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Central North Carolina Travel Guide

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  • Photo: digidreamgrafix / Shutterstock

Plan Your Central North Carolina Vacation

While visiting the Piedmont, it's easy to forget what state you're in. Though it’s in the geographic center of North Carolina, this collection of growing urban areas and college towns is like nothing else in the Tar Heel State. This is a region looking ahead and on the move, and although it does lack a certain amount of tradition and charm, it has something that's perhaps just as special.

Here, things are changing all the time, and often for the better. This constant evolution keeps the local culture vital.

The Piedmont's gently rolling hills are home to North Carolina's three major metropolitan areas—the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill), the Triad (Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point), and Charlotte. Though their histories differ, these sprawling population clusters now have much in common. They're full of big-city highlights, like huge sports complexes, sparkling new museums, and upscale restaurants. Hip, progressive elements abound, too, including farmers' markets, indie cinemas, and monthly art walks, which show off the area's growing creative scene. The transition is not only fascinating to watch but also fun to take part in. You should never be at a loss for things to eat, see, or do.

The Sandhills, which lies south of the Piedmont, is another world entirely. There, tradition is all-important, especially when it comes to the area's two main draws: golf and pottery. People come from around the world to play the Sandhills' famous fairways and buy work from its renowned potters. Beyond that, there isn't much in the way of sightseeing, but if you're like most visitors, you won't mind. Instead, you'll spend most of your time on scenic drives or at one of the area's many resorts, considered some of the best in the state.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Raleigh museums More than a dozen museums and historical sites—several within an easy walk of one another—cover every aspect of North Carolina life, from its prehistoric roots to its arts achievements and sports heroes.
  2. Old Salem Costumed guides fill this restored village in the heart of Winston-Salem, founded by the Moravian sect in the mid-18th century.
  3. Golf Many of the best golf courses in the Southeast (and some would argue, in the world) surround tiny Pinehurst, a village in the Sandhills.
  4. Wineries North Carolina has more than 90 wineries, and many of the finest are in the Piedmont. Sample a few fine vintages in their tasting rooms.
  5. Seagrove This Sandhills community has been renowned for its pottery for two centuries. More than 100 potters now sell their wares, including charmingly ugly face jugs as well as mugs, plates, and other treasures.

When To Go

When to Go

North Carolina's Piedmont and Sandhills regions shine particularly in spring (April and May) and fall (September and October), when the weather...

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Check historic weather for your trip dates:

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