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Carolina Road Trips Directory:
Insider Tips & Itineraries
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hether a local looking for a day or weekend escape, or a visitor searching for another memorable town to explore, road trips are a wonderful way to experience the vast and varied culture of the Carolinas.  

Our growing directory of road trips offers something for everyone - quiet, tucked away haunts as well as award-winning favorites. 

Where do you want to go next? 

Aiken, SC
Asheville, NC
Beaufort, SC
Black Mountain, NC
Blowing Rock, NC
Boone, NC
Brevard, NC
Bryson City, NC and Beyond
Cashiers, NC
Chapel Hill & Pittsboro, NC
Charleston, SC
Charlotte, NC
Columbia, SC
Conway, SC
Currituck Outer Banks, NC
Durham, NC
Fayetteville, NC
Florence, SC
Gaffney, SC
Georgetown, SC
Goldsboro, NC
Greenville, SC
Haywood County, NC
Hendersonville, NC
Hilton Head, SC
Jasper County, SC
Lake Lure, NC
Little River Blueway, SC
Mount Pleasant, SC
Myrtle Beach, SC
New Bern, NC
Newberry, SC
The Olde English District, SC
Palmetto Trail, SC
Pittsboro & Chapel Hill, NC
Raleigh, NC
Savannah, GA
Scenic Byways in SC
Surry County, NC
Upstate SC and Lake Keowee
Waynesville, NC
Wilmington, NC

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Aiken, SC

Aiken is a one-of-a-kind treasure, with so much to see and do that you may find yourself stretching your 36 hours into two or three days.  First, you'll need a place to stay, and although there are many excellent possibilities, The Willcox is a grand old lady who has seen her share of dignitaries as well as romantic interludes. Old-fashioned and graceful, you'll enjoy the common areas of the inn as much as the beautiful guest rooms and impeccable service. How long has it been since you slept on a featherbed? This one is definitely worth a splurge ... read more.

Asheville, NC

So much to do and enjoy in this, one of America’s favorite towns. Start with a hearty breakfast at the Early Girl Eatery. A friend recommends the Early Girl Benny -- Eggs Benedict made with grits cake, tomato gravy and avocado.  Well-fortified and energy-filled, it’s time to consider your day’s options for fun ... read more.

Beaufort, SC

Charming is an overused word, but it really applies to Beaufort – the historic coastal town between tourist behemoths Charleston and Savannah that has attracted its own A-list of devotees.

Consistently called one of America’s best small towns in which to live, there’s history in the old streets and homes, and very modern nearby water sports for every taste and pocketbook.

Add to that great chefs, unique shops, festivals, healthcare, and a superb retirement lifestyle, and you’ve got all the elements for year-round good times. Here are some insider tips to make your road trip a soul-satisfying success. Beaufort.

 

Black Mountain, NC

If you only have 36 hours to spend in the North Carolina mountain village of Black Mountain, you must choose among lots of ways to enjoy yourself. Luckily, it’s all good. Plan to arrive early and plot your strategy to get the most out of this small town, which is only a few short miles from Asheville’s splendors, but has a panache all its own. Start at the circa 1918 restored coffee house ... read more.
 

Blowing Rock and Boone, NC

Summer fades from the Carolinas earliest in the mountains. Hints of the season-to-come arrive in the guise of subtle leaf color changes, cooler evenings and crisp mornings.

Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and near a multitude of activities, Boone is a great base from which to explore the Parkway, Grandfather Mountain, nearby Blowing Rock and so much more. Plan your getaway today. ... read more.
 


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Brevard, NC

We go way back, Brevard and I, starting with Rockbrook Camp for Girls, a cool, inviting mountain camping experience that taught me to ride horses, paddle a canoe, and learn to live in harmony with other 10 year-olds from around the south.

It’s no accident that summer camps flourish around Brevard.

The air, beautiful scenery and appealing culture draw folks who want to live there, and some decide to share the bounty with youngsters (or adults seeking a retreat from daily obligations.)

Others discover or re-discover the area and decide to invest in a getaway that often becomes a family camp, or perhaps a retirement refuge.

Come with us now, and discover more about Brevard. We’ve got insider tips from the locals to help you hop on the fast track to good times in a picture-perfect setting. Read more.
 

Bryson City, NC and Beyond

Bryson City is one perfect location for a Carolina Road Trip. Beautiful in any season, it’s particularly popular in Summer and Fall. There’s so much to do and enjoy, whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, or a family vacation to reconnect.

