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Road Trip North and South Carolina

Edinburgh, United...
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Road Trip North and South Carolina

We are planning to fly to Atlanta and hire a car for a circular tour of both states, for some 21-24 days. Our initial itinerary is shown below.

Not knowing the area we would greatly appreciate some help and assistance in developing a trip that does justice to both North and South Carolina.

1: Atlanta

2: Savannah

5 Charleston.

6 Wilmington.

7: Edenton,

8 : Raleigh

9 Wiston-Salem

10: Ashville - visit Biltmore.

11: Drive on Blue Ridge Parkway

12: Charlotte

13: Atlanta

Norma & Stewart

Winston-Salem, NC
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250 posts
32 reviews
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1. Re: Road Trip North and South Carolina

As an initial suggestion after glancing at your proposed itinerary, I'd recommend that you consider shortening it a little. 13 stops in 21 days is a lot of driving and a few of the stops on your list merit more than just a day's whirlwind tour. Also, a few of your proposed stops overlap a little bit in terms of the overall experience.

For instance, Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington all offer a very similar experience-coastal port towns steeped in antebellum flavor. To "soak in" the full flavor of Charleston itself really takes a visit of 2-3 days imo. As between those 3 I by far prefer Charleston myself, so I'd recommend cutting out Savannah and lengthening your stay in Charleston to at least 2 full days. Other folks would disagree with me as between the Charleston/Savannah choice, obviously.

You could also consider deleting Wilmington from your itinerary but I think it fits more smoothly on a proposed east-west NC trip. Heading up to Wilmington via 17 would also give you the opportunity to catch a little flavor of Myrtle Beach on the way, though whether that's a good thing is certainly debatable.

I'd also consider assigning 2 full days to Asheville and the surrounding areas. Imo, less is more when you're traveling, but your traveling tastes may differ, so I just thought I'd make those observations.

Honestly, I'd also consider deleting Edenton from the list if you were including it for the historical sites of interest. There are certainly some sites of historical interest there but imo you will have already gotten a pretty good flavor of the antebellum and colonial periods from Charleston and Wilmington, and to be honest there's not really much else out there if you're not going all the way out to the Outer Banks. It's kind of a 7-8 hr diversion out of the way, for not that much payoff imo.

Not to mention the drive all the way back to Raleigh from there is dreadfully boring-once you get inland, down east NC is pretty dull driving. Check that, inland down east NC is pretty dull period, heh.

If you're going to make a stop in Winston-Salem, 2 things to consider doing while there are visiting Old Salem and doing a day tour of Yadkin Valley wineries. Depending on where you want to hook onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, you could also head north from Winston-Salem on 421 to the Boone area and hook on to the Parkway from there (or heck, you could hook onto it even earlier if you wanted, heading northward from Winston-Salem up around Fancy Gap, VA) rather than driving farther westward on I-40 before hooking onto the Parkway. It'd definitely be more scenic that way.

There are several areas near Asheville that you might want to visit on your way back down to Charlotte. Saluda is a quaint little mountain town off I-26, and the Lake Lure/Chimney Rock area is also quite nice and not too far off an I-26/Hwy 74 route to Charlotte from Asheville. Brevard is also a nice area near Asheville, not far off the 26-74 route you'll probably take over to Charlotte.

One thing you'll definitely have an opportunity to experience on your itinerary is both versions of NC pork bbq. NC is noted for having 2 pork bbq styles, eastern and western, and you'll be passing through areas that serve them. If I had to say which one you should try if you could only try one I'd say go western, but then I'm biased. ;-)

Edited: 04 March 2011, 23:40
Macon, Georgia
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2. Re: Road Trip North and South Carolina

I agree with a lot of what EPI said. I would also skip eastern North Carolina. It would be just too much driving with not that much to see. Here is the way I would spend my days.

1. 2 Days in Atlanta.

2. 3 Days in Savannah.

3. 3 Days in Charleston.

4. 4 Days in Asheville NC. You can go east or west on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Asheville.

5. 5-7 Days in Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge Tennessee. Rent a cabin here, try vrbo.com for cabins. Visit Dollywood and spend lots of time in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.

6. 2 Days in Chattanooga Tennessee.

7. Easy 2 hour drive back to the airport in Atlanta.

Edited: 05 March 2011, 04:03
Virginia
Destination Expert
for Virginia Beach
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6,829 posts
15 reviews
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3. Re: Road Trip North and South Carolina

Oh, wonderful. A sort of Spanish moss to mountains tour. Ideal. And you have a good long time...not quite 3 months [:)] but workable. I wonder if you could put Beaufort, SC in there as well.

Bracknell, United...
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4. Re: Road Trip North and South Carolina

We too are planning a Fall touring holiday on a round trip from/to Atlanta to include a few days on the Parkway up north as far as Boone, and then east to the coast , maybe to Wilmington, definitely to Charleston, ending up in the Savannah region. Regretfully we only have 15 nights. Great advice here, but would be grateful if some could be given for a 4/5 night stay down at the coast - we are looking for a low rise/non chain hotel beach village atmosphere with good quality restaurants - either to stay in a small/boutique hotel or upmarket B&B - need some buzz/atmosphere rather than a sleepy/shut by 9pm area - but not shopping malls and T shirt shops ! St Simons Island seems to fit the bill, but I'm sure there will be other areas that would also suit us. Reading the advice, seems the drive back to Atlanta may be boring - so perhaps hit it in one day - our flight departs 9.15pm . I'm used to driving distances in the USA - primarily in California, Utah and Nevada.

Mississippi
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12,999 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: Road Trip North and South Carolina

I second Popsoda. I would head to Savannah, GA for 2 nights and then head N to Charleston. Have lunch in Beaufort, SC or spend a night there would be even better. You can visit Middleton Place and Drayton Hll on your way to Charleston. Stay in the HD for 3 nights and head N to Asheville, NC. Skip Eastern NC. Visit the Blue Ridge Parkway and head S to Gatlingburg/Pigeon Forge for 4/5 days. Head S to Chattanooga for 2 nights and get on back to Atlanta to catch your plane home. Good luck.

Edinburgh, United...
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6. Re: Road Trip North and South Carolina

Thanks for the information and ideas. We are going as far as Edenton as we have a family relative living there and no-one from the UK has yet met. Will composite the advice into a final route plan and on our return post you with highlights of our trip.

Norma & Stewart

7. Re: Road Trip North and South Carolina

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