NC Icons

From our most iconic foods to beloved state symbols, consider this your go-to guide to North Carolina.





Close to the Sandhills, a community of talented ceramicists continues the multi-generational legacy of Seagrove pottery.



Nothing beats a North Carolina oyster plucked straight from the saltwater. Just ask Morehead City restaurateur Sammy Boyd.


In North Carolina, apples are our sweet and tart stars of autumn.

Trout Fishing

Anglers come from all around to fish the cold, clear waters of the Great Smoky Mountains, where trout is the prize.

Richard Petty

Many debate the greatest of all time in American sports, but when it comes to North Carolina racing, there’s no doubt who reigns supreme.


This odd native fruit had been all but forgotten — but a farmer in Watauga County is singing its praises.

Jockey’s Ridge

There is no more recognizable natural feature on the Outer Banks than the largest living sand dune on the East Coast — but this coastal icon was almost lost to development in the 1970s.

Chimney Rock

Shaped by the wind and battered by storms, the iconic rock formation overlooking Lake Lure and Hickory Nut Gorge remains an enduring symbol of our state.

Grandfather Mountain

The rugged profile of the old man has long captivated North Carolinians as it keeps watch over the Blue Ridge.


Nothing beats the sweet promise of a summer peach grown in the Sandhills. At Kalawi Farm in Eagle Springs, a third-generation peach farmer ensures the tradition lives on.

Black Bears

Black bears are the embodiment of North Carolina’s adventurous spirit, immense and wild.

Our State Magazine

Us? An icon? Well, after 90 years and more than 2,000 issues celebrating North Carolina from mountains to coast, we hope you’ll agree that we’ve earned the title.


This sweet cherry soda, invented in Salisbury, has been a cherished Tar Heel treasure for more than 100 years.


’Cue is our state’s signature sustenance, but with two distinct styles — eastern and Lexington — that’s typically where our agreement ends. Luckily, no matter which side of this delicious rivalry you fall on, barbecue is a food that brings people together.

Doc Watson

The legacy of the legendary flat-picking guitarist from Watauga County lives on.

The Appalachian Trail

A record-setting hiker and North Carolina native reflects on what makes our state such an iconic part of the most famous hiking trail in the world.

The North Carolina Zoo

Generations of North Carolinians have made memories at the world’s largest natural-habitat zoo.

The Legend of Methuselah

Deep in the remote Three Sisters Swamp of the Black River stands an ancient old-growth forest. For decades, a famed bald cypress, dated to 372 AD and known as Methuselah, was its patriarch — until two even older trees were discovered.

The Krispy Kreme Doughnut

The glazed, pillowy-soft doughnuts, invented in Winston-Salem in 1937, are a Tar Heel tradition.


In a state naturally rich in red clay, potters like the legendary Sid Luck carry on a long-held North Carolina tradition.


Few culinary traditions run as deep as collards in North Carolina.


In the 19th and 20th centuries, hundreds of textile mills supported a booming industry that created entire communities, turned North Carolina into a manufacturing powerhouse, and helped to weave the very fabric of our state.



Tryon Palace

During Christmastime in New Bern, 18th-century holiday traditions come to life at North Carolina’s first State Capitol.


A Pirate’s Life

Take to the high seas — er, Taylor’s Creek in Beaufort, that is — to learn more about North Carolina’s infamous pirates.

Mountain Primer

Find out what makes our ancient Appalachian Mountains so magnificent in this primer on our peaks.

The Wild Horses of Shackleford Banks

Sturdy through storms and sun, North Carolina’s wild horses roam on.

The Fried Bologna Sandwich

Like the old-school, paper bag special, a fried bologna sandwich is a nostalgic Southern staple.

The Tractor Factor

North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler has a deep appreciation for the machine that changed the landscape of our state.

The Carolina Shad Boat

This graceful, traditional fishing vessel — our state historic boat — was ideal for maneuvering in shallow water, but its history runs deep.

The Crystal Coast Shrimpburger

Fried shrimp, tartar sauce, slaw, and ketchup on a steamed bun — the shrimpburger is an icon of North Carolina.