Consider boating, swimming, fishing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and tubing, as well as shopping, golf, horseback riding, zip lines, hiking, biking, tennis, gem mining, shopping, history tours and mountain top experiences. You’ll be as busy as you want to be.

Join us, as we travel to Western North Carolina and take an outdoorsy, mountain breezy Bryson City Road Trip. .. read more.
 

Cashiers, NC

Expect a first-class chillout when you visit Cashiers, a delightful tiny town in one of the most beautiful areas of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains. Many families have getaways hidden amongst the hills and valleys of this western hamlet that’s just 76 miles from Greenville, SC and 140 miles from Atlanta. If you’ve not visited, here are some tips from those who’ve already blazed a trail  ... read more.
 

Charleston, SC

You’ll have to prioritize, no doubt. Many Southerners consider Charleston our unofficial capital, and certainly THE city that epitomizes Southern hospitality at its best. And what better way to begin your Charleston experience than with breakfast. Here at CarolinaLiving.com, we’re not shy about discussing our favorites. We’ve all enjoyed the Holy City and will again. So, let’s begin with the caveat that we are sharing a small sampling of recommendations. One droll soul suggested that the search for the best Charleston breakfast could be likened to a quest for the impossible dream ... read more.
 

Charlotte, NC

So many choices! This month’s Day Trippin’ is a bit different from most. The sheer size of Charlotte means visitors can have a myriad of experiences, and we’re offering you ideas to start your exploration. Instead of suggesting this bistro for lunch, or that boutique for shopping, we’re offering our best information on spectacular ways to enjoy this great city. During your visit, should you find more great destinations, let us know and we’ll add them to an ever-growing list of what to see and do in Charlotte. For our purposes, let’s take a close look at what can be done over a long weekend or mid-week getaway ... read more.
 

Columbia, SC


If you have only 36 hours in South Carolina’s capital city, you’ll need to narrow down your options. Main Street, Five Points, the Vista and the University are very close together, with lots to do and enjoy in this “Famously Hot – Surprisingly Cool” city ... read more.

 

Conway, SC

There are so many ways to bypass Conway, SC that visitors going to or from the beach might be tempted to avoid this historic town. That, however, would be a terrible mistake, because this little jewel is worth the drive as a destination in itself. For years, Grand Strand visitors have reserved a few hours to explore Conway and its surroundings. We recommend that you carve out at least 36 hours and plan to spend the night  ... read more.



Currituck Outer Banks, NC

Why Currituck and the Outer Banks? The area's filled with history, fun, outdoor entertainment, and lots to do, including miles of sun-drenched beaches and the chance to glimpse a wild Spanish mustang.  Drive to the Outer Banks on Highway 158, cross over the bridge and turn left. Or, reach the Outer Banks via Highway 64 and the Manteo bridge.  You'll feel instantly transported to another world ... read more.

 

Durham, NC

If you only have 36 hours to spend in Durham, you'll have a tough time deciding what to do. For sure, you'll experience only a fraction of what's available in a setting which garners accolades by the dozens. We know you'll dine well in this, America's #1 Foodiest Small Town, according to Bon Appétit.  First things first: accommodations. You can't go wrong with Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, located on the Duke University campus, and featuring its own public golf course. The 300-acre site is lush and the award-winning inn and dining room are sure to pamper and impress ... read more.

 

Fayetteville, NC

Fayetteville is just off the I-95 north-south corridor and makes a great trip for a family heading north or south (or a Carolina family exploring their home turf). Military enthusiasts love this city, which is home to Fort Bragg and the Army’s Airborne and Special Operation Forces. It’s patriotic, diverse, friendly, and lots of fun, with a definite international flair. With all that in its favor, Fayetteville will offer your family a perfect weekend getaway.  ... read more.

 

Florence

Love History? The Arts? Antiques? We have a road trip that’s calling your name. You may have passed by Florence traveling down I-95 toward Florida. Or, perhaps you went through or near it on your way to the Grand Strand. If you never stopped for more than fast food, consider returning for 2-3 days. There’s a lot to see and do here.

Gaffney, SC

It's a small town, not too far from Charlotte, that's filled with history, charm, shopping and friendly people.  Today, it's attracting folks from all over who think it's got everything going for it. Plan your visit today. First, you’ll need a room. There are many fine hotels in the area, including the Jameson Inn, which comes highly recommended on Trip Advisor. The Jameson Inn in Gaffney offers clean, comfortable rooms within walking distance of a number of restaurants. It’s rated #1 on Trip Advisor and for good reason. The pool area is inviting – perfect for relaxing after a day of exploration, or to amuse little ones. ... read more.



