25 Things North Carolina is Known and Famous For

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What comes to mind when you think of North Carolina? One of the first things that North Carolina is known for is its tobacco production. For centuries, tobacco has been one of North Carolina’s most important crops, and the state is still known for its high-quality tobacco products. But there’s much more to North Carolina, particularly for visitors and travelers.

What Is North Carolina Known For?

North Carolina is known for its arts and culture, being a pioneer in aviation, and beautiful state parks with massive mountains. This southern state features friendly people, delicious food, and charming nature. North Carolina is also famous for being the founding place for several iconic brands, including Pepsi and Krispy Creme.

Sometimes referred to as the Tar Heel State, North Carolina can be a fascinating destination for travelers who love to discover new stuff. Here are some things that North Carolina is known for that you should know before visiting.

Famous Food In North Carolina


Eastern and Lexington BBQ

North Carolina is known for its barbecue, with two main styles – Eastern and Lexington. For fans of succulent meat, this is definitely a treat to try.

Eastern style BBQ is all about the whole pork, which is cooked over an open pit of hardwood coals. The meat is then chopped or pulled and served with a vinegar-based sauce on the side. This style is common along the coast of Piedmont.

In Lexington style, they focus more on the pork shoulder, which is smoked and then served with a ketchup and vinegar-based sauce. The sauce tends to be sweeter and thicker.

Whichever style you prefer, North Carolina knows how to do BBQ right! Make sure you give it a shot. Better yet, try both styles to find out which is your favorite.

This is after all one of the most famous foods in North Carolina.


Fried Green Tomatoes With Pimento Cheese

This dish is a Southern classic and North Carolina does it best. Fried green tomatoes are a popular side dish or appetizer, but they can also be a meal in themselves.

They are exactly what they sound like – green tomatoes that are battered and fried. Pimento cheese is a spread made with cheddar cheese, mayo, and pimentos. It is the perfect complement to fried green tomatoes and makes for a delicious and hearty dish.

There are many different ways to make fried green tomatoes, but this is a classic dish that will never go out of style. Give it a try the next time you’re in North Carolina!


Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme is a company that was founded in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 1937. The company is most famous for their original glazed doughnuts, which are fried and then coated with a sugar and cinnamon glaze.

The company has since expanded worldwide, but the original Krispy Kreme location in Winston-Salem is still in operation today. Krispy Kreme is also popular for their innovative flavors, such as green tea and pumpkin spice.

If you’re ever in North Carolina, a visit to Krispy Kreme is a must, particularly for donut fans.

Texas Pete Hot Sauce

North Carolina is home to the popular Texas Pete hot sauce. This sauce, which you might assume is from Texas from its name, actually comes from Winston-Salem in 1929 and is still made there today.

Texas Pete hot sauce is a staple in many North Carolina households. It is commonly used as a condiment, but it can also be used in cooking to add a bit of spice.

If you’re a fan of spicy food and hot sauce, then you need to try Texas Pete. It has a unique flavor that sets it apart from other brands. Pick up a bottle the next time you’re in North Carolina, and it is also great as a souvenir!

Mt. Olive Pickles

Founded in 1926, Mt. Olive Pickles is the leading producer of pickles and relish in the United States. As you can guess from the name, their origins trace back to, well, Mount Olives in North Carolina. While their products are enjoyed by people all over the world, North Carolinians definitely love their pickles!

Mt. Olive offers a wide variety of pickled products including cucumbers, peppers, onions, and more. If you’re a fan of pickles, definitely check out Mt. Olive Pickles. You can find their products in most grocery stores.

History, Culture, And Traditions


Tar Heel State

North Carolina is commonly known as the Tar Heel State. There are several stories about how this nickname came to be. These are a couple of the popular ones that people subscribe to.

The first origin story comes from the state’s history in naval stores and shipbuilding. Tar, pitch, and turpentine were all products that were essential in these industries, and North Carolina was a leading producer of these items.

The second origin story is a little more light-hearted. During the Civil War, North Carolina soldiers were known for their tenacity in battle. After a particularly hard-fought battle, the soldiers’ shoes were covered in tar and mud.

The opposing army began calling them “tar heels” as a mocking or derogatory term. Nonetheless, North Carolina soldiers embraced it as a badge of honor and the name continues to stick.

Tobacco Production

Tobacco production has been a large part of North Carolina’s economy and history. The state has been a leading producer of tobacco since the early 1800s.

Tobacco is still produced in North Carolina today, but on a much smaller scale than it was in the past. The tobacco industry has declined significantly in recent years due to health concerns and smoking bans.

Despite this, North Carolina continues to be known for its tobacco production. It is still an important part of the state’s history and economy.


First In Flight Title

Not only is North Carolina home to the first powered flight in 1903, but it is also where the Wright brothers tested their prototypes and perfect their craft. The first flight happened in Kitty Hawk.

The Wright brothers were from Ohio, and they chose North Carolina as their testing ground because of the state’s varied terrain and weather conditions.

