From theme parks, to outdoor activities, museum, interesting cities and more, there is lots to do and see in the Tar Heel state.  It is one of the most varied states with mountains, oceans and everything in between. Here are some of the top places to visit in North Carolina.

1.  The Biltmore Estate

Located in Asheville, the Biltmore Estate is one of the must-see attractions in North Carolina.  Vanderbilt Mansion lies in the center of this 8,000-acre compound.  It is the biggest private home in the U.S. There are 250 rooms in the mansion and it includes very impressive architecture, antiques and artwork.  The River Bend Farm and gardens are also available to enjoy.

2. Battleship North Carolina

The USS North Carolina is located in Wilmington.  During World War II it was one of the first ten battleships that joined the American fleet.  The ship is fully armed with various caliber guns.  You can tour the officer’s and sailor’s quarters, go to the mess hall, and wander around the deck to look at the guns.

3. Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Located in Chapel Hill on the University of North Carolina campus, more than seven million guests have visited the Morehead Planetarium and Science Science Center since 1949 when it first opened.  Multiple shows a day are hosted by the center, with the schedule changing according to what season it is.  There are also fun activities in addition to the regular shows, including lessons on how to identify constellations, bright stars and planets.

4.  North Carolina Aquarium

There are four coastal locations for the North Carolina Aquarium at Jennette’s Pier, Fort Fisher, Pine Knoll Shores and Roanoke Island.  Jenette’s Pier isn’t a real aquarium but does provide views of many marine animals within their natural habitat like humpback whales.  The biggest collection of sharks in North Carolina are featured at the Roanoke Island location.  At Fort Fisher there are swamps, freshwater streams and Cape Fear, while Pine Knoll Shores has various marine life.

North Carolina Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo is located in Asheboro and features 52,000 plants and over 1,600 animals.  There are species of animals from North America (black and grizzly bears, roadrunners, elk, bison, red wolves, bobcats, alligators, cougars) and Africa (giraffes, zebras, chimps, lions, ostriches, rhinos and elephants).  The exhibits have been designed to resemble the animals’ natural habitats.