North Carolina has numerous roads. Not simply four-lane highways filled with screaming vehicles however two-lane roads via peaceable corners of the state. The roads cross mountains and seashores, go via small cities and massive cities, and join historical past, tradition, and meals. However what are the perfect roads to see the state?
From scenic byways to US Highways, these street journeys are the perfect for exploring every thing North Carolina gives. The one factor troublesome about these street journeys is choosing which one to drive. The straightforward half is having fun with the scenic views, charming cities, and sights.
Which of those street journeys in North Carolina would you get pleasure from driving subsequent?
Blue Ridge Parkway
251 miles | 2-3 days
The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway is among the nation’s hottest street journey routes. In North Carolina, the Parkway begins at Cumberland Knob Recreation Space and ends in Cherokee on the fringe of the Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park.
The 251 miles via North Carolina embody a few of the most iconic locations on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Linn Cove Viaduct snakes across the facet of Grandfather Mountain. Linville Falls crashes into the underside of a gorge far beneath a number of scenic overlooks. Mount Mitchell is the very best level east of the Mississippi River. The Mount Pisgah space features a climbing path to the mountain’s summit, a lodge on the sting of the mountain ridge, and a campground.
READ MORE: Highway Journey on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Alongside the best way, take detours off the Parkway to discover the gateway cities. In Blowing Rock, keep at a lodge on the town and stroll to dinner and purchasing. Boone is busier, however you’ll discover numerous native eating and antiquing for those who go to mid-week. Asheville is a mountain haven identified for his or her craft beer and world-class delicacies. In Brevard, seize a espresso and luxuriate in a savory meal. Lastly, Cherokee is house to the eye-opening Museum of the Cherokee Indian and entertaining Unto These Hills Outside Drama.
51 miles | 1 day
The Cherohala Skyway is among the most scenic drives within the state – and some of the distant. The 51-mile route begins in Robbinsville, about two hours from Asheville. Just like the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cherohala Skyway is a two-lane street with scenic overlooks, climbing trails, and sights.
At 5,390-feet, the Santeetlah Overlook is the very best level on the Cherohala Skyway, however the Massive Junction Overlook gives the most effective views. The Mudd Hole parking space permits day hikers to entry the 300-mile Benton MacKaye Path – a 3.3-mile hike results in Whigg Meadow. The Turkey Creek Overlook is the perfect overlook on the Skyway, with a jaw-dropping view throughout sundown.
Indian Boundary Lake Recreation Space is a peaceable bastion for a weekend getaway within the mountains. A seashore is the right place to swim within the lake, however it’s also possible to discover with kayaks or canoes. An 87-site campground is unfold round three loops in a dense forest inside strolling distance of the lake.
Bald River Falls is a nice shock on the Cherohala Skyway. The 100-foot-tall waterfall is just a few miles from the Skyway on an unmarked two-lane street. Guests can view the beautiful waterfall from a bridge close to the bottom of the falls, the place mist from the churning water covers every thing – and everybody.
Forest Heritage Scenic Byway
68 miles | 1-2 days
The 68-mile Forest Heritage Scenic Byway loops via Pisgah Nationwide Forest, starting and ending close to Brevard. The nationwide forest was established in 1916 after Edith Vanderbilt offered over 86,000 acres of the Biltmore Property to the federal authorities.
The loop contains the scenic route alongside US Freeway 276 previous Wanting Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, and the Cradle of Forestry in America, the place guests can discover the origins of the primary forestry faculty within the nation. On NC Freeway 215, discover small waterfalls like Sunburst Falls. Go for brief detours on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mount Pisgah and Devils Courthouse for breathtaking overlooks and climbing trails.
Indian Lakes Scenic Byway
60 miles | 1 day
Deep within the western North Carolina mountains, the Indian Lakes Scenic Byway meanders alongside the shorelines of Fontana Lake, Cheoah Lake, and Santeetlah Lake. Boat leases are far and few in between, so convey your personal kayak or canoe to get pleasure from these peaceable lakes. However it’s additionally attainable to get pleasure from these lakes from the consolation of a collapsible chair at a lakeshore picnic space.
