History, Geography, Homes, and State Resources of North Carolina
North Carolina USA Map
Bordered by Virginia at the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the east, South Carolina at the south, Georgia at the southwest, and Tennessee at the west, North Carolina has a
prosperous history as being one of the Thirteen Colonies initially and a home to the very first of the English colonies in the North Americas.
North Carolina is growing fast as state which is drawing new inhabitants and businesses in record numbers with its attractive living costs and affordable property taxes,
together with its sunny and warm coastal beaches and the scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains
The large influx of inhabitants coming from out-of-state has also understandably annoyed the long standing tradition of Southern warm hospitality revealed by the
majority of North Carolinians. On the other side of the coin, people transplanted from larger metro areas, may find that weekend socials mainly revolve around backyard
barbecues, with a noticeable shortage of cultural and art activities compared to bigger cities and towns up and down the Atlantic seaboard.
Main industries which make up its sundry economic base includes banking, agriculture, manufacturing, technology, science, and hi-tech with over 60 major employers
calling Research Triangle Park located in Durham home, the biggest such hub in America. Although North Carolina's quality of life and affordable housing and have lately
become a huge draw, the professional hi-tech and corporate sector has the largest promise for people seeking to work or live here. Otherwise, North Carolina employment mostly comes down to low-paying jobs at Lowes and Walmart, the two biggest employers in the state.
English colonists, sent by Sir Walter Raleigh, unsuccessfully attempted to settle Roanoke Island in 1585 and 1587. Virginia Dare, born there in 1587, was the first child
of English parentage born in America.
During the American Revolution, there was relatively little fighting within the state, but many North Carolinians saw action elsewhere. Despite considerable pro-Union,
antislavery sentiment, North Carolina joined the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Elevation above sea level is most responsible for temperature change across the state, with the mountain area being coolest year-round. The climate is also influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, especially in the coastal plain. These influences tend to cause warmer winter temperatures along the coast, where temperatures only occasionally drop below the freezing point at night.
North Carolina experiences severe weather in both summer and winter, with summer bringing threat of hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rain, and flooding. Destructive hurricanes that have hit North Carolina include Hurricane Fran, Hurricane Floyd, and Hurricane Hazel
North Carolina Colleges.
In 1795, North Carolina opened the first public university in the United States - the University of North Carolina (now called the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill).
More than 200 years later, the University of North Carolina system includes 17 public universities. Along with its public universities, North Carolina has 58 public colleges
in its community college system. The largest university in North Carolina is currently North Carolina State University with more than 34,000 students
In 2007 the state per capita personal income was $33,735, making the state 36th in the nation. North Carolina's agricultural outputs include poultry and eggs, tobacco, hogs, milk, nursery stock, cattle, sweet potatoes, and soybeans. There has been a distinct difference in the economic growth of North Carolina's urban and rural areas.
Flora and Fauna
North Carolina State Flower - Flowering Dogwood
North Carolina State Tree - Longleaf Pine
North Carolina has approximately 300 species and subspecies of trees and almost 3,000 varieties of flowering plants. Coastal plant life begins with sea oats predominating on the dunes and saltmeadow and cordgrass in the marshes, then gives way to wax myrtle, yaupon, red cedar, and live oak further inland. Blackwater swamps support dense stands of cypress and gum trees. Pond pine favors the peat soils of the Carolina bays, while longleaf pine and turkey oak cover the sand hills and other well-drained areas. Weeds take root when a field is abandoned in the piedmont, followed soon by loblolly, shortleaf, and Virginia pine; sweet gum and tulip poplars spring up beneath the pines, later giving way to an oak-hickory climax forest. Dogwood decorates the understory, but kudzu—a rank, weedy vine introduced from Japan as an antierosion measure in the 1930s—is a less attractive feature of the landscape. The profusion of plants reaches extraordinary proportions in the mountains. The deciduous forests on the lower slopes contain Carolina hemlock, silver bell, yellow buckeye, white basswood, sugar maple, yellow birch, tulip poplar, and beech, in addition to the common trees of the piedmont. Spruce and fir dominate the high mountain peaks. There is no true treeline in the North Carolina mountains, but unexplained treeless areas called "balds" appear on certain summits. Twenty-seven plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2003, including Blue Ridge goldenrod, bunched arrowhead, Heller's blazingstar, Virginia spiraea, seabeach amaranth, and rough-leaved loosestrife.
