Visiting the United States? There are 50 states in all.

North Carolina, a southeastern state, boasts beautiful landscapes ranging from Atlantic Ocean beaches to Appalachian Mountains.

Nature lovers, take note: North Carolina has 29 state parks, two national seashores and Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the state’s border with Tennessee. Ideal for hiking, camping and stargazing, the Smoky Mountains contain America’s most-visited national park and host close to 10 million people each year.

If you prefer the great indoors, visit Charlotte — a center for theater, ballet, symphony and opera — or Raleigh, the state capital and home of the North Carolina Museum of Art. In North Carolina, history buffs can tour antebellum mansions, and connoisseurs can visit vineyards in the central part of the state.

(State Dept.)

Living large

The Biltmore Estate in Asheville is situated on a 3,237-hectare compound and boasts a main house that was built by art collector George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. Owned today by one of Vanderbilt’s descendants, it’s the largest privately owned house in the United States. Visitors can tour many of its 250 rooms, filled with artwork and antiques, and wander its magnificent gardens too.

The Biltmore is an emblem of the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, when U.S. industrialists built palatial houses. (Ken Thomas/Creative Commons)

In Wilmington, discover historic Bellamy Mansion. Regarded as one of the finest examples of antebellum architecture in North Carolina, it was designed as a Neoclassical-style residence and built between 1859 and 1861. After decades of restoration, it’s now a fully functioning museum of history and design arts.

Built as a private residence, the Bellamy Mansion combines Greek Revival and Italianate features. (Jcolucci1/Creative vCommons)

Scenic vistas

To enjoy panoramic views, rent a car and head for the Blue Ridge Parkway, known as “America’s Favorite Drive.” The parkway runs along the Blue Ridge mountain chain, which is part of the Appalachian Mountains.

Traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway offers breathtaking views of mountains near and far. (Thinkstock)

Floating fortress

Based in Wilmington, the USS North Carolina — the first battleship to join the American fleet during World War II — is a must-see. This heavily armed vessel, commissioned in 1941, was once the world’s greatest sea weapon. Visitors can tour the sailors’ and officers’ living quarters and stroll the deck to get an up-close look at the battleship’s guns.

A port-bow view of the USS North Carolina highlights the big guns that made this battleship such a potent sea presence. (USN/Don S. Montgomery/Creative Commons)

Seaside escape

Tourists flock to the Outer Banks — a stretch of barrier islands along the North Carolina coastline — to relax on beaches, enjoy charming towns and see free-roaming wild horses. But there’s more. Aviation history is on view at the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras features artifacts from the region’s many historic shipwrecks.

Beachgoers soak up the sun at Nags Head, a town in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. (Shutterstock)

Read more about North Carolina and check out the other 49 states. If you need a visa to visit, here’s how to get one.