North Carolina is home to plenty of amazing and beautiful sights – from Murphy to Manteo, it sure does spread out a good bit, with breathtaking mountains in the west and gorgeous coastline on the east. It’s safe to say, there’s a lot to see in North Carolina. But luckily you can get from the mountains to the coast in one day, and you can venture to these places in not just only one day, but on one tank of gas. It’s a worth it road trip with these 10 choices.
1. Hanging Rock State Park
Centrally located but still with a mountain feel, Hanging Rock is beautiful and loaded with hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks. Check out our full guide
2. Pik N Pig, Carthage
Centrally located near Southern Pines and Pinehurst this amazing BBQ joint also doubles as an airport, yes, you read that right - an airport. You get a show with your Q and it's a wildly unique experience. Bonus - you can fly in (on one tank of gas) for lunch,
3. Pilot Mountain
Right outside the Piedmont, Pilot Mountain is a great daytrip destination with diverse trails and even rock climbing for those feeling brave. It's a mountain feel without the miles to the mountain.
4. Roan Mountain
More a mountain chain than mountain, Roan Mountain is home to some of the most gorgeous grassy balds. It's perfect for those who live in the Piedmont-Mountains, it puts you in a totally unique location with just one tank.
5. Brown Mountain Lights
This true anomaly exists just outside of Morganton, as you're getting into the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Brown Mountain Lights can be seen with your own two eyes, different orbs of color dance over the trees and darkness overtakes the night. Read more about them
6. North Carolina Museum Of Art
Located in Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of Art is perfect for a cultured day trip and something different. Located in the Captiol, it can be one stop among many other sights to see.
7. Uwharrie National Forest
Home to Badin Lake, rugged hiking trails, fishing, boating, camping...you name it...this mountainous haven isn't too far from the sandhills or Asheboro. Stop by the Pisgah Covered Bridge or the Zoo on your visit as well.
8. Great Dismal Swamp
For those in the eastern part of the state - the Great Dismal Swamp is home to some of the most unique coastal and swamp landscape found on the East Coast. Bordering VA, many kayakers find remote, peaceful beauty, and it's no surprise this wonderous place inspired a Harriet Beecher Stowe novel.
9. Lake Norman State Park
Flickr / Rick Austin
With a new public beach, accessing this gorgeous lake is easier than ever. Lay your towel down and enjoy the largest, manmade body of water in North Carolina. It's beautiful and just a stones throw from Charlotte.
10. Mary's Gone Wild Folk Art And Doll Baby Museum
This wildly unique museum is perfect for those on the Eastern side of the state looking for a unique day trip. Learn all about Mary's
There’s certainly a lot to choose from in North Carolina! What are your favorite one-tank drives here?