A Travel Nurse’s Guide to North Carolina: What To Do When You Aren’t Working

Days off while away on a travel nurse assignment are days for sightseeing, exploring, and relaxing. One of the key perks of travel nursing, after all, is the ability to travel and experience new areas. No matter the city or state, there are always fun things to do when you have time off, especially if you are in a new location. You should always research the different attractions in your travel assignment area, so you will know where to go when you have the time.

North Carolina is a great destination full of amazing attractions and fantastic views. If you love the outdoors and taking in nature then this diverse state is perfect for you. To save you some trouble, here are a few attractions to visit in your free time if your assignment is in North Carolina.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Nicknamed “America’s favorite drive,” Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile roadway designed by landscape architect Stanley Abbott. The drive not only has incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but also hundreds of miles of hiking trails that branch off from the numerous pull-offs—some lead to spectacular waterfalls. 

Plan a picnic lunch at one of the many tabled areas or stay and camp at the numerous campgrounds available along the way. Plan your trip carefully and be sure to check for weather-related road closures before heading out.

Pisgah National Forest

The Pisgah National Forest is comprised of over 500,000 acres of hardwood forest, mile-high mountain peaks, whitewater rivers, waterfalls, and hundreds of miles of top hiking trails. It is home to the first school of forestry in the United States, now preserved at the Cradle of Forestry in America historic site, and two of the first designated wilderness areas in the Eastern United States. 

Located inside the Pisgah Forest is the Linville Gorge, one of the most scenic gorges in the eastern United States. The Linville River enters the gorge at Linville Falls and drops 90 feet, continuing for 12 miles within the steep rock walls.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

As the oldest museum in the state, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has two buildings: the Nature Exploration Center and the Nature Research Center. Both buildings are filled with exhibits, interactive learning opportunities, and educational presentations. Activities include exploring deep space, hanging out with the resident two-toed sloth, and viewing the “Terror of the South,” the only genuine Acrocanthosaurus skeleton on display in the world.

Cape Hatteras

Cape Hatteras National Seashore was the country’s first coastal preservation area and includes the important barrier islands along North Carolina’s coast in the Outer Banks region. Visitors come for the beaches, but also for the unique wildlife and rich history. You can climb historic lighthouses, like the 1872 Bodie Island Light Station, get a peek at the variety of birds that nest and feed on the beaches, or observe the nesting ground of several types of sea turtles, including the endangered loggerhead sea turtle.

Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain is within an easy drive of the small towns of Banner Elk and Blowing Rock. This Mountain Range has trails varying from leisurely walks with picturesque views to challenging treks that lead to expansive, mountainous panoramas. Visitors can also learn about local flora, or catch a glimpse of wildlife. You can plan a walk across the park’s well-known Mile High Swinging Bridge, a highlight that has been in place since 1952 and offers 360-degree views.

The Biltmore Estate

The Biltmore Estate is a historic house museum and tourist attraction that stretches 8,000 acres. The mansion has 250 rooms with impressive artwork, antiques, and architecture, as well as collections of vintage clothing and accessories. The gardens are expansive, like the Italian Garden, with ornate pools and sculpture, and the Rose Garden, which features more than 250 varieties of flowers. The grounds also include the first managed forest in the country, a deer park, and miles of level paths and walking trails throughout.

There are so many adventures to experience in your travel assignment location. Find the things that interest you and head out!

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