In honor of this achievement, The First in Flight Foundation was created. The foundation’s mission is to preserve and promote the legacy of the Wright brothers as well as foster an appreciation for aviation.

There has often been a debate between Ohio and North Carolina as to who should earn the First in Flight recognition. It was eventually settled that Ohio will have the “Birthplace of Aviation” title instead.

You can see the titles “First in Flight” and “Birthplace of Aviation” on the license plates from North Carolina and Ohio respectively.


Wineries, Vineyards, and Wine Production

North Carolina is home to over 200 wineries and 500 vineyards. The state’s wine industry has been growing rapidly in recent years and is now the 10th largest producer of grapes and wine in the United States.

The Yadkin Valley is one of the most well-known wine regions in North Carolina. The valley is home to over 40 wineries, making it the perfect place for a wine tour.

If you’re looking to learn more about North Carolina wine, the annual North Carolina Wine Festival is the largest wine festival in the state. It regularly features over 100 different wines from North Carolina wineries, as well as live music and food trucks.

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or just looking to try something new, North Carolina’s wine scene is definitely worth exploring or rather, sampling.

New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop 

This quirky tradition started in Mount Olive, North Carolina by Mount Olive Pickles. What started as a publicity stunt has now become an annual event that people come from all over to see.

A pickle is dropped from a flagpole at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and the event is complete with live music and entertainment.

This may not be the biggest or most well-known New Year’s Eve celebration, but it is certainly one of the most unique. If you find yourself in North Carolina on December 31st, this is something rather uniquely North Carolina to check out!


Birthplace of Pepsi-Cola

Did you know that Pepsi was invented in North Carolina? The popular soft drink was created by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in 1898. The original name of the drink was “Brad’s Drink” and it was made with a mix of carbonated water, sugar, vanilla, and other spices.

Pepsi was first sold as a soft drink in 1902 and the name was changed to Pepsi-Cola in 1903. Pepsi is now one of the most popular soft drinks in the world and it all started in North Carolina.

There is now a museum/store, literally called “The Birthplace of Pepsi-Cola” along Middle Street in New Bern, where you can visit to learn about the history.

Annual Cheerwine Festival

For fans of soda, you have to try Cheerwine while you’re in North Carolina. Created in Salisbury, North Carolina in 1917, Cheerwine is a cherry-flavored soft drink that is popular in the South.

While Cheerwine is available in stores all over the United States, it definitely has a cult following in North Carolina. It is so beloved in North Carolina that the state hosts an annual Cheerwine Festival. The festival celebrates all things Cheerwine with food, music, and of course, plenty of soda.

The festival is held in its origins place of Salisbury, which is about an hour from Charlotte. It’s a great excuse to get out of the city and explore another part of North Carolina. If you’re a fan of cherry-flavored anything, this festival is definitely for you!


Asheville Beer Week

Asheville is known for its many breweries, and Asheville Beer Week is the perfect time to visit if you’re a fan of craft beer. This week-long event celebrates all things beer with tastings, tours, and events at different breweries around Asheville.

This is a great opportunity to try some of the best beer in North Carolina and meet other beer lovers. If you’re visiting Asheville, make sure to check out the Asheville Beer Week website to see if it is happening during your visit.

Cities And Travel Destinations


Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and the second-largest city in the state. The city is known for its museums, parks, historical landmarks and some of the best beaches in North Carolina.

Some of the most popular attractions in Raleigh include the North Carolina Museum of Art, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and the State Capitol.

Raleigh is also home to several colleges and universities, including North Carolina State University, Shaw University, and Peace College.

The state capital has a lot to offer. Whether you’re looking to explore the city’s museums and historical landmarks or attend a college basketball game, there are plenty of things to do in Raleigh.


Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is a small city in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It is known for its vibrant arts scene, live music, and outdoor activities. There is a good blend of activities awaiting visitors which makes it such a popular travel destination within the state.

Asheville is a great place to visit regardless if you are looking to just kick back and relax or immerse yourself in nature. There are plenty of things to do in Asheville, from hiking and biking to exploring the many breweries and art galleries.

If you’re in North Carolina, you are almost sure to visit Asheville to either check out the nature or experience the culture.


Outer Banks

The Outer Banks is a chain of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina. It is a popular vacation destination for people all over the East Coast. The Outer Banks in North Carolina is known for its beautiful beaches, lush vegetation, and unique wild horses.

The area is made up of three main islands – Hatteras Island, Ocracoke Island, and Bodie Island. These islands are connected by bridges and ferries, making it easy to explore all the Outer Banks has to offer.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach vacation or an adventure-filled getaway, the Outer Banks is the perfect destination for nature. Be sure to add it to your list of places to visit in North Carolina.


Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte is the most populous city in North Carolina and is the state’s largest financial center. The city is home to a number of Fortune 500 companies, including Bank of America and Lowe’s.

