So you were born and raised in North Carolina? Or you’ve lived here twenty years. You can name the state flower- the dogwood. You know Raleigh is the capital city, and you’ve probably visited. There’s a good chance you took North Carolina history in school. So, you probably think that automatically qualifies you as a North Carolinian. But I’m here to tell you no, that is not the case. There are a few certain rights of passage if you will, if you want to take that title. Think of it as quintessential North Carolina things. Some, maybe wouldn’t make sense if you grew up in the Midwest, or California, or New England. But if you grew up here, you know. These things are just North Carolina. Have you done all of them? Is there something you’d add to the list? Or perhaps take off? I’d love to hear it.

Did I ruffle your feathers by calling you not a true North Carolinian? Sometimes the truth hurts. But now you know what you need to do so don’t shoot the messenger. Take a look at this list of nine activities/places to visit and see how many you check off. You may not have done all of them even if you’ve always called North Carolina home. But if you haven’t, well you should!

  • Had Late Night CookOut

    Cookout tastes it’s best after midnight. This North Carolina fast food chain is known for its Cookout Trays which get you an entree, 2 sides (which are basically entrees with things like chicken nuggets, quesadillas, corndogs as options), and a drink. You obviously upgrade that drink to one of the endless flavors of milkshakes. And that is the perfect late-night meal. You also get bonus points if you eat it in your car or sitting on a curb, because I’m still not a fan of these eat-in CookOut locations. It’s called Cook “out” not Cook “in”.

  • Ridden A Roller Coaster At Carowinds

    In recent years Carowinds has put itself on the map as having some of the best roller coasters in the country. And listen, I get that taking a turn on Fury 325, the record-breaking coaster with a 325-foot drop isn’t for everyone. So I’ll give you any past or present roller coaster at Carowinds for this one. Even a turn on the kiddie coaster Woodstock Express (formerly Scooby Doo or Fairly Odd Coaster) or the Carolina Goldrusher (one of the park’s OG rides) will do.

  • Seen The Wild Horses At The Outer Banks

    Wild Horses rest on the beach just north of Corolla, NC.

    There are multiple places on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where you can see the wild Colonial Spanish Mustang Horses that call the barrier islands home. This includes Corolla, Shackleford Banks, and Ocracoke Island. The horses have resided on the North Carolina shore for over 500 years. There are guided tours that will take you close to these magnificent creatures. But always remember they are wild animals and not domesticated like the horses you typically encounter. That being said, it’s a breathtaking experience to witness these animals running at the edge of the ocean.

  • Drank A North Carolina Brewed Beer At A Brewery

    You can’t go far in North Carolina without seeing one of the seemingly countless breweries the state has to offer. Even if you aren’t a beer fan, you need to spend the afternoon at least once having a beer on the patio at one of those breweries. Whether it is in Asheville where some incredible breweries like Sierra Nevada are, Charlotte, or even a small town.

  • Gone White Water Rafting (Or At Least Watched) At The WWC

    The US National Whitewater Center is located in Charlotte. This facility offers over 30 different outdoor activities including white water rafting. If you’re like me and not the most adventurous, it’s a great place to give it a try as it’s more of a controlled environment than rivers. At least that’s what I told myself. The WWC also hosts a variety of events including RiverJam. So even if the activity itself isn’t your thing (no judgement here), you at least need to visit, perhaps grab a drink and lunch, and enjoy the atmosphere.

  • Taken A Drive Down The Blue Ridge Parkway

    Known as “America’s Favorite Drive” the Blue Ridge Parkway winds through the picturesque mountains of North Carolina. It spans 469 miles from North Carolina all the way to Virginia. The Parkway connects Asheville and Boone which are two of the largest cities along its North Carolina route. There are also plenty of hidden gems including Little Switzerland right off the parkway. It’s gorgeous all year round, but especially beautiful as the leaves change in the fall.

  • Watched A Panthers Game While Eating Bojangles

    I’m not even the biggest Bojangles fan (team Chick-fil-a) all day every day. But those cajun fries just hit differently at Bank of America Stadium during a Panthers game. And unlike Chick-fil-a, North Carolina-born Bojangles is open on Sundays making Big Bo Box the perfect tailgate option. So whether you are enjoying chicken, fries, and sweet tea at home or at the stadium it’s just a must for Sundays in the fall in North Carolina.

  • Attended An ACC Tournament Game

    Typically in Greensboro, though in recent years the ACC Tournament has been played in other locations such as Charlotte and even New York City. But there is no denying its an ingrained part of the culture of North Carolina, no matter who you cheer for. There is nothing quite like the feeling of watching your team win a close game in the tournament, and is there anything more North Carolina?

  • Visited Biltmore Estate

    America’s Largest Home, Biltmore Estate, in Asheville, NC is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the state. And good reason. This magnificent estate was originally owned by George Vanderbilt and is still owned and operated today by his descendants is a site to see. You can make a day trip or spend the weekend. The hotels on site are incredible and you won’t tire of dining at the restaurants. When you aren’t visiting the Biltmore house itself enjoy outdoor activities such as walking trails, horseback riding, white water rafting. Or do a wine tasting at America’s most visited winery located on site.

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