Post updated in 2019

I've said for a long time that North Carolina has a lot going for it. We have the mountains, the coast, vineyards, golf courses, history, delicious food, and diverse culture. We well maintained highways with well-equipped rest areas. In my opinion, North Carolina has some of the best rest areas in the U.S.  There are areas for dogs to walk, ample parking for cars and recreational vehicles (RVs).

In 2019, WalletHub named North Carolina as the best state for a summer road trip, up from the 4th place spot in 2017.  With road warriors in mind, WalletHub compared the 50 U.S. states based on 33 key metrics to find the most fun, scenic, and wallet-friendly road-trip destinations — plus those that’ll have travelers pulling a quick U-turn.  Each year, we get more restaurants, more attractions, and more people wanting to move to this southern state with Carolina blue skies. 
Source: WalletHub

North Carolina is divided into regions. North Carolinians refer to these regions as the mountains, the piedmont, and the coastal plains. The terrain is different all over the state. We have over 70 public airports. If flying in on an International flight, then Charlotte, N.C, or  Raleigh, N.C. are your best bets for cities to arrive into with the least amount of connecting flights. You can rent a car, or look for an RV rental in North Carolina to use for your road trip.

U.S map

Arriving in Charlotte, known as North Carolina's Queen City, will put you closer to our mountains and piedmont regions. From Charlotte, you about two hours from Asheville, N.C. and the scenic Biltmore Estate. Charlotte has a great amusement park called Carowinds, a professional sports team, NASCAR Hall of Fame Museum and an outdoor rafting center.  It's also close to the quaint town of Salisbury, NC, where the popular drink Cheerwine was invented.

Arriving at  Raleigh-Durham-International airport will bring you closer to our coastal regions and Piedmont. From Raleigh, you can get to Wilmington, N.C. in two hours, the Southern Outer Banks in three hours, the Brunswick beaches in three hours, and the Outer Banks in three and half hours. The towns of Greensboro and Winston-Salem are just over an hour away.  Kitty Hawk is known as the place where the Wright Brothers were first in flight.

Love to relax around vineyards and enjoy wine? Then you may want to visit the Greensboro-Winston-Salem area and visit the Yadkin Valley area vineyards. It's the only area in North Carolina where the soil can grow grapes comparable tho those found on the West Coast and in Europe. This area is producing some award-winning wines.

Love Craft Beer? North Carolina ranks high in craft beer production. You can go just about anywhere in our state and find a local brewery. Asheville, N.C, Charlotte, and the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill areas have the most breweries in a concentrated area, but you will find breweries throughout the state these days.

North Carolina Local Beer Taps

Are you a fan of the PBS show, "A Chef's Life?" then take a road trip to Kinston, N.C. and dine at Vivian Howard's restaurant, "A Chef and A Farmer.".  Reservations are a must, and if you want to go a weekend night, you need to make those reservations several months in advance.

Love history? We have historic sites in almost every town in North Carolina. Raleigh is our state capital.  New Bern, N.C. houses Tryon Place, the former NC Governor's Palace when we were a colony. New Bern is also the site of where the drink Pepsi was created. The waterfront towns of Edenton and Beaufort had pirates walk the streets. We have battlefield sites, and even a museum devoted to actress Ava Gardner, who was born in the North Carolina town of Smithfield.

If you are a golfer, you may want to visit our Sandhills region in Southern Pines, where some may say there are more golf courses than people.  That's not really true, but this terrain is filled with sand, pine trees, and is home to a PGA golf course. Southern Pines is located about 30 minutes from NC Zoo in Asheboro, N.C.  This area is also known for its beautiful pottery in Seagrove, NC.

Ideas for a scenic road trip through North Carolina are endless. I love the mountain town of Blowing Rock, where you can walk across the swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through our North Carolina mountains. You can hop on it near Asheville, N.C, and take it into the Boone area. The Indian reservation, Cherokee, N.C. takes you to the Smoky Mountain National Park. In Franklin, N.C., you can take a scenic rail ride on the Smoky Mountain Railroad.

Map  of North Carolina _Great State to Road Trip

I am not a travel agent, but I know North Carolina well. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Visit my OutaboutNC social community to see where locals like to go, and you can also follow my own Instagram account.

Request your map from NC DOT and start your adventure. Read the places to visit articles on NC and enjoy exploring. VisitNC has a list of accommodations. There are over 300 campgrounds in the state, so we certainly have something for every traveler, adventure style, and budget.  If you are thinking of moving to North Carolina, be sure to watch my YouTube show, The House Stalkers. 

Happy road tripping!

RV on scenic road

My thanks to RVshare for being a November sponsor. To search for the perfect RV for your North Carolina, visit RV rental, North Carolina.  My sponsors keep me at my desk writing editorial content, #OutaboutNC and house stalking on YouTube. 

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