NC Main to Main
This 17-county region includes the Outer Banks and the Inner Banks, an area that surrounds the Albemarle Sound, and the rivers that flow through northeastern North Carolina. Home to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and some of the oldest small towns in the state, the slower pace of the region makes it an ideal place to stroll through downtown districts, enjoy the fresh catch of the day or North Carolina oysters, frequent the shops and restaurants, and learn about the river lighthouses and the unique history of the communities. While there, learn about the agricultural history, make sure to experience the fishing, boating, and waterway cultures, enjoy hiking, cycling, and kayaking through the natural environment, and catch the brogue of the locals that call the Northeast region of North Carolina home.
NC Main Street Communities
Additional Trails In Our
NC Main to Main Communities
Trail and Outdoor Recreation Links
African American Experience of Northeast NC
Take a powerful and inspiring road trip to explore more than 30 sites, important to the African American community and history of northeastern NC. This self-guided, digital heritage trail includes outdoor interpretive signs and monuments, parks, waterways and museums. Highlights that you can see include the Historic Jarvisburg Colored School, Pasquotank River, Pea Island Cookhouse, Colored Union Soldiers Monument, Colonial Waterfront Park and historic Dismal Swamp Canal.
Albemarle Loop Paddling
The many rivers, creeks, and streams that flow into the Albemarle Sound offer unique and fresh opportunities for kayakers, canoeists and paddle boarders. The Albemarle Loop is spotlighting these tributaries as exceptional sites for outdoor recreation. Visitors coming by boat or by car can explore the high-quality marinas and quaint, historic towns of the Albemarle Loop, and enjoy one or more of the 16 paddle trails. Bring your kayak on the deck of your yacht, on the rooftop of your car, or rent one at the various launch ramps.
History seeps from every nook and cranny of Edenton and Chowan County. Outstanding historic 18th century architecture includes some of the state’s oldest homes and churches. Popular sites include the 1767 Chowan County Courthouse, the 1886 Roanoke River Lighthouse and the Iredell House Homesite. Discover the stories about the Maritime Underground Railroad, a historic baseball field or take a stroll back in time while touring the amazing history and gardens at the Cupola House.
Edenton Outdoor Recreation
Edenton is located along the Inner Banks of northeastern North Carolina in a land where land and water merge. Our region’s connection to water has always been a defining characteristic of life in the community. Nestled between the Chowan and Pasquotank river basins, Edenton and Chowan County offer the outdoor adventurer a lifetime of opportunities — from fishing and boating to sailing and kayaking.
Are you ready for outdoor adventure? Our area is made up of half-land and half-water which makes it the perfect outdoor playground! Explore our 20,000 acres of state parks, where you can hike, bike, enjoy bird and wildlife observation and camp under the stars. Our many waterways with their lush greenery are a favorite for fishing, boating, kayaking and paddle boarding. Imagine renting a pontoon boat, rolling down our river, catching a sunset and dining at one of our waterfront restaurants. Adventure awaits you, plan your stay and share your adventures with us at #VisitECity.
Elizabeth City State Teacher's College Tour
This important district is the current site of the area’s premier institution of higher learning, Elizabeth City State University. The school was founded in 1891 as a Normal School for the purpose of “training teachers of the colored race to teach in common schools of North Carolina,” and marked a significant period in African-American history. The many historic buildings on campus take visitors on a trip into the past and tell the story of a proud people who reached for knowledge, and through it, changed the face of the nation.
Halifax Rockfish Public Art Tour
The Roanoke Valley Rocks is a public relations/public art campaign designed to uplift and inspire the Roanoke Valley. This program has been successful because of the many local businesses that “launched” fish at their locations and supported the project. The Roanoke Valley Rocks campaign is a collection of brightly and creatively painted 72” Rockfish statues. These are installed all around the Roanoke Valley. The Rockfish was chosen as our campaign mascot to pay homage to one of the world’s premier sport fish that chooses to return home to the Roanoke Valley each spring.
Historic Albemarle Tour
When you embark on the Historic Albemarle Tour, which winds through over 29 sites and coastal North Carolina counties, you encounter chapters from American history that teach volumes about the present. The tale of this ancient region is the story of America. It’s a story of growth and change. Of wilderness walks and uncharted horizons. Of rivers and oceans. Of exploration and independence. A multi-dimensional microcosm of the American experience.
Mountains to Sea Trail
The Mountains-to-Sea Trail is a simple footpath stretching almost 1,200 miles across North Carolina from Clingmans Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains to Jockey’s Ridge on the Outer Banks. More than just a walk in the woods, the trail traces the diversity that is North Carolina. Experience ancient mountains and small Piedmont farms, coastal swamps and colonial towns, changing textile villages and barrier islands. Almost 700 miles of footpath are now completed. With temporary routes on backroads and bicycle paths, hikers can now follow the trail on an adventure across North Carolina.
National Underground Railroad
The Roanoke Canal, Roanoke River, and Historic Halifax were all part of the Underground Railroad’s complex transportation network. Freedom Seekers would use the owing rapids and steep banks of the Roanoke River to elude their pursuers. The Roanoke Navigation Canal’s location near the river and Halifax also made it an integral part of the escape routes; slaves sometimes even escaped from the canal building camps. When Freedom Seekers reached the town of Halifax, the large community of free blacks often concealed those seeking freedom or helped them on their way further north.
NC Birding Trail
The North Carolina Birding Trail serves as a driving trail to link birders and nature-based tourists with great birding sites across the state and the local communities in which they are found.
Each of our locations are their own entities. From state parks, to greenways, to arboretums, to game lands, our sites are each their own prime spots for engaging with nature.
NC Scenic Byway
North Carolina's 61 scenic byways allow motorists to experience a bit of the state's history, geography and breathtaking scenery while raising awareness for the protection and preservation of these treasures. Travelers can get to know North Carolina's people and communities and see the diverse beauty the Tar Heel state has to offer – from the high peaks of the Appalachian Mountains to the fertile hills of the Piedmont to the marshes, sounds and beaches of the coast.
The Roanoke Canal Museum and Trail
The Roanoke Canal Trail and its contributing resources tell the history of transportation on the Roanoke River from the early 1800s to today. Segments of the canal that remain intact today include portions of the 39 foot wide channel, its 10 foot wide tow path, the original aqueduct and one of the stone culverts. In 1976, the canal, the tow path, and the canal structures were added to the National Register of Historic Places. The towpath and bottom of the canal provide pedestrian access between the communities of Roanoke Rapids and Weldon, North Carolina.
Quilt Trails of the Tar and Roanoke Rivers
Just like the quilt trails in the mountains of North Carolina, only closer! The Quilt Trail of the Roanoke River brings this tradition to Martin County. Enjoyable not only for quilting enthusiasts, the trail aspires to educate and provide history on the region.
Each block features a pattern inspired by the place where it hangs and will be recorded in the Tar & Roanoke Rivers Quilt Trail Guide that will delve deeper into the rich heritage and stories of the region, relaying the significance of each block.