Georgetown, SC

This is one Lowcountry town with charm to spare. With Charleston to the south and Myrtle Beach to the north, it might be easy to overlook this coastal gem – but don’t.

There’s history, tragic love stories, political intrigue, great shopping and fabulous seafood. Wander the waterfront, or hop in the car and visit nearby plantations. From morning to night, you’ll have a world of adventures and a lifetime of memories in the making. Discover more.
 

Goldsboro

Planning a trip to the land of pigs, pickles, and planes? You’ll find that and so much more as part of the culture of Goldsboro, a small town that’s easily accessible and full of charm. Some people find Goldsboro on their way to the North Carolina beaches. Others discover it from friends, family, or simply exploring the area. We’ll save you some time and share insider tips on Goldsboro and Wayne County. You’ll want to consider adding several days to your travels to enjoy good times and great experiences here. What to see and do, where to dine, plus insider tips about Goldsboro.

Greenville, SC

A stay in Downtown Greenville, SC, is reminiscent of a visit to your favorite little European town, with rambling, wide sidewalks, outdoor cafés and dining on every corner, city parks for people-watching, and unique, locally-owned shops and galleries that beg for exploration. With only 36 hours in this foothills gem, you are in for a treat as you wander the tree-lined, city streets … read more.

 


Haywood County - Waynesville, NC

Haywood County is full of ways to have a good time. Outdoor enthusiasts (from snow skiing to fishing, biking and more) have options available all year. Shoppers will love the quaint Main Street of Waynesville, and history lovers will find much of historical interest. Foodies? You are guaranteed good times.

First, applause to the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority. Those folks have done their homework and you reap all the benefits. So we’ll get you started, but by all means, turn to them for expert assistance. Read more.

Hendersonville, NC

Hendersonville includes a great combination of old-timers and newcomers, and everyone is friendly and welcoming.

Usually, we seek out one B&B that receives great reviews from friends and insiders, but this town has several charming inns, plus lots more accommodations, so to begin this road trip, you’ll have no problem finding perfect accommodations.

Here are three of many possibilities:

The historic Melange Bed and Breakfast Inn is conveniently located very near to downtown Hendersonville’s Historic Main Street. It’s a popular destination for weddings so make reservations early. Its secluded gardens, magnificent and inviting main rooms, and beautifully appointed guest rooms attract return visits and splendid reviews.

The Bed and Breakfast on Tiffany Hill is another excellent choice and has been noticed by Southern Living, CNN and Money. The property has six acres for wandering and a secret garden. It’s a destination in itself for folks who want to relax and restore.

The 1898 Waverly Inn is another historic property in downtown Hendersonville. It’s been a fixture in the area for years and has its own group of devotees who wouldn’t think of going anywhere else. (Their spa might be one attraction, so consider some serious downtime pampering when you go.)

Hendersonville is one of those in-the-middle-of-everything mountain communities, but there’s plenty going for it at home. We asked around and discovered one newcomer who’s made a business out of finding all kinds of ways to have a good time here… read more.

 

Hilton Head, SC

Yes, it’s been quite a while since this piece of world-class heaven consisted of marsh, sand and dirt roads crisscrossing the interior. Some families now have multiple generations who’ve enjoyed the golf, tennis, beaches and bike trails. Others have become devotees of one of the top-drawer resorts that flourish on the Island. Still others have built magnificent homes for getaways and ultimate retirement retreats.

If you haven’t visited recently, it’s time to consider a return. The good stuff is still here, of course, but more restaurants, shops and resorts have joined the classic offerings. Tennis is enjoying a renaissance here, and golf continues to be the perfect way to spend a few hours in a climate that begs for outdoor living.

Are you ready to take a new look at Hilton Head Island? We thought so. We’ve got insider’s tips and we’re ready to share. Hilton Head Island.


Jasper County, SC

You’ve probably driven through Jasper County a dozen times or more – always on your way to somewhere like Savannah, Hilton Head Island, Beaufort, Charleston, or perhaps to and from Florida. When you’re planning your next getaway, consider Jasper County as a destination in itself, where you can step away from the fast-paced world and enjoy a slower, more relaxing pace (and a comfortable respite during longer travels). With fewer than 24,000 residents in an area of almost700 square miles, there’s a distinctly rural feel to the southernmost county in SC, and that’s a good thing to longtime residents, recent transplants and folks searching for a laid-back vacation. Will this be a perfect getaway for you and yours? Find out here.

