A. The Ultimate North Carolina Road Trip Itinerary For Families: Top 10 Nc Towns To Visit
There are so many things to do as a family in North Carolina! North Carolina is a state known for its pristine beaches, lighthouses, NASCAR, waterfalls, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and more! But to be completely honest, North Carolina is a very difficult state to travel to. While you can drive north to south in about three hours, the drive west to east across the state takes over eight hours.
But in an effort to showcase all of North Carolina’s cool cities, I have prepared this definitive itinerary for your North Carolina family. But since I’m also a realist, I’ve broken this itinerary up into two seven-day itineraries for those who can’t do a two-week trip. If you can do it all at once, keep going. If you only have a week of vacation, choose the East North Carolina 7-Day Route one year for the summer vacation and the 7-day West Route the following year for the fall vacation.
1. Ultimate North Carolina Itinerary
If you’ve always wanted to visit the Outer Banks, soak up the sun along our incredible national coastline, see the epic North Carolina waterfalls, or plan a trip to the Biltmore Estate or the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ve come to the right place !! We discover the best things to do in North Carolina on one amazing trip!
2. The best cities in North Carolina
We’re going to highlight some popular cities in NC, but also some of the best small towns along the way! We start this trip in Raleigh or Charlotte. Why? Well, if you’re flying into the area, you’ll likely begin your trip from one of our major international airports: RDU in Raleigh or CLT in Charlotte.
3. Raleigh, NC
Welcome to the state capital Raleigh, North Carolina! Head downtown to see the shopping and arts scene, Fayetteville Street, museums, and the Marbles Kids Museum. Would you like to go out? Visit Pullen Park, Umstead Park or the NC Farmers Market. If you have the time, be sure to check out a Hurricanes hockey game or one of our epic college sports games!
4. Rocky Mount, NC
Rocky Mount, NC is the perfect stopover for any North Carolina trip! Conveniently located at the intersection of Interstate 95 and Highway 64, there is lots of fun in Rocky Mount! With only one day to spare, you can’t miss Rocky Mount Mills, a restored cotton factory that is now home to five craft breweries, three restaurants, and the cutest coffee shop you’ve ever seen! There is also plenty of space for children to run around and play to gain some of that energy. Do you love the outdoors? Spend some time exploring the Battle Park trails. For a completely unique experience, you should definitely stay at the River & Twine, the largest small house hotel in the world!
5. Wilmington, NC
Get up early because today means a lot of travel time! The ferry to Cedar Island from Ocracoke takes about two hours. Enjoy your time on the ferry and take in the beautiful views as you have an additional three hours in the car to drive the rest of the way to Wilmington. Don’t worry, you have plenty of options for cute little North Carolina towns to grab a bite, stretch your legs, and do fun things!
Upon arrival on Cedar Island, we recommend an additional hour’s drive to Beaufort, NC for lunch. Spend some time strolling this absolutely adorable little North Carolina town! This will steal your heart, I promise! Have you been to Beaufort? On your way to Wilmington, try stopping at one of these other unique NC towns: Morehead City, Surf City, or Topsail Beach.
Since you will arrive in Wilmington later in the day, we will head straight downtown to explore the Riverwalk, maybe take a carriage ride and dinner. Complete your second day in Wilmington with a visit to the North Carolina Battleship, historic Fort Fisher, Carolina Beach State Park, more water sports, or just relaxing on the beautiful beaches.
6. Charlotte, NC
On the go again … drive 3.5 hours to Charlotte, NC! Here are some fun things to do in Charlotte depending on what time of year you travel:
- US National Whitewater Center – Explore white water rafting, the high ropes course, or the many mountain bike trails.
- Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame or watch a real race!
- Do you love a theme park? Spend the day at Carowinds.
- Get your art at the Coin Museum.
- Find family fun and learn at Discovery Place too.
- Enjoy the beauty of Daniel Stowe’s Botanical Gardens.
- Catch a professional soccer game at Bank of America Stadium, a show at the Blumenthal Performing Arts
- Center, or even a show at the Spectrum Center.
7. Asheville, NC
Get in the car this morning for your 2-hour drive to Asheville, NC! Asheville is one of the coolest cities in North Carolina with tons of unique things to do! Don’t miss a visit to the Biltmore Estate, Chimney Rock State Park, Sliding Rock and dive headfirst into the incredible food and beer scene! If you’re planning a trip to the Biltmore Estate or want to see some North Carolina waterfalls, this is your chance!
8. Cherokee, NC
While Asheville is your base for minimizing nightly changes, a day trip to Cherokee, NC is a must! Cherokee is your gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here you can spend your time hiking, biking, swimming and learning more about the Cherokee Indians! And if gambling is your thing, check out one of the best casinos in the Southeast: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.
9. Boone, NC
This morning’s panoramic tour takes about an hour and a half to reach Montanha do Avô. Spend the morning here before heading to Boone, North Carolina for the half hour! See the view from the Blue Ridge Parkway, have fun with the family on the Tweetsie Railroad, go to gem mining, and see the beautiful town of Blowing Rock! On your final morning, get ready for a trip to Linville Gorge and Linville Falls before heading home.
North Carolina is beautiful all year round, but there are pros and cons for every area and season.
- Summer in north carolina: We happily recommend traveling to North Carolina in the spring and fall, but if you really want to enjoy our gorgeous beaches, travel in the summer. But be careful! Most states get very hot and humid in summer. Our beaches are incredibly popular in the summer so plan ahead so you don’t miss a thing!
