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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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