3 Best Eastern Carolina Road Trips
Eastern Carolina presents you with a variety of road trip options. You can explore the coast, taste North Carolina wines, and marvel at ancient forests all within an easy drive of Wilson.
In Down East North Carolina, you’ll enjoy quaint small-town charm along scenic U.S. Highway 70. From Wilson, take N.C. Highway 58 down to 70 and head to New Bern. New Bern is a good place to stop for lunch before heading toward the coast through the Croatan National Forest, a spectacular coastal pine forest where you can do some hiking or bird-watching.
Head to Beaufort past the salt marshes for the quintessential Carolina coast experience. Plenty of events take place in the Down East region so you might be able to catch a wooden boat festival, nautical knot-tying demonstration, or even YogaFest. Talk to some locals to get an earful of the famous Down East accent.
While exploring U.S. Highway 70, you’ll want to make a stop for an awesome seafood dinner at the water’s edge. Two of the area’s best restaurants to check out are Don’s Grill in Atlantic and Nelson Bay Cafe in Sea Level.
North Carolina has a growing wine industry, and you can do a great coast-region winery tour not far from Wilson. Head south to Interstate 40 to get to the first winery in Rose Hill, about 90 minutes away. Duplin Winery is the oldest winery in North Carolina and they offer free tastings and winery tours Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 6pm.
Continue going south on Interstate 40 to the Bannerman Winery and Vineyard in Burgaw, where tastings are available Monday through Saturday from 9 am to 6 pm and on Sunday from noon to 6 pm. Be sure to check out the strawberry wine.
Head to Wilmington for a stop at Noni Bacca winery. Noni Bacca is a boutique label with tastings every day. The hours are: Monday through Wednesday 10 am to 6 pm, Thursday through Saturday 10 am to 9 pm, and Sunday noon to 5 pm.
Next, take U.S. Highway 17 down to Ocean Isle Beach for a visit to the Silver Coast winery. Silver Coast has a gorgeous 40-acre property where daily tours and tastings are available seasonally.
A tour of North Carolina’s lighthouses is a great way to get out and see some of the state’s most iconic scenery. There are 21 lighthouses in the state but here is an easy road trip that covers some of the highlights.
From Wilson, head east on U.S. Highway 64 to head to the Outer Banks to Cape Hatteras. The Cape Hatteras lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in the country at 210-feet.
Head north to stop at the nearby Bodie Island lighthouse next. Built in 1872, the Bodie lighthouse is in Nag’s Head, about an hour up the road from Cape Hatteras.
Finally, from Nag’s Head, go north to reach the Currituck lighthouse in Corolla. Currituck is distinctive because it was left it its natural brick state instead of being painted with bold stripes like many others.
Eastern North Carolina has plenty of options for a great road trip so you can get out and explore the state’s unique character.
Image via Flickr by ctj71081 under use of CC BY-SA 2.0/Cropped from original
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