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En route to Outer Banks across NC

vcv
Tennessee
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En route to Outer Banks across NC

I'm thinking of an OBX trip in May and will come back with more specific questions about the OBX itself, but right now I'm wondering what route(s) to take across NC. I'll be coming from TN and most likely going I-40 through Asheville. I'm interested in any recommendations about what to see between western NC and the Outer Banks, especially any outdoor attractions, scenic routes, etc. (not interested for this trip in cities, museums in cities, or night life along the way).

I'm very familiar with western NC, especially the Smokies, Bryson City, and Maggie Valley areas but haven't traveled much east of Asheville. Any recommendations would be appreciated for a day or two each direction across the state (also route suggestions--it doesn't have to be the quickest, which I can find on MapQuest--and the return route wouldn't have to be the same as the route to the OBX). Thanks for any tips.

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Chapel Hill, North...
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1. Re: En route to Outer Banks across NC

Generally speaking the most scenic parts of NC are the mountains and the coast. The big middle stretch is the piedmont and it's pleasant and bucolic in the country, but not stunning.

You could go across on 64 if you want to take the scenic route. It will definitely be longer, but it's sort of the Route 66 of NC, going through a lot of small towns and countryside as well as some cities. It will take you by Asheboro where you can visit the acclaimed NC Zoo if you're so inclined and it's not too far from Seagrove and the fantastic historic community of potters there. http://www.discoverseagrove.com

You could also go up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Blowing Rock and Boone and either take 421 east to Wilkeboro and Winston-Salem or keep on going on the BRP to Mt Airy, home of Andy Griffith and the inspiration for Mayberry.

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Eastern Kentucky...
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2. Re: En route to Outer Banks across NC

You could take the Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at Grandfather Mountain.

Clemmons, North...
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for North Carolina, Winston Salem
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3. Re: En route to Outer Banks across NC

Old Salem in Winston-Salem is well worth a stop. Google for info and directions (it's downtown, just off Business I-40, so it's not at all out of the way for you).

If you're a beer drinker, you might consider a stop at Red Oak Brewery for a tour and to pick up a growler or two of their excellent beer. It's just east of Greensboro near Whitsett, NC, right next to I-40. Likewise, if you're a wine drinker there are a number of wineries that are convenient to I-40, including West Bend and Raylen.

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Salem
Salem
Massachusetts
Winston Salem
Winston Salem
North Carolina
Greensboro
Greensboro
North Carolina
vcv
Tennessee
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4. Re: En route to Outer Banks across NC

I like all of these ideas; thanks, everyone. I've driven the BRP several times--hadn't thought of taking it part way but will probably do that in one direction--I shouldn't be in a hurry.

vcv
Tennessee
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5. Re: En route to Outer Banks across NC

I'm just back from my trip. I left TN last Sunday, when it poured rain all day, so I stayed on I-40 and then stopped at a motel in Rocky Mount. I left the OBX on Thursday after lunch and camped near Asheboro in order to visit the zoo yesterday. The zoo was the best laid out that I've ever seen and definitely worth a stop. Due to the weather forecast, I didn't make any other stops. It was tempting to head to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a short leg of the trip west but once again I stayed on I-40 because of weather--and did get into heavy rain near Asheville. I'll keep your other suggestions in mind for a future trip to NC. Thanks once more for all the helpful recommendations.

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6. Re: En route to Outer Banks across NC

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