crucial history and heritage of the state and country.



Book Your Flight

I usually use a combination of 2-3 of the following search engines to find cheap flights: Skyscanner, Momondo, Google Flights

Find Your Accommodation

Booking.com is my usual platform for finding accommodation options as they have one of the largest selections. Hostelworld is great for booking hostels. For more private or long term accommodation, Airbnb is my go-to platform.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is important for to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances. I usually look at a few insurance companies depending on my travel needs.
  • SafetyWings for Travel Health Insurance
  • IMG Global for added Insurance when doing activities outside of usual coverage
Packing for your trip? Check out the packing list for ideas on what to bring

For more travel resources, check out my resources page for best platforms and companies to use when you travel.

More Adventures


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

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.


other stories