10 Roads With The Best Windshield Views In All Of North Carolina
There’s no denying North Carolina has some of the most beautiful drives in the U.S. From cruising with the sound on one side and the ocean on the other, to curving and turning atop some of the highest peaks on the east coast; there’s nothing wrong with taking a long Sunday drive (or ten). For these drives you don’t even have to get out of your car to experience the beauty of the Tar Heel state.
1. Outer Banks Scenic Byway
Spanning a total of 138 driving miles and 25 ferry miles, the Outer Banks Scenic Byway takes motorists on a stunning journey down the Outer Banks. From wild horses, coastal villages and untouched dunes, this is easily a Top 10 Drive in the U.S.
Read our guide to Outer Banks Scenic Byway
2. Blue Ridge Parkway
It's no surprise the Blue Ridge Parkway made this list seeing that people come from all over the nation to drive on one of the most beautiful roads in the U.S. Spanning 469 miles, the Blue Ridge Parkway attracts around 15 million visitors per year. While leaf season sees the peak, year-round there's plenty of overlooks, hiking trails, and parks to explore. The best part, though, is that you're treated to some of the most amazing views mile after mile.
Read our guide to the 15 best-kept secrets of the Blue Ridge Parkway
3. Alligator River Route
Just like it sounds - the Alligator River Route winds you through remote coastal plains of North Carolina. The drive takes you to scenic destinations like Frying Pan Landing, Gum Neck, and North Carolina's largest natural lake - Lake Mattamuskeet. If you're scared of encountering alligators on the Alligator River Route, don't worry, you can take in most of the views from the comfort of your car.
4. Waterfalls Scenic Byway
You won't have to worry about any alligators on this drive, just maybe bears. Spanning for 98 miles between Rosman and Murphy, Waterfalls Scenic Byway passes some of the most beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina. You'll want to get out of the car for this one though, explore DuPont State Forest and also walk beneath the gorgeous Dry Falls.
Read our full guide to cruising along Waterfalls Scenic Byway
5. Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway
For exploring some of the tallest peaks on the east coast, this drive seems to transport you to the clouds, miles above the normal world. Not only does the byway treat you to stunning views (that rival the Parkway) you'll also pass several art studios and drive through the town of Burnsville.
7. Hanging Rock Scenic Byway
From wide-open farmland with rolling hills in the distance, to some of the last remaining peaks in the Sauratown Mountain Chain, Hanging Rock Scenic Byway is a Blue Ridge feel right in the Piedmont. From stopping by gorgeous Hanging Rock State Park (and taking a quick walk down to Lower Cascade Fall) or spending a day in Mount Airy, there's plenty to see from the comfort of your car, but also plenty to do along the way.
8. Cherohala Skyway
For a drive that easily rivals the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cherohala Skyway spans 18 miles through NC and 22 through deeply forested areas in TN. Listed as one of the Top 10 drives in the country, you'll soar atop wide open mountain peaks then dip deep into the woods. With plenty of curves, views and overlooks, this is a drive that's just as thrilling from the comfort of your car.
Read our guide to Cherohala Skyway
9. Tail of the Dragon
Once you finish the 318 curves in 11 miles along The Tail of the Dragon, you'll have one of two responses: I'm gonna throw up, or, I gotta do that again. Frequented by automobile and motorcycle enthusiasts, adrenaline junkies and the plain curious - this a must-do drive for any thrill seeker.
10. Whitewater Way
Named after the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, Whitewater Falls, the Whitewater Scenic Byway is in close proximity to Waterfalls Scenic Byway but retains a vibe all its own. While you can enjoy great views from the car, stop off at Whitewater Falls to witness this stunning 800 foot fall (the lower portion falls in SC).
These are such beautiful drives and belong on any North Carolinian’s bucket list. Are there any you’d add to the list? Any of these you’ve done?
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