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DC to Charleston in April-Mountains or OBX/Coastal

San Diego...
Level Contributor
15 posts
DC to Charleston in April-Mountains or OBX/Coastal

We have 4 days/3 nights in April to get from DC area (spending 2 nights there prior) to Charleston, SC (where we are staying for 2 nights). Should we head down through Williamsburg into the OuterBanks and then maybe Wilmington before Charleston? OR Should we haed over from DC to Skyline Dr and then eventually over to Asheville and ultimately Charleston?

We will stop here and there but we are mostly looking for a beautiful drive with quaint towns, good food stops and possibly some history.

So, OBX/Coastal drive or Skyline & BRP/Mountain drive?

Clemmons, North...
Destination Expert
for North Carolina, Winston Salem
Level Contributor
1,981 posts
44 reviews
1. Re: DC to Charleston in April-Mountains or OBX/Coastal

Either choice is worthy, so you'll just have to decide whether you prefer mountains or coast. Both offer good food, quaint towns, and history...it's kind of like choosing between a blonde or a brunette. ;)

Chapel Hill, North...
Level Contributor
9,836 posts
39 reviews
2. Re: DC to Charleston in April-Mountains or OBX/Coastal

The mountain route is actually slightly shorter that sticking strictly to the coast, which surprises many people. You can certainly dip into the coast here and there and not drive straight down and that will be quicker, but not all of the little inland communities are as picturesque as the beach towns. There are some nice little places on the "inner banks" though like Edenton, Williamston, Plymouth, New Bern. If you stick to the coast rd, highway 12, all the way down through Ocracoke you have to go on a couple of ferries and need to schedule in time for that.

Both routes are doable in 4 days, 3 nights. The Outer Banks one is about 16 hrs, and you would want to reserve the Cedar Island ferry from Ocracoke. It's about a 2 hr ferry ride. The mountain route is about 12 hrs, could be longer if you go on the Blue Ridge Parkway (I recommend the stretch from Blowing Rock to Asheville), especially depending on how many stops you'd like to make.

There's a lot to see on both routes. It's not likely to be super warm in either place in April, but should be nice (maybe 60s/70s, but water will be too cold to swim in the ocean).

Are you more of a long walk on a beach person, or a nice hike to a waterfall or to the top of a mountain type person?

As far as cities and towns, Asheville is a great town and bigger than the OBX towns, although Wilmington is bigger than Asheville I believe (but it's not on the Outer Banks). There's always good food and good beer to be found in Ashevegas. Although it's a tourist town, the tourism season is more spread out than it is on the OBX. Wilmington is a nice town, too, but if you're doing Charleston that city has the Old South thing down.

Edited: 16 February 2014, 15:42
San Diego...
Level Contributor
15 posts
3. Re: DC to Charleston in April-Mountains or OBX/Coastal

Thank you so much everyone. We have opted for the more coastal route although we have changed things up a bit following all of the input we've received. Thanks.

4. Re: DC to Charleston in April-Mountains or OBX/Coastal

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