Today we are going to take a look at the state of North Carolina in our series “What to do when in… In this series, we’ll show you the highlights and the funniest, most special sights of the US states. This time it’s North Carolina’s turn, the state where no less than four of our employees have studied! So, Pedro played tennis at the Seahwaks in Wilmington, Famke ran at High Point, Eva played hockey at UNC Chapel Hill and Alec studied at ECU in Greenville. The state of North Carolina also especially known for its beautiful and mountainous parks, beaches and nature.
The Outer Banks
One of America’s most famous beaches is located in North Carolina. This special area had been known to many Americans for quite a long time, but after the hit series from Netflix, this is definitely one of the places you must have seen in North Carolina! As a student-athlete, you sometimes have a weekend off and there is no better place to visit during a weekend to completely unwind. Apart from the beach and delicious food, you should definitely visit Wright Brothers Airport. In fact, this is where the first plane ever took off, created by the Wright Brothers. If you want to relax and have a great experience, this is definitely a must visit.
Charlotte – NASCAR Hall of Fame
In North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte, a bit racing fan probably can’t contain his or her enthusiasm. The NASCAR (American motorsports organization) Hall of Fame is also a must visit if you are not necessarily a racing fan. But also just if you are looking for an active experience in the American way. The Hall of Fame is not just a museum with the history of this racing discipline. There is plenty to experience, so you can provide your own race commentary ”Olav Mol Style” or perform a full pit stop yourself. And extra fun, you can also test your own racing talent in a racing simulator. In Charlotte, you can also stop by 7th street Public Market, Freedom Park and Carowinds Amusement Park. Three places where you can have hours of fun as a tourist.
Charlotte – Carolina Panthers & Charlotte Hornets
As a student-athlete yourself, you will be quite busy with your own sport and studies. Many universities have great facilities and stadiums, where you can cheer on all the other teams from your university. Would you like to get a closer look at what sports are like in America outside of college? Then your best bet in North Carolina is to check out the Carolina Panthers (NFL) or the Charlotte Hornets (NBA). A little tip for when you go to the Panthers, check out when they play against the Bucaneers. Then you can still see Tom Brady in action! Also pay close attention if you go to the Hornets, you might spot their world-famous owner. We’ll give a little hint: He’s a former basketball player himself and is known for his shoes. Do you already know who it is?
BBQ – Buxton Hall Barbecue
In North Carolina, they shout different things about their cuisine. For example, they claim to have the best fried chicken and to be the best at BBQ. Now it’s up to you to go test especially the latter! According to many, the best place to do this is at Buxton Hall in Ashevill. Taste what American BBQ really means for the first time and don’t forget to taste a piece of Brisket there. There is something else special about Carolina BBQ and that is the wholo-hog tradition! As one of the best, they prepare a whole pig on the BBQ here. The cooking on the BBQ here can take from 6 to 12 hours! That’s a bit different from our Dutch hamburgers that are ready in 10 minutes.
This mountain range is located east of the Rockey Mountains and is considered an extension of them. The area is also known among Americans as The Longest trail because it runs in an almost straight line for a length of about 3,400 kilometers. Furthermore, this is the perfect place to experience forest hiking or other sporting activities at a reasonable altitude. Note you can’t enter the park by motorcycle, so you’ll either have to walk or take a nice bike ride. Are you totally up for an adventure? Then you can also spend a night here.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The name actually says it all, this huge mountain range is known for its low hanging fog. Despite the fog, this National Park is easily accessible year-round and is also one of the most visited National Parks in all of America. And for a reason: the weather is pleasant year-round with a small chance of some snow in winter, though. Like the Appalachian Mountains, this park also consists largely of forests. A visit to this park can be perfectly combined with a visit to the BBQ in Asheville (time for a real American road trip). During that road trip, do not forget Blue Ridge Parkway! This is considered the favourite drive in America and is one of the recommendations of our Slamstox intern Alec.
Chimney Rock State Park
Back to that Roadtrip, Chimney Rock is also near the Great Smokey Mountains and is also definitely a place where you can spend a good weekend. The name of this park actually says what to expect; at the top of a beautiful rock, you get a view that is not to be missed. Be careful though; it’s quite a hike to get to the top, more than 500 steps alone. But this shouldn’t be a problem for a student-athlete, so bring your hiking boots and enjoy the beautiful view after a good workout.
Wrightville Beach – Wilmington
East of the city of Wilmington lies one of Slamstox founder Pedro’s favorite beaches! So during his college days, he could be found here regularly. Relax and enjoy the endless sea views. By the way, have you always wanted to go sailing or surfing? This is the place to take the first step at WB Surf Camp. Are you in a less sporty mood? No problem either, as you can enjoy the delicious food at Matts Channel Seafood, take a leisurely stroll on the pier or just enjoy a real beach day.
Carolina Beach – Wilmington
Another recommended place for a day at the beach is Carolina Beach, which is a little further and south of Wilmington. This beach is a lot more famous than Wrightville, in the rest of North Carolina. Because of this, there is also a bit more to do such as various concerts and other events. For example, there is a fantastic vintage seaside boardwalk where you can find all kinds of local eateries and other activities. The Carolina Beach Music Festival is a hugely famous festival on a beach and also one of the few in all of America. Definitely worth seeing if you can combine a visit to this beach with a visit to the festival.
Apple is planning to put up a new campus in Raleigh North Carolina! Below you can see the first drawings, construction will start in 2023 and will take a few years. Now you may be thinking why is this interesting? At Apple there are always huge opportunities for summer internships and therefore it is definitely something to keep in mind, for when you have more time during off season for example. But in addition, Apple is always working on the latest developments, so believe us, this campus will be full of new tech gadgets. So definitely worth a visit for a casual visit as well.
So there is plenty to experience and do in North Carolina, no wonder four of our colleagues were active here. From special parks and cool sports events to lovely beaches where you can relax. Would you like to become a student-athlete or know more about the possibilities? Feel free to contact us for more information about sports and studying in America!