Stroll throughout the Fontana Dam, the very best dam in elevation east of the Rocky Mountains, alongside the Appalachian Path and relive a second captured in Invoice Bryson’s A Stroll within the Woods. Take a detour alongside the Tail of the Dragon – an notorious bike route that options 318 curves in 11 miles.
Coastal Lighthouse Tour
300 miles | 4-7 days
Seven lighthouses stay alongside North Carolina’s coast, beaming brightly as beacons to the previous. In the event you time the ferry crossings excellent, you can full this street journey in a scant two days – however what’s the enjoyable in that?
Climb the steps inside Previous Baldy Lighthouse, the oldest standing lighthouse in North Carolina, after taking a pedestrian-only ferry to Bald Head Island. At close by Oak Island Lighthouse, the one strategy to climb to the highest is a collection of seven vertical ship’s ladders, so that you would possibly wish to simply benefit from the view from the seashore boardwalk as a substitute.
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse is the one lighthouse to discover alongside North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. Accomplished in 1859, the 163-foot-tall lighthouse options an iconic black and white diamond sample. The lighthouse stands on Shackleford Banks, a part of the Cape Lookout Nationwide Seashore. Guests have to guide passage on a ferry to the island to discover the lighthouse and take a self-guided tour to the highest.
Go to 4 lighthouses alongside the Outer Banks between Ocracoke and Corolla. The Ocracoke Lighthouse, accomplished in 1823, is essentially the most distant within the state. The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is among the most recognizable lighthouses alongside the East Coast. Accomplished in 1870, the 198-foot-tall lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse within the nation and the second tallest on the earth. The 156-foot-tall Bodie Island Gentle Station is the third to face on the identical property and was accomplished in 1872.
The Currituck Seashore Lighthouse is lower than two miles from the top of paved roads on the north finish of the Outer Banks in Corolla. Accomplished in 1875, the 162-foot-tall lighthouse remains to be open for guests to climb the 220 steps to the highest.
Did You Know? Carova is the northernmost seashore city in North Carolina. The one strategy to get there’s a four-wheel drive car alongside 12 miles of the seashore after the paved roads finish in Corolla.
North Carolina Waterfall Scenic Byway
140 miles | 2-3 days
The North Carolina Waterfall Scenic Byway is a 98-mile route between Murphy and Rosman. However including an additional 42 miles via Brevard and Pisgah Nationwide Forest features a dozen extra waterfalls – and a few of the finest within the state.
The 140-mile route contains 25 waterfalls, most viewable from the automotive or after a brief stroll. Journey via the Cullasaja Gorge to go to Cullasaja Falls, Bust Your Butt Falls, and stroll behind Dry Falls. Take a brief detour to see Whitewater Falls, the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. In DuPont State Recreation Forest, take quick hikes to see Excessive Falls, Triple Falls, and Hooker Falls. Lastly, go to Wanting Glass Falls, some of the iconic waterfalls in North Carolina.
Alongside the best way, discover the charming small cities of Murphy, Franklin, Highlands, and Brevard. Find out about North Carolina’s mineral mining previous, get pleasure from boutique purchasing, and pattern the savory native delicacies.
Outer Banks Scenic Byway
144 miles | 3-5 days
The Outer Banks Scenic Byway is the right strategy to mix a street journey with a seashore trip. Stretching alongside 144 miles of two-lane roads, the scenic route contains over three hours on automotive ferries and moments of seeing water on each side of the street.
Start the drive in Beaufort and discover the Down East space of North Carolina. The Cedar Island Ferry to Ocracoke Village takes 2.5 hours, and on the midpoint, the land is nowhere in sight. Take one other half-hour ferry to Hatteras Island to start a journey of island hopping via Rodanthe, Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Satan Hills.