Lake Lure

It’s not only because the climate is particularly magnificent, the lake pristine, or the scenery drop-dead gorgeous. It’s not even because one of the area’s most beautiful natural attractions overlooks the entire region. The entire package is the appeal here. And for generations, Carolinians have treasured Lake Lure and everything it offers. Discover more.


Little River Blueway, SC

This isn’t a road trip exactly – although it certainly can be enjoyed via your vehicle. The Little River Blueway, near Lake Thurmond and McCormick, SC is a paddle lover’s paradise – as well as a rural retreat that offers miles upon miles of walking, hiking and biking trails in addition to 51 miles of diverse and scenic water trails.

Those who are a bit less athletic can enjoy the beauty from a rented pontoon boat, or perhaps a kayak or canoe.

Sure people live here – Savannah Lakes Village is known for its perfect positioning along Lake Thurmond. But for more urban dwellers who are rejuvenated by the outdoors, this is a destination that will delight you and bring you back for more. ... read more.


Mount Pleasant, SC

Why spend a day or two exploring Mount Pleasant when the glories of Charleston are just across the bridge? Because, as wonderful as Charleston is, with its many opportunities for fine dining and fabulous shopping, Mount Pleasant has a charm all its own ... read more.
 

Myrtle Beach, SC

Ah, the Grand Strand. One of America’s favorite playgrounds, and for so many reasons. The golf courses are legendary. The wide, sandy beaches are sublime.

Seafood restaurants are packed and live music fills the summer air as happy locals and vacationing couples shag the night away to beach music. The fishing boats head out each morning, and jet skis zoom along the Intracoastal Waterway.

For many, the lure of the Grand Strand has become too strong to resist, and families have retired or resettled here for good. Others still earmark a favorite date, and perhaps an old-fashioned beach house and bring family and friends down to the beach for a week or two of good food, good times and great memories. Read more.

 


New Bern, NC

You’ll find plenty of ways to amuse little ones, history lovers, sports enthusiasts and shop-til-you-droppers. Unlike many destinations which seem to specialize in attracting visitors with certain interests, New Bern has it all, beginning with an appealing downtown and unique attractions. Celebrating their 300th anniversary in 2010, New Bern has even more than its usual delightful fare, beginning with the bears ... read more.



Newberry, SC

Got just 36 hours in Newberry, SC?  Consider these FUN-filled possibilities. Why Newberry? Simply put, it’s a little, accessible gem that’s Southern to its core, and we mean that in a good way. Drive to Newberry on I-26.  It’s about 45 minutes west of Columbia, and about an hour east of Greenville. Once you arrive, choose your accommodation. We suggest the DeWalt House, an elegant home built in 1832 and extensively renovated. You’ll feel as if Scarlet O’Hara will be rounding the corner at any minute ... read more. 
 

The Olde English District, SC

Imagine traveling south from Charlotte, NC to Columbia, SC. Interstate 77 is the most direct route from one big city to the other and you can make the trip by car in less than 90 minutes, but why rush? Positioned on either side of the Interstate, The Olde English District encompasses seven counties in the geographical center of SC. You can fly into Columbia or Charlotte, or simply make a 36-hour driving detour on your way to the Grand Strand, or the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Olde English District is named for its abundance of English settlers and towns with English names (York, Lancaster, Chester, Chesterfield, etc.), and the number of battles fought here during the Revolutionary War.

History and military enthusiasts will love the area, but antiques lovers will be equally enthralled.
And for outdoor recreation, it can’t be beat. For all those reasons and many
more which can be found in their 116 page visitors’ brochure, the team at
CarolinaLiving.com is offering a few tantalizing reasons why you should consider a 36-hour getaway in the Olde English District of South Carolina. Read more.
 

Palmetto Trail in South Carolina

Ask folks why they move to the Carolinas and you often get geography as a response. Close to mountains, ocean, rivers, forests and varied terrain. That's why we're featuring the Palmetto Trail as a road trip worthy of your time.

 We've chosen four distinct passages to showcase the variety found here. From entry points to expert tips and recommended lodging and restaurants, this is a road trip for those who understand that slow is the way to see the world more clearly. Enjoy! … read more. 
 

Pittsboro & Chapel Hill

In the heart of North Carolina in Pittsboro and environs, there are wineries, historical sites, artist’s galleries and fabulous restaurants, not to mention Chapel Hill, where the University of North Carolina is revered as one of the best universities in the world. Reservations are important here, because there’s so much going on year round! Despite its proximity to a university town, Pittsboro is a refreshing change of pace. If you plan carefully, you can enjoy lovely rolling countryside, quirky and elegant shops and galleries, world-class food and events from a major university – all in one long, lovely getaway. Plan a visit, soon.