The white-tailed deer is the principal big-game animal of North Carolina, and the black bear is a tourist attraction in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The wild boar was introduced to the mountains during the 19th century; beavers have been reintroduced and are now the state's principal furbearers. The largest native carnivore is the bobcat.
North Carolina game birds include the bobwhite quail, mourning dove, wild turkey, and many varieties of duck and goose. Trout and smallmouth bass flourish in North Carolina's clear mountain streams, while catfish, pickerel, perch, crappie, and largemouth bass thrive in fresh water elsewhere. The sounds and surf of the coast yield channel bass, striped bass, flounder, and bluefish to anglers. Among insect pests, the pine bark beetle is a threat to the state's forests and forest industries.
The gray wolf, elk, eastern cougar, and bison are extinct in North Carolina; the American alligator, protected by the state, has returned in large numbers to eastern swamps and lakeshores. Thirty-six animal species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2003, including Indiana and Virginia big-eared bats, bald eagle, red-cockaded woodpecker, four species of whale, and five species of sea turtle.
The Capitol building was constructed following the destruction by fire of the first State House in 1831, and today houses the offices of the Governor of North Carolina. It is located in the state capital of Raleigh on Union Square at One East Edenton Street. The cornerstone of the Greek Revival building was laid with Masonic honors by the Grand Master of North Carolina Masons Simmons Jones Baker on July 4, 1833. Construction was completed in 1840. It was designed primarily by the architectural firm of Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis.
The Governor and the Governor's immediate staff has continued to occupy offices in the building. The Capitol remains largely unaltered from its 1840 state.
It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
The governor and lieutenant governor (who run separately) must be 30 years old; each must have been a US citizen for five years and a state resident for two. North Carolina's chief executive has powers of appointment, supervision, veto, and budgetary recommendation. The voters also elect a secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, superintendent of public instruction, attorney general, and commissioners of agriculture, insurance, labor, and public lands; all serve four-year terms. These officials preside over their respective departments and sit with the governor and lieutenant governor as the council of state. The governor appoints the heads of the other executive departments.
To vote in North Carolina a person must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old, a resident of the state and county for at least 30 days prior to election day, and not registered to vote in another state. Restrictions apply to convicted felons.
With museums, outdoor activities, and theme parks on offer, there are many things to do in North Carolina no matter what the season. Mountains in the High Country provide opportunities for great skiing and tubing during the winter months, hiking during the warm months, and amazing foliage in fall. Beaches and coastal attractions for relaxing weekends
all through the year. And the entire state has a history all its own, from the famous flying Wright Brothers to the expansive Biltmore Estate and WWII-era Battleship North Carolina.
Frying Pan Shoals
Lighthouses in North Carolina
- List of all lighthouses in the state of North Carolina as identified by the
United States Coast Guard and other historical sources.
Focal height and coordinates are taken from the 1907 United States Coast Guard Light List, while location and dates of activation, automation, and deactivation are taken from the United States Coast Guard Historical information site for lighthouses.
Carowinds is a 400-acre amusement park, adjacent to Interstate 77 in Charlotte,
North Carolina. Although having an official North Carolina address, the park is
located on the state line of the Carolinas, with a portion of the park also
located in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Starting in 2014 an expansion included a $30-million roller coaster, a $2.5-million water slide, a $7-million food complex, and $4 million to improve the park's ticket booths and front areas.
In August Carowinds added the Fury 325 for the 2015 season. The ride is the fifth-tallest roller coaster in the world, after its debut in the spring of 2015,
a new front entrance, replacing the original North Gate entrance of the park, also opened along with Fury 325 for the 2015 season.