- Autumn north carolina: If you are looking for incredible fall foliage and a milder beach climate, consider traveling in fall. But be careful! We are in the middle of the hurricane alley. There is always the possibility of a hurricane in late summer or early autumn. The mountains are also very popular at this time of year, so book early to guarantee your reservation.
- Winter in north carolina: Winter in North Carolina is generally very mild, but there can be snow in the western half of the state. Take a warm coat and you’ll be fine.
- Spring in nc: After all, spring is a great time to travel the state as long as you can handle the pollen! The temperatures are getting warmer, the flowers are in bloom, but you, the sea, may find it a little cold to swim.
10. Fun Things to Do in North Carolina
So … do we have enough ideas to help you find out what to do in North Carolina? We pride ourselves on calling NC home and love exploring our state. We always find new and fun things to do! Ready to plan your final North Carolina itinerary? We love planning trips and we are happy to help you create an itinerary that suits your travel needs and desires. Don’t hesitate to contact me by leaving a comment below or by sending me an Instagram message with any questions.
B. 5 Useful Tips For Planning A Happening Vacation To North Carolina
If you’re planning a North Carolina vacation and aren’t sure where to start, where to end, and how many stops to make in between, this post is for you. We understand that you want to make your vacation worth every penny and moment you spend here, so we have some great tips for you. In this post, we’re examining five simple and helpful tips that can help you plan your North Carolina vacation. Let us begin!
1. Sunsets? Beaches? Mountains? Or the meteor shower? Choose your priorities
North Carolina is a destination full of adventure and adventure that you can dream of. It is a state of beautiful sunsets and sunrises against the backdrop of dramatic landscapes. There are miles of beaches for those who want a busy beach vacation and beautiful mountain ranges for those who want to reach the sky.
The question is: which one will it be? Not that you can’t visit them all in one trip. However, if you have time constraints, don’t miss out on the goals that are most important to you. So before planning where to land, stay, and travel in NC, it is best to know your destination priorities.
2. North Carolina weather can have a huge impact on your vacation plans
If you are planning to travel to North Carolina, keep in mind that temperature is generally temperate but varies widely with altitude. During the winter months, average temperatures fluctuated in the 1960s near the south coast, where most of the country is just above sea level. As you move north towards the Outer Banks, the temperature can drop as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you head west into the Great Smoky Mountains, the elevation can reach over 5,000 ′ above sea level and you can experience freezing temperatures and even snow during the winter months!
The temperature during the summer months can reach 100 degrees at times, along with the high humidity, so everyone goes to the beaches and pools. If you’re looking for a cooler, less humid environment in the summer, head to the mountainous regions of the west.
Even when you are on the coast, you will feel the sea breezes that help maintain a comfortable temperature at night. In North Carolina, fall begins in late September or early October. If you want to see the leaves change color, head to the mountains where the deciduous trees change from green to yellow and orange. The mountainous regions of North Carolina offer unparalleled hiking opportunities for travelers, and in September these mountains become a roost for monarch butterflies. If you’re a fan of Bottony, the best time to visit is from March to April.
3. Mimosa for breakfast? Think again: it’s NC!
Before adding your favorite alcoholic beverage to your daily routine, read the North Carolina Restrictions List.
- No alcoholic beverages may be sold before 12:30 p.m.
- There are arid and semi-arid counties, which means that no alcohol is served in restaurants. In the old days you could only order one drink per person, so you couldn’t buy your friend a beer if you got one. Fortunately, this rule has recently been relaxed. Breweries also got the right to sell beer, even in non-alcoholic counties.
There are areas where the transport of open alcohol containers is prohibited.
- And for smokers, smoking was banned in bars and restaurants on January 1, 2020. Also, if you are caught smoking in any of these places, you could be fined.
4. Finding hotels in NC is not easy
Finding the perfect accommodation of your choice can often be a real challenge if you haven’t made any plans before you leave. And if you plan to visit in the high season, the task can be even more difficult. It is always best to plan your accommodation well in advance of your arrival. In addition to traditional accommodations, North Carolina also has many practical vacation rentals. When you turn to a qualified and reliable vacation rental service like Carolina Designs, planning your accommodation is hassle-free.
5. NC is uniquely famous for its nightlife
Anyone visiting North Carolina should know that the place is not only known for its beaches or mountain ranges. There are plenty of fun things to do in North Carolina even after the sun has set. And the best part about it? You may not find these in most other places.
Here is a short list of things to do in North Carolina at night.
- Black Light Mine Tour, Emerald Village: Anyone interested in mining will love this place. The tour allows you to closely observe all of the bright colors hidden in the rocks, such as the Hyalite Opal. Please visit the organizer’s official website for more information.
- Meteor Shower: As mentioned in the first section, this is one of the top attractions that will draw tourists from all over the world to NC in 2020. If you like beautiful places to watch the stars, find a secluded spot away from the city lights and lie on your back to witness the wondrous meteor shower and enjoy it in peace. Dates for this year: 11.-13. August 2020 for Perseiden rain with an estimated 50 per hour to NE. The best time to see it is just before sunrise.
- Brown Mountain Lights: The mystery of the mountain’s floating brown lights is still unsolved. However, the vision deserves our attention. Just visit the Brown Mountain Lookout at night and you might be lucky enough to see thick spheres of light floating and jumping between the treetops, only to vanish into thin air.
6. Wrapping Up
Planning your North Carolina vacation can be a daunting task if you are unfamiliar with the state. Hopefully we’ve fixed some of this. Good exploration!