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When to visit North Carolina

by SmarterTravel Staff

The diverse regions of North Carolina, from mountains in the east to the ocean in the west, provide a plethora of climates as well as activities. During the winter, as cold weather chills much of the state, the ski resorts offer outdoor recreation. Spring brings blooming flowers and rising temperatures, and October sees turning leaves in the Great Smokey Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mild weather renders spring and fall ideal for hiking, biking, and canoeing, while summer is the perfect time for just about any outdoor activity. Across the state, visitors can enjoy year-round activities such as golf; shopping; and visiting a host of museums, wineries, and restaurants.

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  • high season: late May to August, October
  • low season: late November to early March
  • shoulder season: mid-March to May, November, September

Weather Information

Summer temperatures can reach as high as 90 degrees in the daytime, while temperatures in the winter level off at around 50 degrees. Snow is also common in the mountains during the cold winter months. Spring brings brief afternoon thunderstorms and temperatures around 70 degrees. During the fall, leaves change color and hurricanes can occur.

Crowd Information

Several cities hold annual events that attract higher amounts of visitor traffic, such as two Nascar races, one in the spring and one in the fall, hosted by Lowes Motor Speedway in Concord. All major holidays are also considered heavier tourist times. Events such as wine, food, music, and harvest festivals happen throughout the year and bring in crowds as well.

Closure Information

Hours of operation for businesses vary from season to season, depending on the region. Search visitnc.com for schedule information about specific businesses or activities.

When to Save

Many properties reduce prices during low seasons and even offer incentive packages.

When to Book

Book as early as possible, especially for trips during peak season.

Information provided by North Carolina Travel and Tourism.

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