North Carolina Road Trip Stops
North Carolina is the 28th largest State in the US, yet it’s the 9th most populous. The state borders Virginia and the Atlantic Ocean.
But that’s not what brings people to the state.
North Carolina has so many road trip stops that many people don’t know about, and in this article, I wanted to introduce you to some.
Where To Stop On Your Road Trip In North Carolina
The Tar Heel State isn’t a place that runs through people's minds when thinking about taking a road trip.
The thing is:
It offers so much more than people think, from stunning mountain ranges to beautiful coastlines and so much more.
Take a look at a few of our favorite places:
Hanging Rock State Park
If there’s one National Park that really stands out for its beauty, it’s the Hanging Rock State Park. You’ll find the State Park in Stokes County, which provides one hell of an excellent experience.
The park provides users with over 20 miles of hiking trails that gradually climb to unveil spectacular countryside views and stunning streams.
But that’s not everything it provides:
You’ll have access to around 70 campgrounds, lakes primed for swimming and canoeing, and plenty of rock climbing opportunities for the traditional outdoor lover. But I guess the bit that really stands out is the hanging rock photo opportunity.
Biltmore House is a Chateauesque-style mansion that was built between 1889 and 1895 for George Washington Vanderbilt II. It’s known as the largest privately owned house in the United States, and it looks stunning.
The house itself is 178,926 sq feet, which sounds big now, but you'll be left speechless when you’re there in person.
One of the best things about the Biltmore Estate is there's no wrong time to visit the place. During the summer and spring, the gardens' flowers are in full bloom. During winter, you’ll be able to see the decorations, and in autumn, you can see some stunning foliage.
Outer Banks National Scenic Byway
While in North Carolina, you might want to spend some time on Bodie and Hatteras islands. And while you could take a ferry to go and see them, it would be a crime not to drive across the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway.
The Outer Banks Byway starts at the Whalebone Junction by joining the US 64-264, US 158, and NC12 in Nags Head.
Taking the traverses gives you an epic opportunity to experience the nation's more exciting scenic coastal landscapes that introduces you to 21 coastal villages.
Blue Ridge Parkway
If there’s one drive that really stands out in the US other than Route 66, It has to be the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway is home to America’s longest linear park, which runs 469 miles through stunning scenery.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most popular National Park systems and has been named “America's Favorite Drive.”
One of the great things about the Parkway is it offers people stunning vistas, cycling, and hiking opportunities that you can enjoy.
Wright Brothers National Memorial
While on your road trip, you might want to stop at where the brothers dreamed about taking flight.
This is the place where the Wright Brothers tested their first flight after four years of scientific experimentation.
You’ll find the memorial at Kill Devil Hills, and it marked the point of the world's first controlled powered flight on December 17, 1903.
While walking around the visitor center, you’ll be able to wonder at the full-scale reproductions of the Powered Flyer that saw the Wright Brothers take flight. They also included replica camp buildings and a 60-foot granite monument on top of Big Kill Devil Hill.
The Sliding Rock is a stunning waterfall in Western North Carolina and is an excellent place for people looking to cool off.
It’s located near Brevard, and it’s a place where people can slide down the gradually sloped 60ft waterfall before dunking into the pool below.
The rock has been used as a natural waterslide for many moons, bringing adventure tourists to the location to cool off during the summer. The entry to Sliding Rock costs $2 per person between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends when lifeguards are on duty.
Elijah Mountain Gem Mine
The Elijah Mountain Gem Mine has been voted the best mining experience in North Carolina for many years, and it’s easy to see why.
While you’re there, you’ll take a step back in time to become a prospector from the 1800s to mine for gemstones and gold that you actually get to keep.
The mine will give you everything you need to discover and find gems successfully. You’ll have the opportunity to find things like Rubies, Emeralds, Citrine, Peacock Copper, and much more.
Bodie Island Lighthouse
I spoke earlier about taking a trip to Bodie Island using the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, but there’s a place you should check out while you’re there.
The Bodie Island Lighthouse is the third that has stood in the area and was built in 1872. The lighthouse stands 156 feet tall and can be found on the peninsula's south side.
It’s set in a beautiful marshland with a wooden bridge leading the way to the lighthouse, which provides a picturesque setting.
The Sarah P.Duke Gardens
The Sarah P.Duke Gardens is an unforgettable day out with the family. It features approximately 55 acres of landscaped wooded areas for people to explore.
More than 600,000 people come from all over the world to come and visit Sarah P.Duke's gardens, and it’s easy to see why.
Its gardens include five miles of allees, walks, and paths for you to explore and admire the exquisite scenery.
Final Thoughts & Takeaways
North Carolina might not be the first state that crosses people's minds when planning a road trip, but it should be.
The state provides access to some beautiful landscapes you can’t find anywhere else in the world, so it’s definitely worth visiting.
Road Trips > Cross Country Road Trip > North Carolina Road Trip Stops
About the Author
Jason Fox: Four years ago, I decided to quit my job as a chef to travel the world and see where life took me. The skills I learned while traveling led me to become a freelance writer so I could share my experiences with the world. Since then, I've been traveling the world working as a digital nomad. Find me on Instagram.