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2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

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2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

Hi- Our son will be attending a camp in Raleigh for two weeks in july.

So my husband and I thought we would take the 2 weeks and spend some time in NC- we have never been there. But where to begin?

I'd like some beach time; he'd like some mountain time -- we both are pretty adventurous, but also wouldn't mind relaxing a bit.

Thanks!

Clemmons, North...
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1. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

Hi,

2 weeks is plenty of time to enjoy both the mountains and the beach, and a whole lot more if you want. Just to give you some general parameters to work with:

As you probably know already, Raleigh is roughly in the middle of the state. It's less than 2 hours to the beach, and about 3 hours to the mountains. So you can drop off your kid and go to the beach for a few days, then drive back across the state to the mountains (or reverse the trip and do the mountains first, whatever you prefer).

For the beaches, there are lots of great beaches to choose. As a first-time visitor, I'd recommend one of two areas--either the Outer Banks, or one of the Wilmington-area beaches (Wrightsville, Carolina, Kure beaches). The Outer Banks is steeped in history, with lots of interesting sites like the Wright Bros. Memorial, lighthouses, Manteo/Roanoke Island, etc. There are miles and miles of undeveloped beach, and numerous small fishing villages sprinkled among the more developed areas. If you do the Outer Banks, I'd suggest a night or two in the Nags Head/Kitty Hawk area, then drive south, take the ferry to Ocracoke Island, and spend a night or two there (very relaxing!). Here's a link with all the info: http://www.outerbanks.org/

The Wilmington area beaches should also be high on your list. The beach itself is better (IMO) than the Outer Banks--the OB water tends to be cooler and rougher, and the sand is rough on the feet. The Wilmington area beaches offer wide, soft sand beaches and the water is usually warm and inviting during the summer. The city of Wilmington and surrounding area also offers a lot of non-beach activities, like the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial, NC Aquarium, the riverfront shopping district, and a number of good restaurants. Here's a link with more (scroll to bottom for links to individual beaches): http://wilmington.insiderinfo.us/#

In the mountains, there's an incredible array of things to see, outdoor activities like hiking, rafting, biking, etc., and literally dozens of quaint mountains towns that are just great to visit. For a first-timer I'd recommend two places--Asheville and Boone/Blowing Rock. The Blue Ridge Parkway connects the two, so from Raleigh you can take I-40/US 421 to Boone/Blowing Rock, spend a few days, then take a day to drive the BRP towards Asheville (taking in the numerous stops and scenic overlooks along the way). You could spend a few days in the Asheville area, then head back towards Raleigh on I-40. Winston-Salem is about half-way, and it's worth a stop at Old Salem, the original 18th-century Moravian settlement. Here are some links:

http://www.highcountryhost.com/

http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/

http://www.exploreasheville.com/index.aspx

http://www.oldsalem.org/

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask more questions as you plan your trip--we'll be happy to help.

Tennessee
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2. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

The Blowing Rock/ Boone area is a favorite mountain retreat. The air is cooler, the sights are amazing and there are many diversified activities. Blowing Rock is a quaint, charming village- town with much to offer. There are good restaurants, interesting shopping and the area can provide you busy days or time-out days. It makes a good combination with Asheville. A 2.5 hour drive on the BRP.

There is also Art in the Park, once a month, usually the middle weekend. The artisans offer both beautiful and creative art works.

If you are interested in wine, there is the Yadkin Valley. This area could be worked into your itinerary either coming or going. There is actually the North Carolina Wine Road and several of the wineries are worth the stop. One in particular is Shelton Winery. You can tour the winery, enjoy the beautiful scenery, wine tastings, have lunch on the veranda of the Harvest Grill and overlook the vineyards. A most enjoyable visit. There are several other choices along the way also.

I offer these websites to you for suggestions.

www.blueridgeparkway.org

www.grandfather.com

www.mastgeneralstore.com

www.southernhighlandguild.org

www.visitboonenc.com

www.mountainsofnc.com

www.blowingrock.com

www.visitnc.com

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3. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

It has been awhile --but we are finally getting around to finalizing our trip. Thus far, it looks like this:

arrive in Charlotte -- overnight and take son to camp

leave Charlotte and spend 2 nights in Kill Devil Hills

then on to Ocarocke Island for 3 nights

then 6 nights in Henderson ( less xpensive than Ashville)

return to Charlotte and home to salt lake.

how does this strike you all?

Winston-Salem, NC
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4. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

Your son's camp is in Charlotte? If it is, you could shave some driving time by taking the mountain portion of your vacation first.