The water park known formally as Boomerang Bay was expanded and renamed Carolina Harbor in 2016. The expansion includes a new six-slide complex, a new wave pool, and several new splash areas for kids.
In August 2016 they expanded the County Fair area, with the addition of 4 new rides: Electro-Spin (a mondial top scan), Zephyr (Zierer Wave Swinger), Rock N Roller (Mack Rides Music Express), and Do-Si-Do (HUSS Troika).
In 2017 Carolina Cobra was refurbished and renamed "The Flying Cobras". TFor the
2018 season, the park's children's area known as Planet Snoopy, was expanded and
converted to Camp Snoopy with the addition of six new children's rides.
The recreated "Ghost Town" sits at 4,600 feet, with the highest elevation in the park being about 4,650 feet. The park is located on a ridge extending from Buck Mountain border, an extension of the Cataloochee Divide, to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park's entrance is located on U.S. Highway 19, the main road through the town. Ghost Town is promoted as "North Carolina's mile-high theme park."
Great Wolf Resorts is a chain of indoor water parks. The company owns and operates its family resorts under the Great Wolf Lodge brand. In addition to a water park, each resort features restaurants, arcades, spas, fitness rooms, and children's activities, including yoga and bowling.
Tweetsie Railroad is a family-oriented Wild West theme park located between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina. The centerpiece of the park is a 3-mile ride on a train pulled by one of Tweetsie Railroad's two historic narrow-gauge steam locomotives. The park also features a variety of amusement rides, live shows, a zoo and other attractions geared towards families with children. The park also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year including Halloween and Christmas themed events.
The American Legacy of the Cherokee Trail of Tears Image by Paul Andrews
The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.
The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area is a place unlike any other on Earth, where ancient landscapes enchant the eye and age-old traditions warm the heart. The distinctive landscape of the North Carolina mountains and foothills combined with the region’s living traditions of craft, music, agriculture and Cherokee heritage create a wealth of natural and cultural treasures unmatched in our country.
The sound of ocean waves, the starry night sky, or the calm of the salt marshes, you can experience it all. Shaped by the forces of water, wind, and storms these islands are ever changing. The plants, wildlife, and people who live here adapt continually. Whether you are enjoying the beach, kayaking the sound, or climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse there is something for everyone to explore!
A boat ride three miles off-shore brings you to the barrier islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore. Horse watching, shelling, fishing, birding, camping, lighthouse climbing, and touring historic villages--there’s something for everyone at Cape Lookout. Be sure to bring all the food, water, and supplies you need (and carry your trash out of the park) when visiting these remote beaches.
Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America's most visited national park.
"I never saw such fighting since God made me. The Americans fought like demons." -Lt. General Charles, Earl Cornwallis The largest battle of the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign was fought at the small North Carolina backcountry hamlet of Guilford Courthouse. The battle proved to be a turning point for British military operations in the Revolutionary War.
Stretching 330 miles through four states (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina) the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail traces the route used by patriot militia during the pivotal Kings Mountain campaign of 1780. Follow the campaign by utilizing a Commemorative Motor Route which uses existing state highways marked with the distinctive trail logo, or 87 miles of walkable pathways.
The only coastal National Forest on the east coast, Croatan includes estuaries and pocosins. The forest is home to carnivorous plants such as the Venus flytrap and pitcher plant. Cedar Point is a recreation area at the mouth of the White Oak River.
In southwestern North Carolina, this forest includes the Nantahala Gorge and Nantahala River. There are 600 miles of trails in the forest with elevations ranging from 1,200 feet to 5,800 feet on Lone Bald.
Uwharrie National Forest borders the eastern side of Badin Lake and has one wilderness area: the Birkhead Mountains Wilderness. The forest is managed together with North Carolina's other National Forests
Elevations in Pisgah National Forest reach over 6,000 feet, and there are 46,600 acres of old-growth forests, including 10,000 acres in Linville Gorge. There are three wilderness areas in the forest: Linville Gorge, Middle Prong, and Shining Rock.
