Welcome to North Carolina
North Carolina's landscape keeps on rolling and changing—from granite domes and plunging waterfalls to the Piedmont's foothills to the Atlantic coast and barrier islands. RV adventures are found in abundance here.
Start your trip in the North Carolina mountains. Here, you'll find the southern Appalachians, the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains, with peaks exceeding 6,000 feet. RVers can enjoy the world-famous Blue Ridge Parkway.
North Carolina contains 262 miles of this 469-mile-long national scenic byway. Views of mountain peaks, spring wildflowers, summer greenery and forests ablaze with vibrant autumn leaves await the RV traveler. Parkway nature trails twist through varied landscapes with natural water features like ponds, meadows, streams and tumbling cascades.
At Chimney Rock, take the 26-story elevator to the top to the 75-mile view or hike the trail to the 404-foot waterfall. At 6,684 feet, Mount Mitchell is the highest mountain in the eastern U.S. Two-thirds of North Carolina's mountains are covered with hardwood forests, and in autumn, the over 120 species of trees display brilliant color. The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians has lived in this area for 11,000 years and native crafts abound.
North Carolina Piedmont
The Heartland, often referred to as the Piedmont, is composed of gently rolling plains that host picturesque golf courses, lakes, and farmlands, as well as the state's largest urban areas. Renowned research universities, textile and furniture factories, tobacco farms, golf courses, and historic sites are also features of the Piedmont. Here you will find Raleigh, the state's capital; Charlotte, the largest city; and Pinehurst, the Home of American Golf. The stories of champions and the traditions of championship golf have been created at Pinehurst since 1898. There's also Yadkin Valley, the first designated American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the state reaching from the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the eastern edge of the Piedmont.
Greater Raleigh is often dubbed the "Smithsonian of the South" for more than 40 free attractions and the high quality of Raleigh's numerous museums. The city's world-class museums include the North Carolina Museum of Art, Contemporary Art Museum (CAM Raleigh), Cary Heritage Museum, Dr. M.T. Pope House Museum, North Carolina Museum of History, Marbles Kids Museum, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The neo-gothic architecture of Duke University makes for an interesting walk around campus. Visit the Duke Chapel, with its 5,200-pipe organ, 210-foot tower housing a 50-bell carillon, and intricate stained-glass windows.
Charlotte may be best known for its racing roots: the NASCAR Hall of Fame is one of the area's most popular attractions, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway offers tours in addition to those famous races. Other notable attractions include the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Blumenthal Performing Arts complex, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Billy Graham Library, U.S. National Whitewater Center, Carowinds, and Discovery Place.
North Carolina Coast
The North Carolina Coast is bordered on the east by 300 miles of sandy beaches, islands, and inlets. The defining characteristic of the northern coast is the famed Outer Banks, a chain of barrier islands that are ever changing as they are shaped by the forces of water, wind, and storms. This 130-mile necklace of islands offers pristine beaches and giant sand dunes. Located in Nags Head, Jockey's Ridge is the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern U.S. Constantly changing and always beautiful, Jockey's Ridge's centerpiece dune currently measures between 80 and 100 feet in height, depending on which way the wind blows.
Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved the first successful airplane flights in 1903 at what is now the Wright Brothers National Memorial near Kitty Hawk. Orville flew for the first time a distance of 120 feet, lasting a mere 12 seconds. The final flight by Wilbur that day was 852 feet and lasted 59 seconds.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore consists of more than 70 miles of barrier islands. With its breathtaking vistas and fascinating history, the Cape is ideal for an RV vacation. Two tall coastal lighthouses, Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras, were built in the 1870s to warn ships of the dangerous shoals along the islands. At 208 feet Cape Hatteras is the tallest brick lighthouse in the nation. The Ocracoke Lighthouse, a harbor light at the southern end of the seashore, was completed in 1823.
An area of natural beauty, the Cape Fear Coast encompasses Wilmington and the island communities of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. This area is home to unspoiled beaches and is a haven for beachcombers and outdoor lovers. Walk the decks of the Battleship North Carolina and imagine yourself at sea in 1942 searching the sky for enemy aircraft. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site protects and preserves known portions of England's first New World settlements from 1584 to 1590.