Charlotte is also known for its NASCAR races, which are held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The city is also home to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers and the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, making it a great destination for sports fans.

If you’re looking for a city getaway with lots to see and do, Charlotte is the place for you. From museums and art galleries to professional sports games and NASCAR races, there’s something for everyone in Charlotte.

Winston Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem is a city in North Carolina that is known for its tobacco and textile industry. The city was actually created as a merger of the two cities of Winston and Salem.

Despite its industrial history, Winston-Salem is now a bustling city with plenty to see and do. The Downtown area has been revitalized with new restaurants and shops. There are plenty of parks and green spaces to enjoy, as well as things to do in Winston-Salem.

The city also houses many art galleries and museums, with a thriving arts community. If you’re looking for a city with a blend of history and modernity, Winston-Salem is a nice place to visit.

Travel Insurance

Famous People From North Carolina

Julie Anne Smith (Julianne Moore)

Julie Anne Smith, better known as Julianne Moore, is an American actress. She was born in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and grew up on a military base.

Moore began her acting career in the 1980s and has since appeared in over 80 films. She is best known for her roles in movies like The Hunger Games, The Big Lebowski, and Boogie Nights.

Moore is a four-time Academy Award nominee and has won two Golden Globes. She is one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood and certainly a famous personality that North Carolina is known for.

Andy Griffith

North Carolina native Andy Griffith is a television icon. He is best known for his starring role in The Andy Griffith Show, which aired from 1960 to 1968.

The show was set in the fictional town of Mayberry and follows the antics of Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie. The show was beloved by viewers and has since become a television classic.

Griffith also starred in Matlock, a crime drama series that aired from 1986 to 1995. After his successful television career, Griffith returned to his roots and began acting in stage productions.

He continued to act until his death in 2012. Andy Griffith is a North Carolina icon and will always be remembered for his contributions to television and film.

Architecture And Landmarks

There are various landmarks in North Carolina that constitutes part of the travel experience. Regardless if you want to learn about aviation or explore some of the oldest rocks in the country, here are some places that North Carolina is known for.


Wright Brothers National Memorial

The Wright Brothers National Memorial is a tribute to the brothers who pioneered human flight. The memorial is located in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, which is where the Wright brothers made their historic flights.

The memorial consists of a visitor center with exhibits on the Wright brothers and early aviation. There is also a 60-foot granite monument that marks the location of the Wright brothers’ hangar and where they made their flights.

The memorial is a great place to learn about the history of aviation and the Wright brothers’ contribution to this field. It is also a beautiful spot to take in the views of the Outer Banks.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a museum and hall of fame for the popular motorsport.

The museum features interactive exhibits, films, and simulators that give visitors an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes of NASCAR. The hall of fame honors drivers who have made significant contributions to the sport.

If you’re a fan of NASCAR or just want to learn more about it, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is definitely worth a visit. It is one of the most popular attractions in Charlotte and shouldn’t be missed!


The Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are a mountain range that runs along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. They are the tallest mountains in the Eastern United States and are part of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States and arguably the most famous landmark in North Carolina. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife, including black bears, elk, deer, and wild turkeys.

The park is also home to some of the tallest waterfalls in the Eastern United States, including Cherokee Falls and Rainbow Falls. There are also trails to these beautiful falls around the park. Whether you’re looking to hike, camp, or just take in the scenery, the Great Smoky Mountains are a great nature getaway.

The Nation’s Largest Private Residence – The Biltmore Estate

North Carolina is known for having the largest privately-owned residence in the United States. The Biltmore Estate is a large mansion in Asheville that was built by George Vanderbilt in the late 19th century. The estate spans over 8,000 acres and includes a 250-room mansion, Antler Hill Village, and a winery.

It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Carolina. Visitors can take tours of the mansion, go on a wine tasting at the winery, or shop and dine at Antler Hill Village.

There is also an outdoor activity center where you can go zip-lining, rock climbing, or canoeing. The Biltmore Estate has something for everyone and is a must-see when you’re in North Carolina.


Chimney Rock

Chimney Rock is a monolithic granite rock outcropping located in Chimney Rock State Park. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Carolina.

The rock is more than 500 million years old, standing 315 feet tall at over 2000 feet above sea level. Visitors can take an elevator or hike to the top of the rock for stunning views of the surrounding area. Some companies offer helicopter rides over the area.

There are also various hiking trails and a waterfall at the park. Chimney Rock is a natural wonder that stood the test of time and offers great views. It’s no wonder that it’s one of North Carolina’s most iconic landmarks.

Many More Things North Carolina Is Known And Famous For

These are a few things that North Carolina is known for. There are so many amazing things to see and do in the Tar Heel State.

For a great nature getaway, the Great Smoky Mountains is the perfect destination. Whether you’re looking to explore the history, indulge in some delicious food, or just have a good time, North Carolina has something to offer. While you’re there, be sure to discover the things that make North Carolina famous.



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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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