It’s no surprise people are flocking to North Carolina these days. The quality of life is top-notch and the people are just downright pleasant. If this beautiful state looks too good to be true, think again. There’s a reason the motto means “to be rather than to seem.” Take it at face value: North Carolina is as good as it gets. Check out these eight reasons to hightail it to the Tar Heel State.
1. An outdoor wonderland
It would be crazy not to mention the laundry list of outdoor amenities first and foremost. From the Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway, to the Outer Banks and Emerald Isle, the entire state is a natural wonderland. Spend your weekends exploring the 50,000 acres of the Uwharrie National Forest or hiking to Whitewater Falls (only the highest waterfall on the entire east coast). Or, if you like a little adrenaline, take a walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge and take in the view of Grandfather Mountain. You’ll never run out of places to explore.
2. Job opportunities
North Carolina is home to Research Triangle Park, named for the three major research universities in the cities of Durham, Raleigh, and Chapel Hill. The Park houses more than 170 companies, including Syngenta, Cisco, and RTI International. With more and more young professionals flocking to the area, the Park is experiencing a revitalization of art and culture that’s making it all the more appealing to workers everywhere.
3. The food and drink scene
You haven’t had real barbeque until you’ve had North Carolina barbeque. Barbeque is a beloved southern staple—and you can find the best of it in spades in North Carolina. This humble state also has one of the fastest growing craft beer scenes in the region, with new breweries popping up all over the map. Whether you land in Asheville, Durham, Wilmington, or Charlotte, you’re always a stone’s throw away from some delicious culinary treats.
4. Art and culture
Rich in diverse traditions such as craft festivals, music, and folk art, North Carolina is simply teeming with art and culture. You can explore the Blue Ridge Music Trails, peruse the Asheville Art Museum, or catch a performance at Wilmington’s historic Thalian Hall. North Carolina is also home to the famous Biltmore Estate. No matter what you pick, you’ll always have a variety to choose from in this destination state.
5. Great schools
North Carolina is home to some of the greatest public and private colleges in the country. Duke is a premier research university that ranks among the top five schools in the United States. Other options include Appalachian State University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (the oldest state university in the country), and Elon University. Whether you’re looking for math, science, or liberal arts—you’ll find it all here.
6. College sports
Life in North Carolina revolves around college sports. Choose carefully when you pick your side of the University of North Carolina vs. Duke rivalry. If someone on the street asks you whether you prefer light or dark blue, answer wisely. But no matter which team you’re cheering for, North Carolina is a sports fan’s dream come true.
7. Bragging rights
Move to the Tar Heel State and you instantly gain bragging rights. You can thank North Carolina for Cheerwine, Krispy Kreme, and Pepsi. Plus, the Outer Banks is where Orville and Wilbur Wright found steady winds and wide stretches of sandy beaches to practice defying gravity—and winning North Carolina the accolade of “first in flight.”
8. Southern charm
It won’t take long to appreciate the warm and hospitable atmosphere of North Carolinians. There’s just the right amount of Southern culture intertwined with the diversity and traditions of so many transplants. Combine the friendly faces with the southern manners and southern football and you have to ask—is there really anywhere else you’d rather be?