1. Blue Ridge Parkway
2. Great Smoky Mountains
4. Outer Banks (OBX)
One of the most popular beach vacation destinations on the East Coast, the Outer Banks, or OBX as some call it, has a mix of family friendly and adult attractions from long stretches of beach to bars and restaurants. If you plan to go, rent a house with a group of friends and do so early. Most vacation rentals are weekly from Sat-Sat. People make plans far in advance. Stay around Nag's Head. Also visit Kitty Hawk, Duck, and Hatteras.
Charlotte is a nice, clean, friendly city. I didn't spend much time there, but the few people I interacted with were very friendly, like much of North Carolina.
Another nice, clean, friendly city. I spent just an afternoon, but it seemed more of a place geared towards businesses. As a side note, this is a popular stop for some airlines that may have a hub there.
Pretty beach area just south of Wilmington. I thought this was the same Cape Fear as in the 1991 Scorcese film Cape Fear, but apparently are not related.
Didn't seem to me to be much going on in this small city, but if you're driving through it makes a nice place to stop for a break or meal.
- Snakes. If you're going to be hiking in the woods or mountains, watch out for snakes. Apparently poisonous snakes are pretty common around all of North Carolina. These include rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths at least from what I read. I saw a couple and hear about others. Sometimes there are particular areas that have a high concentration of them. So ask around, especially at the parks. And if you can, hike with a buddy. Otherwise, definitely stay on trails and consider more populated hikes.