I am from NC, so I can tell you this:
If you like architecture photography, be sure to stop at some of the small towns between the mountains and Charlotte, or between Charlotte and Winston-Salem. Towns like Lexington (the home of Southern BBQ-worth a stop by itself. Makes you wanna slap your momma!), Salisbury (my hometown--absolutely beautiful downtown area), Albemarle, Concord, Kannapolis (a huge new biotech campus is going up on the site of the old Cannon Mills towel plant), and many others. Also, there's the zoo in Asheboro (about an hour from Charlotte), which is built on the ancient Uwharrie Mountains (Purgatory Mountain to be exact) and is often regarded as one of the better zoos in the country, if not the world.
If you do happen to go to Albemarle, go to Morrow Mountain State Park. It's quite a hike to the top of the mountain, but you can see clear to Charlotte from the top. It is an amazing view.
If you have any more questions from a native North Carolinian, just ask!
Just got back from the trip - lots of fun. It was primarily a vacation, so I only ended up exposing 23 of the 28 holders I took along :) On the photogenic side of things, we hit up South Mountain and Hanging Rock state parks, and Linville Gorge in Pisgah National Forest, all of which were just outstanding. Great camping can be had in Pisgah, and the state parks look great as well (just arrive early since they don't have reservations in advance). I strongly suggest Linville Gorge for anyone in the area who has not been there - it's just breathtaking.
There are some*areas between the Townsend and Cades Cove area of the Smokies and I-40 interstate in the mountains that are in N.C. with scenic vistas and great flowing streams.
Also, the Outer Banks has two lighthouses and the inland areas are scenic, too.
I live in western north carolina, i was just in the nantahala region yesturday, its only a few miles from my house, one of my favorite places to shoot is between gatlinburg tn and cades cove, there is a 25 mile stretch of road through there that has a beautiful river with lots of opportunities, i like cades cove but there are usually too many tourists there to get any good shots, really early morning there would be the best time. Brevard is another excellent place as is highlands nc, Transylvania county (not sure if dracula lives there or not) is known as land of like 10000 waterfalls or something like that. good luck