Get Some Fun Facts About North Carolina

Trivia Tidbits About the Tar Heel State

Charlotte, North Carolina
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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). You can even find a drive-in theater or two.

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.


  • Statehood: 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


  • 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


  • Governor: Roy Cooper
  • Senators: Thom Tillis and Richard Burr
  • Seats in Congress: 13
  • Electoral Votes: 15

Official State Designations

Did you know that North Carolina has an official beverage? Two official dances? An official dog breed, reptile, fish, mammal and horse? Here is the list of official state designations.

  • 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: Scuppernong 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 Things to Smallest Things

  • The 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
  • The 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
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