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Sitting prettily in central North Carolina, Greensboro is a cultural respite between the catch-a-wave coast and the trail-filled mountains. History and art are easy to find within the city’s numerous museums and gardens. It’s all quite pleasant, but as you’ll discover, Greensboro has an activist soul.

Take for example the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in downtown, on the site of the infamous Greensboro Woolworth’s. In 1960, four African American university students took seats at the “whites only” lunch counter here, launching the nonviolent “sit-ins” of the Civil Rights Movement. Just north, learn the city’s history through the voices of its citizens at the Greensboro Historical Museum. Art is the focus at the multi-level Greensboro Cultural Center.

To explore the outdoors, head west to the swampy Bog Garden at Benjamin Park. Drive north to wander the trails at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, site of a short battle between American militia and the British army during the Revolutionary War. Golfers, grab your clubs - Greensboro has nearly a dozen courses.