North Carolina Fun Facts

Things You Never Knew You Didn't Know About the Tar Heel State

North Carolina State Symbols
Courtesy of the Office of the Governor of North Carolina

If there's one thing you can say about North Carolina, it's that we've got our share of history.

As one of the original 13 colonies, we were the 12th state to join the union (but the last to leave it during the Civil War). We're the home of two U.S. Presidents, and possibly three (and maybe even four depending on who you ask). We're also the home of the first powered flight (the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk).

From the largest county (Mecklenburg) to the smallest (Tyrrell), the highest point (Mount Mitchell) to the lowest (the entire coast at sea level), North Carolina is a pretty diverse state. We're the home of some pretty awesome "first" (including flight, public university, mini golf course and Krispy Kreme doughnut).

Whether you're curious as to who our governor is, how many electoral votes we have, just how big North Carolina is, or what our state symbols are, here's everything you ever wanted to know about North Carolina, and plenty of information that you never knew you didn't know.


North Carolina history:
: Nov. 21, 1789 (12th state in the Union)
Seceded from the Union: May 20, 1861 (last state to do so)
U.S. Presidents: At least two, and possibly four United States Presidents were born in North Carolina

North Carolina Geography
Number of counties: 100
Largest county (size): Dare - 1,562 square miles
Smallest county (size): Clay - 221 square miles

Largest county (population): Mecklenburg - 944,373
Smallest county (population): Tyrrell - 4,364

Highest point: Mount Mitchell (6,0891 feet)
Lowest point: Atlantic coastline (0 feet - sea level)
Population: 9,752,073 (the 10th largest state)
Size: 53,818.51 miles (the 28th largest state)

Length: 560 square miles
Width: 150 square miles
Capital city: Raleigh
Largest city: Charlotte

North Carolina Government
Governor: Pat McCrory
Senators: Kay Hagan and Richard Burr
Seats in Congress: 13
Electoral Votes: 15

Did you know that our state has an official beverage? Two official dances? An official dog breed, reptile, fish, mammal and horse?

North Carolina State Symbols
Click on each symbol to find out more information, including when and why it was chosen.
The state quarter of North Carolina
The state seal of North Carolina
The state flag of North Carolina
The state toast of North Carolina
The state motto of North Carolina

The state song of North Carolina
The state nickname of North Carolina: The Tar Heel State and The Old North State
The state colors of North Carolina: Red and blue
The state bird of North Carolina: Cardinal

The state flower of North Carolina: Dogwood
The state wildflower of North Carolina: Carolina Lily
The state dog of North Carolina: Plott Hound
The state tartan of North Carolina: Carolina Tartan

The state shell of North Carolina: Scotch Bonnet
The state tree of North Carolina: Longleaf Pine
The state reptile of North Carolina: Eastern Box Turtle
The state mammal of North Carolina: Gray squirrel
The state butterfly of North Carolina: Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

The state popular dance of North Carolina: Carolina Shag
The state folk dance of North Carolina: Clogging
The state berries of North Carolina: Strawberry and blueberry
The state boat of North Carolina: Shad
The state carnivorous plant of North Carolina: Venus Fly Trap

The state fruit of North Carolina: Scuppernog grape
The state insect of North Carolina: Honey bee
The state rock of North Carolina: Granite
The state precious stone of North Carolina: Emerald

The state military academy of North Carolina: Oak Ridge Military Academy
The state fish of North Carolina: Channel Bass
The state beverage of North Carolina: Milk
The state vegetable of North Carolina: Sweet potato
The state horse of North Carolina: Colonial Spanish Mustang

Tallest to Smallest
Tallest lighthouse in the United States: Cape Hatteras
North Carolina is the home of plenty of "largest" and "smallest" things and places:
Largest private house in the world: Biltmore Estate
Highest waterfall on the east coast: Whitewater Falls

Largest freshwater sound in the world: Albemarle Sound
Highest swinging bridge in the United States: Grandfather Mountain
World's smallest daily newspaper: Tryon Daily Bulletin
Tallest dam in the eastern United States: Fontana Dam

Tallest sand dune in the eastern United States: Jockey's Ridge
World's Largest Marine air base: Cherry Point in Havelock
Eastern America's Highest Town: Beech Mountain at 5,506 feet
North Carolina is the largest producer of sweep potatoes in the United States

Famous Firsts
North Carolina has been the home of a number of pretty amazing "firsts," including:
Gold rush: Charlotte and surrounding area
Gold mine: Reed's Gold Mine

Drawbridge in the United States: Wilmington (Cape Fear River)
Successful powered flight: The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk
Public university in the United States: UNC Chapel Hill

Miniature golf course: Fayetteville
Krispy Kreme: Winston-Salem
Pepsi: New Bern
Professional home run from Babe Ruth: Fayetteville

English child in America: Roanoke
State art museum: Raleigh
Outdoor drama: The Lost Colony, staged every year since 1937 in Manteo
The North Carolina Symphony: Founded in 1943, it was one of the first "official" state symphonies