Educational Field Trips in North Carolina
It doesn’t have to be a rainy day. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a cloudy day. As a homeschool family, you can pick any day at all to move your learning beyond the confines of your home and head out on an educational adventure. Ask any homeschool parent or student, and they will tell you that one of the absolute best parts of homeschooling is educational travel. Not only can homeschool field trips put some spice into your homeschool routine, but they create the kind of learning that will often stick with your student far longer than something they read in a textbook or even watch on a video.
There are tons of things to do with children in NC. The Tarheel State is packed with cultural venues, historical landmarks, and natural wonders to explore. To help you find the best field trip ideas in North Carolina, we’ve organized them by geographic region. You can even plan out each of your learning adventures on this printable North Carolina map from Time4Learning. Plus, as a bonus, we’ve even included a free download of Time4Learning lesson plans that might be the perfect supplement for each trip (grab yours at the end of this article)!
Home education is not the same in every state. Make sure you have the information you need to start homeschooling in The Tarheel State.
Homeschool Field Trips in the NC Mountains
Biltmore Estate, Asheville – If you thought you had to cross the Atlantic Ocean to visit a castle, think again. The luxurious, 250-room home of George and Edith Vanderbilt is America’s largest, and this educational trip will take you right back to the turn of the 20th century. Don’t miss the extensive gardens and farm once you’ve toured the house.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, Flat Rock – Where can you learn about one of the great American poets, visit with goats, and get a Junior Ranger badge? These activities are waiting for you at Connemara, home of the Sandburg family from the 1940s through the 1960s.
Grandfather Mountain, Linville – Of course you could leisurely explore this nature preserve and state park without any agenda, and you would still learn plenty, but by integrating some of the naturalist programs, interpretive ranger programs, habitat programs, and Junior Ranger programs, you’ll come away with even more knowledge.
Oconaluftee Indian Village, Cherokee – Step back into authentic Native American history where you can explore Cherokee dwellings, watch cultural dances, and see Native American craftspeople sharing the skills that have been passed down to them from generation to generation.
Linville Caverns, Marion – Explore inside a mountain in these limestone caverns. During your tour you will learn about the history of the caverns, the wildlife that reside there, and the formations inside. Plenty of opportunities to tie into learning science on this trip!
Homeschool Field Trips in the NC Piedmont
Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill – Located on the campus of the University of NC, this museum includes works from around the world that span over 5,000 years of human history. Guided tours are available, and the website offers both pre-visit and post-visit educational materials.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Belmont – Children will fall in love with gardening at this 380-acre property. There are regular homeschool days with educational programming offered, as well as Family Fun Workshops. There is a dedicated children’s garden on the site, too.
Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Greensboro – When planning out day trips in NC, this visit to a Revolutionary battlefield site should be high on your list. Be sure to start your tour at the Visitor’s Center to learn the full history of the park, then either drive or bike the tour road and don’t forget to get your Junior Ranger activity book.
Kaleidium, Winston Salem – When you need unique field trips ideas in NC, look no further than this merger of a children’s museum and a science museum. Kaleideum North includes a large science exhibit space, an environmental park, and a planetarium. Kaleideum Downtown is an experiential learning space with a literature-based theme.
Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium – There are 10 interactive zones to explore at this aquarium, including a touchpool, a seahorse exhibit, and a jellyfish area. Students will become mini marine biologists as they learn facts about the ocean and its inhabitants and will gain a stronger appreciation for conservation along the way.
Are you a Charlotte homeschool family? Discover even more opportunities for homeschool field trips in Charlotte.
Homeschool Field Trips in the NC Coastal Region
Aurora Fossil Museum, Aurora – There aren’t too many day trips in NC that will excite students more than an opportunity to get up close and personal with fossils. Build your child’s understanding of the geology, paleontology, and prehistory of coastal NC at this educational destination.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Nags Head – This is the location of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse and the Bodie Island Lighthouse, which are open in the summer months for exploration. Nature and history study opportunities abound here. For example, did you know that during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, a Union ship, the U.S.S. Monitor sunk in a storm just off the shore from here?
Currituck National Wildlife Refuge, Carova – At the top of the Outer Banks of NC lies a beautiful expanse of beach where wild Spanish mustangs roam free. Possible educational tie-ins could include dune structure and vegetation, coastal barrier island geology, nesting habitats, and maritime forests.
North Carolina Estuarium, Washington – This environmental center includes over 200 exhibits dedicated to the estuaries and coastal rivers of NC. Here, you’ll encounter aquariums, artifacts from the Pamlico River, and can learn about the effects of hurricanes and sea level rise.
Poplar Grove Plantation, Wilmington – Within the Gullah Geechee corridor is one of the oldest peanut plantations in North Carolina. Take the manor tour, view the demonstrations and exhibits, and learn about the history of the family who ran the plantation as well as the slaves who made it prosperous.
North Carolina Field Trips Resource
Is there anything more fun than learning through field trips? To make your experiences at these destinations even more meaningful, Time4Learning members will appreciate this download of free lesson tie-ins.