Discover the charming seashore cities and broad seashores. Delve into the historical past of Blackbeard and the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Uncover native purchasing, eating, and sights. However most of all, really feel the salty air blowing via your hair with open home windows and nothing however solar overhead.
Pamlico Scenic Byway
127 miles | 1-2 days
Pamlico Sound is the biggest lagoon on the East Coast, stretching 80 miles from Washington to the Outer Banks. The Pamlico Scenic Byway follows the route of US Freeway 264 from Manns Harbor alongside the lagoon’s coast to Washington.
Discover early colonial historical past, benefit from the recreation in Alligator River Nationwide Wildlife Refuge and Mattamuskeet Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, and take within the surroundings alongside the peaceable freeway via small communities, farms, and riverways.
US Freeway 17
228 miles | 3-5 days
As soon as referred to as the King’s Freeway, the route of US Freeway 17 was developed throughout the colonial period to attach the necessary port cities of Charleston and Boston. Immediately, the route connects inland cities and cities lower than an hour from a seashore at any given time.
Discover the burgeoning craft beer scene in Wilmington, or spend a night within the thriving downtown space. Take a guided tour of Tryon Palace, colonial North Carolina’s first capital. Benefit from the beautiful surroundings between Washington and South Mills on the Virginia border. Finish the journey with an journey at Nice Dismal Swamp Nationwide Wildlife Refuge.
US Freeway 21
110 miles | 3-5 days
A lot of US Freeway 21 parallels Interstate 77 via North Carolina, however you’ll miss numerous adventures for those who persist with the interstate freeway. Throughout the top of the Nice American Highway Journey, the route was a part of the favored Nice Lakes to Florida Freeway.
In Sparta, the route crosses the Blue Ridge Parkway and into the Yadkin Valley wine area. In Statesville, discover the “Ballooning Capital of the East” with a sizzling air balloon trip, get a drink at Southern Distilling Firm, and end the day with one thing to eat at an area restaurant. Discover NASCAR heritage at museums and storage outlets in Mooresville, and you may go for a race on the GoPro Motorplex. Observe the remainder of the route into Charlotte for a Panther’s soccer sport or discover one of many metropolis’s thrilling neighborhoods.
US Freeway 64
578 miles | 5-10 days
Certainly one of two routes that cross your complete state from the mountains to the seashore, US Freeway 64 begins in Murphy alongside the North Carolina Waterfall Scenic Byway. Discover native purchasing, eating, and sights in Franklin, Highlands, Brevard, and Hendersonville. Go to Lake Lure, the well-known filming location of Soiled Dancing, and the long-lasting Chimney Rock.
Go away the mountains behind with a visit via Statesville, the “Ballooning Capital of the East.” Go to the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro and take a detour to go to 100 potteries alongside the Pottery Freeway in Seagrove. Go to the state capital in Raleigh earlier than leaving the piedmont behind, touring into the coastal space. Finish the journey with a nice drive to Nags Head, the place you possibly can discover the historical past of the Wright Brothers and watch the dawn throughout the ocean.
US Freeway 74
430 miles | 5-10 days
Starting in Murphy, US Freeway 74 crosses your complete state in a completely completely different route. Journey via the beautiful Nantahala Gorge into Bryson Metropolis, then proceed via the small mountain cities of Sylva and Waynesville. Spend a weekend in Asheville, a metropolis identified for the variety of craft breweries, world-class delicacies, and beautiful mountain views. Journey via Lake Lure, Forest Metropolis, and Shelby to find nice native meals and sights on the best way into Charlotte.
Partially upgraded to interstate grade, the route alongside US Freeway 74 between Charlotte and Wilmington can go by within the blink of a watch. Cease in Rockingham to get one thing to eat and take a brief detour to Moores Creek Nationwide Battlefield. Arrive in Wilmington to pattern the seafood, craft beer, and native purchasing within the vibrant downtown – or skip it fully in favor of some days in Carolina Seashore.