North Carolina is home to three major league sports franchises: the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League and the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball
Association are based in Charlotte, while the Raleigh-based Carolina Hurricanes play in the National Hockey League.
The Panthers and Hurricanes are the only two major professional sports teams that have the same geographical designation while playing in different metropolitan areas. The
Hurricanes are the only major professional team from North Carolina to have won a league championship, having captured the Stanley Cup in 2006. North Carolina is also home to
two other top-level professional teams in less prominent sports—the Charlotte Hounds of Major League Lacrosse and the North Carolina Courage of the National Women's Soccer
While North Carolina has no Major League Baseball team, it does have numerous minor league baseball teams, with the highest level of play coming from the AAA-affiliated
Charlotte Knights and Durham Bulls. Additionally, North Carolina has minor league teams in other team sports including soccer and ice hockey, most notably North Carolina FC
and the Charlotte Checkers, both of which play in the second tier of their respective sports.
North Carolina state and local sales taxes are collected on purchase of most goods and certain services in the state. The total general state and applicable local and transit rates of sales and use tax is 6.75 percent in most counties. A few counties have a rate of 7, 7.25, or
even 7.5 percent.
State Tax Facts
Income tax: 5.499%, flat rate
Sales tax: 6.75% - 7.5%
Property tax: 0.86% average effective rate
Gas tax: 34.55 cents per gallon both of regular gasoline and diesel
North Carolina Airports.
There are 114 North Carolina Airports to use for the public. North Carolina Airports are well connected to international destinations and the other states of the United
States. North Carolina Airports provide friendly assistance to passengers.
Charlotte/Douglas International Airport Photo by CharlotteFive Staff
Port of Wilmington
The North Carolina International Airports are the Charlotte / Douglas International Airport at Charlotte, Wilmington International Airport at Wilmington.
The Charlotte / Douglas International Airport in Charlotte is one of North
Carolina's busiest airports with nearly 30 million passengers per year. The
airport offers many amenities and services to make the journey comfortable for
its customers. There are many restaurants and bars in the various halls of the
airport. The airport has a nice business center with all the necessary technical
support systems such as fax machines, photocopiers and conference facilities.
The airport is wheelchair friendly and offers skycap services, wheelchair
assistance, passenger lifts, service dogs, visual paging, accessible parking and
The North Carolina State Ports Authority was set up by the state of North Carolina to develop and operate seaports in Wilmington and Morehead City, two inland container facilities (dry ports), one in Charlotte and one in Greensboro, and Southport Marina in Southport.
Amtrak operates several passenger rail lines in North Carolina. Each train is daily except the Piedmont which is twice-daily.
The Carolinian between New York and Charlotte serves Rocky Mount, Wilson, Selma-Smithfield, Raleigh, State Fair (conditional), Cary, Durham, Hillsborough (future), Burlington, Greensboro, High Point, Lexington (conditional), Salisbury, Kannapolis, and Charlotte.
The Crescent between New York and New Orleans serves Greensboro, High Point, Salisbury, Charlotte, and Gastonia.
The Palmetto between New York and Savannah, Georgia serves Rocky Mount, Wilson, Selma-Smithfield, and Fayetteville.
The Piedmont between Raleigh and Charlotte operates twice per day and serves the same stations as the Carolinian.
The Silver Meteor between New York and Miami, Florida serves Rocky Mount and Fayetteville.
The Silver Star between New York and Tampa, Florida serves Rocky Mount, Raleigh, Cary, Southern Pines, and Hamlet.
The North Carolina Highway System consists of a vast network of Interstate Highways, including Interstate 26, Interstate 40, Interstate 73, Interstate 74, Interstate 77, Interstate 85 and Interstate 95, U.S. Highways, and state highways. North Carolina has the largest state-maintained highway network in the United States, with 77,400 miles of roads.
North Carolina is divided into 100 counties containing 532 incorporated municipalities
made up of of cities, towns, and villages. While municipalities may use the name village, town, or city, there is no legal distinction between the names. Charlotte has the largest population of 859,035 while
Boone has the smallest population of 19,205 residents