15 of the Best (and Most Offbeat) Attractions in North Carolina!

When most visitors think of the Tar Heel State, they probably think of homemade Southern cooking, welcoming bungalow porches, and quiet yet growing towns. But North Carolina is also home to several unexpected oddities. From incredible tuba collections to halls of fame dedicated to taxidermy, you’ll find plenty of weird here. Here are 15 unusual attractions for visitors and locals alike. 

1. Linville Caverns, Marion, NC

At the edge of the High Country region of Western North Carolina lies the entrance to Linville Caverns, the state’s only show cavern, which means it’s safe to be explored by unexperienced visitors.

2. V & E Historic Tuba Collection, Durham, NC

Vincent and Ethel Simonetti’s tuba collection began in 1910 and is continuing to expand today in the hopes that it will become more accessible to the public.

3. NASCAR Hall of Fame, Charlotte, NC

In the heart of uptown Charlotte is the racing fan’s mecca: The NASCAR Hall of Fame, which houses simulations of racetracks, a theater, and the Great Hall of interactive historic content. 

4. Gourd Museum, Angier, NC

The Gourd Museum, founded in the 1960s, contains gourd crafts from across the globe. Featured gourds vary in size from that of a robin’s egg to heights taller than most people. 

5. Old Burying Ground, Beaufort, NC

Gravestones from over 300 years ago line Beaufort’s oldest cemetery and tell the history of the town’s formation during the 16th century. 

6. Fred the Fire Horse, New Bern, NC

The New Bern Firemen’s Museum has memorabilia and hands-on exhibits as do other museums, but one of its most distinctive aspects is the Fred, a robotic talking horse head.

7. “Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky,” Raleigh, NC

Chris Drury’s creation “Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky,” is a unique addition to the North Carolina Museum of Art’s outdoor collection. It serves as a camera obscura mechanism, projecting the nature surrounding it into its structure.

8. Shell Gas Station, Winston-Salem, NC

Shell gas stations are commonplace today, but the Shell gas station at Sprague and Peachtree in Winston-Salem is the last remaining actual “shell” gas station, and has stood there since 1930.

9. World’s Largest Chest of Drawers, High Point, NC

Formerly known as the Bureau of Information, the “World’s Largest Chest of Drawers” stands 32 feet high and signifies High Point, North Carolina, as the “Furniture Capital of the World.”

10. Firebird Sculpture, Charlotte, NC

Known by the locals as the “Disco Chicken,” the Firebird guards the entrance to the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in uptown Charlotte. 

11. The Moon-Eyed People, Murphy, NC

In the Southern Appalachian Mountains are the remains of ancient stone structures. These structures are both natural and man-made, and reflect the Cherokee legend of the Moon-Eyed People with some of their faces carved in stone.

12. License Plate Building, Sylva, NC

An automotive garage near Asheville, North Carolina, is better known as the License Plate Building, and for good reason: The entire building is covered in old license plates.

13. Acid Park, Wilson, NC

The public art exhibit of Acid Park got its name from urban legend. Vollis Simpson’s daughter died in a car crash while driving under the effects of LSD. He began to dream of what she saw moments before her death, and memorialized her death by building the park.

14. Taxidermy Hall of Fame: Southern Pines, NC

The Taxidermy Hall of Fame resides in the basement of a Christian bookstore in Southern Pines, North Carolina. The full title of the museum is the Taxidermy Hall of Fame, Creation and Antique Tool Museum, combining three distinctive and unrelated categories to explore. 

15. Shangri-La Stone Village, Prospect Hill, NC

Henry L. Warren, a retired tobacco farmer, created a miniature town consisting of 27 structures and numerous walkways made of more than ten thousand arrowheads. 

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