#35 best destination in the world

Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky


  • Work of British artist Chris Drury who built the structure as a rustic camera obscura
  • Mixes fairy tale design with medieval technology
  • It is light-tight when its door is closed, except for one small, round opening in its roof which allows the building to act as a camera obscura
  • Images of the sun, clouds, and trees are projected onto the smooth white walls of the interior of the chamber

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences


  • Oldest established museum in North Carolina and the largest museum of its kind in the Southeastern United States
  • The collection contains more than 1.7 million specimens of amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish, mammals, invertebrates, invertebrate and vertebrate fossils, plants, geology, and meteorites

Cryptozoology and Paranormal Museum


  • Exhibits include casts of Bigfoot prints, many of them made by Barcelo, the owner, himself
  • Mrs. Beasley is the haunted doll reported to move about in her locked case
  • UFO sighting testimonials accompany photographic evidence of their appearances
  • There is also a section of fakes, such as a Feejee mermaid
  • Opened in 2015

USS North Carolina (BB-55)


  • Lead ship of the North Carolina class of fast battleships, the first vessel of the type built for the United States Navy
  • The ship was completed in 1941, while the United States was still neutral during World War II
  • She took part in offensive operations in support of the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945, including numerous attacks on Japan
  • Following the surrender of Japan, she carried American personnel home
  • In 1960, the ship was saved from the breaker’s yard by a campaign to preserve the vessel as a museum ship in North Carolina

Billy Graham Library


  • Public museum and library documenting the life and ministry of Christian evangelist Billy Graham.
  • Opened in 2007
  • The main galleries within the library showcase numerous presentations, pictures, music, artifacts, and voices from throughout Graham’s ministry

Abandoned Henry River Mill Village


  • Small textile village, unaltered but now decaying, it is an example of an early industrial environment
  • Built as a planned community, the village was a self-contained complex with its own mill, dam, water and fire-protection systems, and company store
  • In later years, the village gained amenities such as walkways, terraced green spaces, and field stone retaining walls
  • Today most of the village’s original buildings remain sited along a small gorge of the Henry River



  • Châteauesque-style mansion built for George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895
  • Largest privately owned house in the United States, at 178,926 square feet
  • Still owned by George Vanderbilt’s descendants, it remains one of the most prominent examples of Gilded Age mansions (1870s-1900)

Blue Ghost Fireflies


  • Watch the blue ghost firefly known throughout the southeastern United States, which glow a hard to capture on film blue-green color
  • The fireflies’s habitat is shrinking, from expanses ranging all the way to Arkansas in 1825, and they’re now relegated to the few pristine Appalachian forests left with spongy leaf bottoms and stream beds nearby, especially Dupont State Forest
  • Mid-May through mid-June is prime viewing time, and they come out late, after sunset, not during

Judaculla Rock


  • Curvilinear-shaped outcrop of soapstone with quarry scars and petroglyphs
  • Appears to be physical representation of the entire landscape the Cherokees inhabited, and it not only embodies a distinctive characteristic of petroglyph boulders in the region but also is likely to yield additional information about the history and prehistory of the area

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest


  • 3,800 acre tract of publicly owned virgin forest in named in memory of poet Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918), best known for his poem “Trees”
  • One of the largest contiguous tracts of old growth forest in the Eastern United States


Number of Days: 15 days

Best Time To Fly: March-May, Sept-Nov

Airline tickets: $341

Seattle -> Raleigh (one way) = $199
Charlotte -> Seattle (one way) = $142

Food: $45/day x 15 days = $675

Rental car: $62/day x 15 days = $1,347

Gas: $48

Entertainment: $113

Airbnb: $254/day x 14 days = $3,556

TOTAL: $6,080