It's a circuitous route no matter which way you go though, given that you're doing both beach and mountain stops in your trip.

If you stick with your original itinerary you might consider breaking up the drive back from the beach with a stop in Yadkin Valley wine country for some winery tours (if you're wine fans, that is), then jumping onto the Blue Ridge Parkway as you head toward Asheville/Hendersonville.

Hendersonville isn't a bad spot from which to anchor the mountain portion of your vacation. You can easily do day trips to Asheville, Pisgah National Forest and Lake Lure from there.

EDIT: I see now your son's camp is in Raleigh. Why not fly into Raleigh? Is the fare difference that great?

Edited: 01 June 2011, 14:32
Clemmons, North...
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5. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

One quibble--Hendersonville is a great place to visit, but if it were me I wouldn't stay there 6 nights. While it's definitely in the mountains, it sits pretty much on the edge of the range with an elevation of around 2000 feet. I'd prefer to be a little higher, like Blowing Rock or Banner Elk where the elevation is closer to 4000 feet. Also, Hendersonville is a longer drive from the Outer Banks.

Cullowhee, North...
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6. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

arby,

I am not sure which beach you are going to from Raliegh that is 2 hours away? I live in Sylva and my brother lives in Greenville, NC and it takes me 7.5 hours to go from here in the Smoky Mountains to Greenville and from Greenville, Emerald Isle is about 1.5 hours away and I do believe that is the closest beach from Greenville. I can get to Raliegh in 6 hours and I suspect the closest mountains are maybe 4 hours.

You could easily spend 5 to 6 nights in the mountains and 5 or 6 nights at the beach. Your next question is which mountains and which beach do you wish to go to for the adventure?

I have ventured from Murphy to the Va border. The Blowing Rock area is more resorty while the Smokies is more rural in part because of the mass amount of Federal lands with the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest coupled with Great Smoky Mountains National Park. All the mountains are nice, you just need to figure out what kind of trip you wish to have?

Edited: 02 June 2011, 17:48
Clemmons, North...
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7. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

^ smokybob, from the Raleigh Beltline to I-140 in Wilmington is about 116 miles. At 70 mph, that will take about an hour and 40 minutes. Of course, you still have to go through Wilmington to get to the beach, but with no traffic you can easily make it to Wrightsville in 15 minutes or so.

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8. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

You will love Ocracoke. Rent a bike for three days (make sure you get one with a basket)--it's great way to explore Ocracoke. Bicycle to Springer's Point, a nature reserve. Bring bug spray for the short hike to the sound. Also check out Howard Street, a sandy tree-lined lane.

Take one of the guided kayak tours (lots of choices) offered at Ride the Wind. These fill up so make reservations early. Depending on your interests, the parasailing and wave running are available and exhilarating The sound and deep sea fishing trips are great.

Bring your morning newspaper to Ocracoke Coffee Company. If you are breakfast people, Pony Island Restaurant and Dajio's have delicious, hearty breakfasts. Jason's has great pizza, not to mention the fresh fish sandwiches which are to die for. Or pick up one of the fresh wraps (and fudge!) from Fig Tree/Sweet Tooth for lunch on the beach. Thai Moon has great takeout. Eat one dinner at either Back Porch or Cafe Atlantic...or both. See if you can order only one lime slushy at the Slushy stand. Howard's is a great place to people watch and they have wonderfully fresh salads. Jolly Roger and sMacNally's are fun places to eat on the harbor. There are more restaurants--those are just the ones I thought of off the top of my head.

Sometime during the week, bicycle to the boat launch and watch the sunset. Get up early one morning, drive to the first deserted beach you find (this will not take long!) and watch the sunrise on the beach.

Oh, and I am not sure how you are getting there. Consider taking the Swan Quarter Ferry or the Cedar Island Ferry instead of driving from Manteo. Either ferry ride is a little over two hours long and is a wonderfully relaxing ride into Ocracoke. You will need to make reservations and arrive 30 minutes early (no later!!!) --oh, make it 40 minutes--to claim your boarding pass. http://www.ncdot.org/ferry/ Bring lunch or snacks.

Have a wonderful time!

Edited: 13 June 2011, 14:19
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9. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

many thanks for this -- we can hardly wait. mountainmay

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10. Re: 2 weeks in nc in july. Help.

Mountainmay--Just realized you are coming in from Kill Devil Hills. Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries will not apply to you. Hatteras Ferry is 30 minutes and quite nice, though. No reservations needed there.