If there are two things North Carolinians love, it’s autumn and a long drive through gorgeous, winding country roads. With fall in full force, it’s time to make the most out of the two by combining them! While the Blue Ridge Parkway is indeed the most famous for an October, Sunday drive there’s plenty more gorgeous, North Carolina roads that will take you a million miles away.
1. Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway is not only THE place to experience fall colors in North Carolina, but possibly America. Spanning 469-miles, you're treated to mountain views, waterfalls within a short hike, heart dropping overlooks, and continuous beauty all from the comfort of your car.
2. Whitewater Way
Named after Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, Whitewater Way is on HWY 281 between Sapphire and South Carolina. Points of interest include Gorges State Park and Nantahala National Forest.
3. Hanging Rock Scenic Byway
The Hanging Rock Scenic Byway weaves you through gorgeous country roads with wide open spaces, the ancient Sauratown mountain chain, and historic towns like Danbury and Andy Griffith's Mayberry. With this one, the destination is just as gorgeous as the drive. Pay a visit to Hanging Rock, Pilot Mountain (or both) to make the most of fall in the Piedmont.
4. Pisgah Loop Scenic Byway
Journey through some of the most untouched and remote sections of the Pisgah National Forest. This byway both rivals and sometimes run parallel to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
5. Waterfall Byway
On US 64, for 98 miles you're treated to waterfalls just off the road, quaint small towns, and mountain views. Waterfall Byway is a nice escape from the crowded Blue Ridge Parkway...with equally beautiful sights and stops included.
6. Meteor Lakes Scenic Byway
For a completely different way to experience fall, on the eastern side of the state, the byway starts in Elizabethtown and takes you through some of the most fertile farmland in North Carolina.
7. Mount Mitchell Scenic Byway
Pay a visit to the highest point east of the Mississippi, then hop on this byway for some more incredible views. You'll travel through the highest mountain peaks and onto sweeping valleys. Artists will especially love this one as there are several galleries along the way.
8. Tail of the Dragon
If you love the scenic drive, but also consider yourself a bit of an adrenaline junkie, the Tail of the Dragon is home to 318 curves in only 11 miles...whoa!
9. Upper Yadkin Way
Winding through North Carolina's own Napa Valley, with several vineyards along the way, wine lovers will absolutely love this drive! You get rolling hills, valleys, with the foothills in the distance (plus wine). You might have to bring a DD for this one.
10. Outer Banks Scenic Byway
With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Pamlico Sound on the other, there's no dense foreswith bright foliage and certainly no mountain views, but this drive treats you to completely different beauty. It's gorgeous yearround, but you can make the most of it in the fall when the crowds are at a minimum and temperatures are perfect.
Sounds like a beautiful fall in North Carolina! What are some of your favorite drives in the Tar Heel state?
Sure, the mountains claim most of the beauty this time of year, but the Outer Banks Scenic Byway could quite possibly be the most beautiful drive, year-round, in America.
Read all about it here.