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North Carolina Highlights Cities, Mountains and Coast

15 nights

Bordered by the Appalachian Mountains in the west to the sandy barrier islands along the Atlantic Coast to the east, North Carolina is host to amazing scenery, a rich history as one of the English Thirteen Colonies that formed the early United States. This fly drive will take you not only through the contrasting environments in the state but also around the history and current culture of this thriving region.

The Breakdown

Here's a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by adding them to your wishlist, so we can give you the best price.

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Day 1

Charlotte

As the largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte has plenty to do and see as you settle in to the...

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Day 3

Charlotte to Asheville

Collect your car from downtown Charlotte and drive to Asheville. On the way you should stop at La...

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Day 6

Asheville to Winston-Salem

Leave the glorious Smoky Mountains behind as you make your way from Asheville to the charming cob...

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Day 7

Winston-Salem to Fearrington

It is only a short drive today towards Raleigh, the State capital. However, we suggest you stay a...

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Day 9

Fearrington to Outer Banks

It's time now to head for the North Carolina coast, along with the islands that make up the Outer...

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Day 12

Outer Banks to Wilmington

Depart the Outer Banks heading south to Wilmington. If you would like to enjoy the scenic road al...

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Day 13

Wilmington to Charleston

Your final stop on this fly-drive holiday through North Carolina takes you into South Carolina an...

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Day 16

Charleston

Time to bid farewell to the Carolinas and make your way home, or possibly onward to your next adv...

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Day 1

Charlotte

As the largest city in North Carolina, Charlotte has plenty to do and see as you settle in to the unique rhythms of America's South. Be sure to visit the Levine Museum of the New South, the Mint Museum of Art and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Petrolheads will enjoy a ride around the track at the Charlotte Motor Speedway or for more excitement perhaps a visit to the US Whitewater Centre and raft the world's largest man-made whitewater river. For some relaxation, the 400 acres of Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, named on of America's 20 Great Gardens, will offer a wide range of beautiful space to explore at your leisure.

2 nights in Charlotte

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Day 3

Charlotte to Asheville

Collect your car from downtown Charlotte and drive to Asheville. On the way you should stop at Lake Lure to visit Chimney Rock State Park, film site of Last of the Mohicans and the famous 'Lake Lift' scene from Dirty Dancing. You might like to ride the 26-storey elevator through sheer granite that takes you to breathtaking 120 kilometre views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

You will have two full days to explore the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Asheville itself is a thriving arts community with numerous historic and architectural attractions topped off by the Biltmore Estate, America's largest home in the USA. Completed by George Vanderbilt in 1895, Biltmore House has 250 rooms as well as 8000 acres of gardens and vineyards.

You are also near the Cherokee Heritage Centre where you can learn about the life of the Cherokee Heritage Centre where you can learn about the life of the Cherokee Indian during the time of the Cherokee Nation and their removal along the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma.

The great outdoors is all here for the exploring too with whitewater rafting, kayaking, zipping and mountain biking all available. One highlight is Sliding Rock, a natural slide on Looking Glass Creek in the Pisgah National Forest. About 18 metres long, it has a gentle slope ending in a large, deep pool at the bottom.

3 nights in Asheville

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Day 6

Asheville to Winston-Salem

Leave the glorious Smoky Mountains behind as you make your way from Asheville to the charming cobblestoned Winston-Salem. Your drive will take you along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway; stop at Blowing Rock for stunning views and then continue on this famous highway for views of Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak on the Blue Ridge. Take the time to enjoy Old Salem Museums & Gardens as well as the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.

1 night in Winston-Salem

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Day 7

Winston-Salem to Fearrington

It is only a short drive today towards Raleigh, the State capital. However, we suggest you stay at Fearrington as a wonderful base from which to explore Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham where the Civil War ended at the Bennett Historic Site. You might also like to visit The Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield or Brightleaf Square with its old brick tobacco warehouses.

