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LIKE A GEM with many facets, North Carolina offers a sparkling diversity of natural wonders and panoramas, dynamic cities, a celebrated history and a vast array of sport and cultural activities.
The staggering beauty of this state surrounds travelers at every turn. In the northwest region are many scenic roads through the majestic Smoky Mountains. The roads are engineering feats in themselves, designed not only to allow the best vantage points for viewing, but also to protect the natural habitats and landscapes. North Carolina boasts four national forests, thick with more species of trees than there are in all of Europe. Many hiking and mountain biking trails wander through these vast protected areas that offer an amazing diversity of plant and animal life.
But no less spectacular is the coastal region with its seemingly endless miles of white sandy beaches and undulating sand dunes. Protecting the coastline from the stormy Atlantic is the chain of barrier islands called the Outer Banks.
Meanwhile, the central geographic region reflects the modern spirit of the state. Dazzling skyscrapers rise up from the major metropolitan areas, including Charlotte and Raleigh. Renowned museums, aquariums, zoos, and historic buildings are popular attractions. Superb examples of modern architecture illustrate the potential of North Carolina, while the many exquisite examples of colonial structures serve as reminders of its historic settlement and proud heritage.
From the splendor of its thriving cities and the charm of its quaint villages to its magnificent natural wonders, the state offers an abundance of treasures. We hope you'll enjoy them as you travel the pages of America the Beautiful -- North Carolina.