Discover Summer Across North Carolina

Summer is a perfect time for wandering back roads and experiencing new adventures. Whether your summer plans include a staycation or a vacation, we’ve got you covered with uniquely North Carolina events and attractions to visit in all 100 counties.

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 the mountains are more your thing, you know it's prime season for traditional music or a hike at a state park, and if you're headed to the beach, you'll find great aquariums and museums up and down the coast. Or visit our events calendar to find summer events at DNCR sites across the state. 

Whether you’re a longtime Tar Heel or planning your first visit to N.C., we’ve found some of the best ways for you to experience authentic North Carolina arts, nature, history and culture this summer. Come along with us and discover summer adventures across the Old North State.

In the links below we've listed more than 500 ways to have some summertime fun in North Carolina, but with all there is to see and do in N.C., we clearly haven't included everything. If your favorite summertime destination or event is missing from our list, let us know

  

Summer Reading

Summer is a perfect time for kicking back with a good book. Visit a North Carolina library for summer reading programs, or check out our lists of books by North Carolina authors and children's books to add to your summer reading list. 

Find Your Library

  

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

The Dino Bus, an open-air safari ride featuring animatronic dinosaurs; Dragonfly Paddle Boats; and an expanded Zoofari ride 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

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