2 nights in Fearrington

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Day 9

Fearrington to Outer Banks

It's time now to head for the North Carolina coast, along with the islands that make up the Outer Banks region of North Carolina. This area is home to some of the most undeveloped seashore in the United States where along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore you will find the tallest lighthouse in North America. While here visit Kitty Hawk, home of the Wright Brothers memorial where the first powered flight took place and where you can try your hand at hang gliding on the giant sand dunes at Jockey's Ridge State Park in Nags Head. Explore by kayak the shallow flats and backwaters of Hatteras Island in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge where hundreds of species of birds nest and feed throughout the year. Also worth a visit is the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and learn about the 1000s of shipwrecks offshore including the U.S.S. Monitor and World War II submarines, as well as the stories of the infamous pirates who operated in the area such as Blackbeard.

3 nights in the Outer Banks

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Day 12

Outer Banks to Wilmington

Depart the Outer Banks heading south to Wilmington. If you would like to enjoy the scenic road along the Outer Banks be aware this is a very slow road connected by ferries and will take around 9 hours. You may like to break up this journey with stops in Ocracoke or Hatteras to enjoy the coastal vistas that make this route so lovely, or head inland for a shorter drive of a bit over 4 hours. Whichever way you go, if you love mystery and folk lore take time to stop at Roanoke Island as you leave the area and learn about the mysterious 'Lost Colony'. In 1587 a group of 120 men and women bravely sailed over from England and established a colony on Roanoke Island. The island life proved difficult and they became low on much needed supplies, so the Governor sent John White back to England in the summer of 1587. However, due to war he was unable to return until 1590. When he did arrive, the entire colony had vanished. The fate of these people was never discovered, although there are some interesting theories.

Wilmington is often referred to as 'Hollywood East' or 'Wilmywood' because North Carolina ranks among the top states for US film production and Wilmington is a popular filming destination. Since 1983, when Dino De Laurentiis brought the movie Firestarter to the region, more than 400 projects have filmed in the Wilmington region. You can take a weekend tour of EUE Screen Gems Studios, or the Hollywood Location Walk provides a walking tour of downtown movie locations.

1 night in Wilmington

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Day 13

Wilmington to Charleston

Your final stop on this fly-drive holiday through North Carolina takes you into South Carolina and the glorious city of Charleston. We suggest you keep the car for at least one day so that you can explore some of the plantation homes on the outskirts, but you will not need it after that as Charleston is very much a walking city. Look around the galleries, the well preserved antebellum homes and the gardens, take a carriage tour and perhaps have dinner on the water to take in the history, hospitality and food of this brilliant city.

3 nights in Charleston

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Day 16

Charleston

Time to bid farewell to the Carolinas and make your way home, or possibly onward to your next adventure!

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The View

A selection of images representing the areas and places you will be visiting to give you a glimpse of what lies in store during your holiday.

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Alternatively, take advantage of the Wishlist facility; simply add this itinerary, or any particular destinations or hotels to My Wishlist by clicking on the ADD TO WISHLIST buttons on all pages. To make it easier to save and change the details on your Wishlist at any time, why not register with us? You can also just send your completed Wishlist to us at any time; we will then contact you to discuss your holiday further and send you a detailed quotation.

 

We are here to make sure we tailor-make your holiday to suit your specific requirements and our friendly, knowledgeable staff are all ready to help.

 

Booking your holiday with us doesn't end when we send your confirmation out to you, either. Talk to us about adding excursions or room upgrades or even restaurant recommendations; we are here to offer advice all the way up to your departure date. Even when you have left the UK, we are still here to help. For example if your flight that we have booked is delayed or cancelled due to ash cloud, strike, etc, it is down to us to re-arrange your travel. We will do everything we can to make sure your holiday runs smoothly. And better still, we are fully bonded with ATOL and ABTA, so your money is completely protected.

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This suggested itinerary is our recommendation but can be tailored to match your wishes and needs

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