Summer Fun Across North Carolina

Summer music at the Mountain Gateway Museum

If you live in the Triangle, nothing says summer quite like an outdoor movie at the N.C. Museum of Art or a Summerfest concert performed by the North Carolina Symphony. If you're near Charlotte, you probably have panning for gold at Reed Gold Mine on your agenda. If the mountains are more your thing, you know it's the prime season for traditional music or a hike at a state park, and if you're headed to the beach, you know you'll find great aquariums, historic sites and museums up and down the coast.

And regardless of where you are, you know you'll be picking up a book and doing some summer reading.

Whether you're a longtime Tar Heel or planning your first visit to North Carolina, we've curated some of the best ways for you to experience authentic North Carolina arts. history and culture this summer. This page is you jumping off point. Happy exploring!


Summer Fun on the Coast

North Carolina's coastal region is home to more than a dozen state parks, historic sites, aquariums and museums.

Take a break from the beach by exploring authentic Tar Heel history and heritage, get up close and personal with aquatic animals or explore some of North Carolina's pristine places, all just a stone's throw from your coastal vacation.

Find Fun for Your Coastal Vacation Today

Camping at State Parks

Whether you're looking to setup a tent steps from the beach, relax in the comfort of an RV or cabin or paddle-in to your campsite, chances are you'll find what you're looking for at one of North Carolina's 41 state parks or recreation areas.

Camping at the state park near (or far) from you can be an affordable, family-friendly trip and give you the chance to closely connect with our state's scenic splendor.

Book Your Camping Trip

Summer Concerts and Movie Series

Nothing says summer quite like attending one the many outdoor movies and concerts that you'll find across North Carolina. We've called out a few our favorites below.

So Much to Do at the Zoo

Safari tours through the Watani Grassland exhibit featuring African wildlife, a ropes course adventure, an expanded ocelot exhibit and elk calves and a Red Wolf pup are all new to the North Carolina Zoo this summer. See them all in addition to the staples that have made the zoo a popular destination for decades.

Visit the N.C. Zoo


Unique Arts Experiences

Attend a music festival, watch world-class potters as they work, explore a diverse array of handmade crafts or tap your toe at a bluegrass jam session all without ever leaving the Tar Heel State.

North Carolina has rich tradition of producing some of the country's finest artists, and the North Carolina Arts Council is your jumping off point for exploring the amazing arts experiences that the state has to offer. 

Experience Authentic North Carolina Culture

State Park Adventures in the Mountains

Interested in hiking, rock climbing or fishing? The 12 state parks west of Interstate 77 in the North Carolina mountains and foothills offer these activities and more, making them the perfect place for the adventure lover in your family. 

Plan Your Mountain State Park Adventure Today


Find Fun Near You

You'll find state historic sites, museums, aquariums and other attractions all over the state. Click the tiles below to find fun near selected cities.

Explore Summers Gone By

Branded in the 1950s as "Variety Vacationland," North Carolina has a long tradition of tourism. Step back to the summers of yesteryear and see the how North Carolinians of the past enjoyed the season with a variety of fascinating items from the collection of the State Archives.

In addition to a set of images focused on the Outer Banks and commercials the marketed the state to potential visitors, the State Archives has digitized hunrdreds of images taken by state tourism officials that showcase North Carolina life.

Explore the Travel and Tourism Digital Collection