These days, the weather is changing. Tired of hibernating from the summer heat? Be sure to check out these five gloriously scenic drives across the state.
North Carolina is a state rich in beauty and history from the mountains to the coast. Set your soul free and hit the road this fall on an adventure sure to make memories!
Outer Banks Scenic Byway
Leave your worries behind and go for a drive on the most romantic byway in NC, the Outer Banks Scenic Byway of the barrier islands. Consequently, there is an abundance to see from its beautiful beaches, historic lighthouses, nature preserves, and wildlife preserves.
The byway goes on for 138 driving miles and 25 ferry-traveling miles. On your route, you’ll cross several islands including Ocracoke Island, Cedar Island, and Hatteras Island. You’ll also pass through 21 coastal villages that are rich in history.
There, you can take in the wild beauty of the beaches, tidal flats, and maritime forests. When it comes to fauna, you’ll find abundant marine, avian, and terrestrial wildlife. This is one drive that will really have you feeling as if you don’t have a care in the world. Just fresh air and the sound of the ocean, allowing you to feel refreshed and renewed.
Colonial Heritage Byway
Rich in North Carolina history, the Colonial Heritage Byway offers several points of interest. This beautiful byway begins and ends in urban center and leads you through winding roads of rural farmland. The byway is also dotted with several examples of 18th and 19th Century Architecture.
In addition, you’ll find historic buildings that are still being used as general stores and courthouses today. You will find many stories of historical figures and information on the first settlers who inhabited the area. Be sure to stop in the quaint community of Hillsborough. The historic Orange County seat offers public tours and an abundance of restaurants and shops to visit. Don’t forget to take a stroll down by the Riverwalk when you are there.
Alligator River Route
The Alligator River Route runs from Lake Mattamuskeet to Roanoke Island and sweeps you through an area rich in natural and historical sites. This route meanders through swamps and wetlands and give you a glimpse into life near the coast. Along the way, you pass through several habitats for migratory birds and endangered species, including two Wildlife Refuges.
Be sure to also explore Frying Pan Landing, Gum Neck and the historic Native American Villages of Croatan Sound and Manteo. These places can give you a view of what life may have been like during the early years of this nation.
Hanging Rock Scenic Byway
Need to breathe in some fresh mountain air? Fall is the best time to go for a drive on the Hanging Rock Scenic Byway. Stop and spend the day hiking at Hanging Rock State Park. Or, instead, simply keep on driving along picturesque stretches of the Piedmont and outcroppings of the Sauratown Mountain Chain.
Visit Cascade Falls. These falls feature a double drop waterfall of 200 feet at upper cascade and another 60 feet at lower cascade. Also, don’t forget to stop and explore quaint little towns such as Mount Airy (aka Andy Griffith’s Mayberry) and Danbury.
Tail of the Dragon
If you are adventurous and feeling brave, take a drive on the Tail of the Dragon in Western NC. Bordered by the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest, on designated US 129, lies a section of road called Tail of the Dragon.
This is a huge destination for motorcycle and car enthusiasts with 318 curves in an 11 mile stretch of road. Many consider this stretch of road to be one of the most exciting drives in America. Pull over at the Calderwood Overlook which has gorgeous views of the Cheoah Dam, the Smoky Mountains, and Tennessee countryside.
Some North Carolina folks have been known to call this road “that damn road to Tennessee”. This is a must for adventure seekers. Please do remember to use caution.
Set your spirit free and get out and explore the great state of North Carolina this fall on these scenic roads. They won’t disappoint.