Raleigh, NC

It’s a college town and the state capital, but beyond those admittedly appealing characteristics Raleigh has an appealing vibe for all ages and interests. First, you’ll need a bed for the night. With our fondness for charming inns and B&Bs, we could look no further than Cameron Park Inn B&B. Located in a great, walkable neighborhood, visitors wax positively euphoric over the inn’s décor, cuisine, inn-dog Beanie and innkeepers, Nikki and Jon … read more. 

Savannah, GA

Thank you, James Oglethorpe.

It was his genius plan to lay out Savannah with multiple parks and green space that is largely responsible for the city’s enduring charm and ongoing appeal for residents as well as visitors.

Savannah is a destination that offers something for every taste and interest. It hasn’t gone un-noticed.

Visitors from everywhere enjoy amenities that range from historical, to recreational, to gustatory. You will not be disappointed. Discover more.

South Carolina’s National Scenic Byways

by Grace Nelson, Staff Writer, SC National Heritage Corridor

It’s reaching that time of year again. Mother Nature is offering us respite from the humidity and the leaves are slowly beginning to crisp with radiant color, signaling that it’s now the perfect time for a fall road trip in South Carolina.

There are a few routes we have in mind, all of which will lead you to experience breathtaking views, diverse landscapes, intriguing history, and plenty of adventure.

There are only four roads in South Carolina that have the honored distinction of being called National Scenic Byways. By definition, they are roads recognized by the United States Department of Transportation for having archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic intrinsic qualities. Here’s a breakdown of each byway and some of the must-see stops along the way during this fall season.

Discover more.

 

Surry County, NC

We’ve long known that Surry County has much to offer visitors, starting with great vineyards. But there’s so much more to this section of North Carolina, up near the Virginia border. Art galleries, charming small towns, wonderful recreation, shopping, entertainment – you get the picture.

First, accommodations. Here are a few recommendations.

Rockford Inn B&B is lovely. Imagine an inn in the country, with peace and privacy, a comfortable bed, pleasant surroundings steeped in history, great breakfasts – it’s all there. The Inn is nestled in the historic Village of Rockford, with four wineries within five minutes and located in the center of the Yadkin Valley Wine Region.

Pilot Knob B&B is situated on the eastern slope of Pilot Mountain, North Carolina, nestled in a wooded landscape. You’ll stay in one of their individual log cabins, designed to provide you with the rustic charm of yesteryear along with the comforts we enjoy today – comfortable (with whirlpools) despite being converted from old tobacco barns. It’s also along the Yadkin Valley Wine Region.

Sobotta Manor B&B is nestled in the heart of the Yadkin Valley Wine Region, just minutes from many of North Carolina’s finest wineries and the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Inn is located in the center of historic downtown Mount Airy, within walking distance to restaurants and shops.

There are cabins available for rent at a number of vineyards, including Elkin Creek Vineyard, Grassy Creek and White Sulphur Springs.

So what’s your pleasure? Downtown? Rural? Cabins at the vineyard?
Any of these will leave you perfectly positioned for a fun-filled getaway.
Safely accommodated, there’s fun to be had.  Read more. 

 

Upstate SC and Lake Keowee

Upstate South Carolina is filled with beautiful scenery, rolling hills and mountains, small historic towns and big-city excitement. It’s a perfect destination for a Carolina Road Trip, and to help us find the best of the area, we turned to Mike and Nancy Kennedy. No longer newcomers, they’re still finding new areas to visit, and fun activities to embrace.

“The two of us had slightly different criteria in mind when we began to explore where to retire,” Mike Kennedy explained as we spoke with him and his wife, Nancy, from their home at The Reserve at Lake Keowee.

“I was interested in being able to play golf 12 months a year. Nancy wanted an outdoors lifestyle, particularly hiking and biking.”

Read more  about the Kennedys and their upstate adventures.

Wilmington

Navigate from river to the sea, past stately antebellum homes, and next to repurposed warehouses that now showcase unique shops and galleries. Spend the night in an elegant B&B, on board a luxurious boat, or in an ocean front resort. Eat the freshest of seafood, or perhaps award-winning fusion cuisine prepared by a chef who sharpened his knives with the European masters. Enjoy live performances at historic venues, or rocking nightclubs. Sit, sip and embrace the sunset. Wilmington is one picture-perfect destination for a vacation, which, for many, has led to more permanent moorings. Join us, as we share insider tips from friends, experts and regular folks who’ve found this little piece of paradise worth crowing about. Discover more.

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