North Carolina is located in the Window to the World:southeastern United States on theAtlantic Ocean. North Carolina by Caitlin Wells If you like white sandy beaches, head to the Outer Banks, the chain of barrier islands along the coast. The most picturesque and relaxing island is Ocracoke, accessible only by ferry. The majority of the island is a wildlife refuge, and it was the hideout of the infamous pirate Blackbeard in the 1700s.If you prefer the mountains, go west toward theAppalachians, where you can go rock climbing,whitewater rafting, hiking, camping, hunting and fishingin one of the state’s many pristine parks. The local cuisine is to-die-for, with world- famous sweet potatoes, barbecue, Bojangle’s fried chicken, soul food, Krispy Kreme donuts, and Pepsi Cola. Home to 30 Native American tribes and one of the original 13 colonies, North Carolina has a long and rich history. The first English settlement in the “New” World was founded on the coast in 1585, and at the start of the Revolutionary War North Carolina was the first colony to declare independence from Great Britain. The state fought on the side of the Confederacy during the American Civil War and in 1903 the Wright brothers made the world’s first airplane flight at the Outer Banks. North Carolina has been home to countless stars: classic musicians like John Coltrane or Nina Simone, bluegrass band The Carolina Chocolate Drops and rockers Southern Culture on the Skids; actors and moviemakers like Cecil B. Demille, Ava Gardner, Michael C. Hall, Zach Galafianakis, Evan Rachel Wood, and Jaime Pressly; and athletes like Michael Jordan.