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North Carolina – Unusual Attractions & Day Trips

North Carolina Off the Beaten Path

Big cities like Asheville and Raleigh have much to offer, but some of North Carolina’s more peaceful attractions lie of the beaten path.

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse

A replica of an 1877 screw-pile lighthouse that was located offshore in Croatan Sound, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse was decommissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1955. The wooden 1.5 story replica was dedicated in 2004 and contains exhibits highlighting Roanoke Island’s maritime heritage, including a history of the Marshes Lighthouse and its keepers. It’s located along the waterfront walk of Shallowbag Bay just off the east end of Queen Elizabeth Street in Manteo.

Robertson Millpond Preserve

Robertson Millpond Preserve is a new Wake County Park, protecting a historic millpond on Buffalo Creek. Because it’s so new, the only amenities are a parking area, boat dock and paddle trail. There are no restrooms or drinking water, so plan accordingly. The paddle trail is about three-quarters of a mile long and marked by buoys. It’s not long, but don’t expect to race through: you’ll want to stop and admire the views.

Shore-Styers Mill Park

Shacktown Falls is a 10-foot waterfall on North Deep Creek, a tributary of Yadkin River. Although it’s not a tall waterfall, it’s pretty impressive for being so far east of the mountains. Park at a small pull-off on Styers Mill Road, about half a mile north of Shacktown Road and immediately before the bridge over North Deep Creek. An old road leads past the gate to an overlook where you can see the waterfalls. Several short paths lead down to creek level for views from the base. It’s a very scenic waterfall given the location and definitely worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about unusual attractions and day trips in North Carolina.

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