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Inland North Carolina Road Trip

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AAA/Diana Beyer
409.3 miles: 9 hours, 19 minutes
You’ll experience some of the most beautiful scenery in the Southeastern U.S. on this trip, which highlights the best of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The slow and winding drive offers views of immense forests, craggy peaks and deep valleys. Mid-June boasts blooming rhododendrons, while late October offers the best of fall foliage; be sure to have your camera at the ready.
AAA/Frank Swanson
1
Asheville to Charlotte
129.0 miles: 3 hours, 7 minutes
Heading out of Asheville, the largest city in Western North Carolina, you begin to get a sense of the breathtaking natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The drive is windy and hilly but not overly so. You wouldn’t want to speed through here anyway; you might miss some of the remarkable scenery, especially during autumn.
flickr/Southern Foodways Alliance
2
Charlotte to Winston-Salem
81.1 miles: 1 hours, 31 minutes
This isn’t the most picturesque portion of the trip, as the segment is mostly straight interstate driving. But that just gives you more time to explore Winston-Salem. Formerly two separate towns that merged in 1913, the “Twin City” is home to one of the state’s largest shopping centers (Hanes Mall), Wake Forest University and the Old Salem historic district.
flickr/Kevin McGee
3
Winston-Salem to Boone
95.1 miles: 1 hours, 47 minutes
US 421 Scenic Byway travels through Watauga County's portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers sweeping views of valleys, woodlands and mountains. You’ll also pass by several picturesque horse and cattle farms. Entering the New River watershed, the byway ascends a ridge, providing panoramic views of Snake Mountain and Elk Knob.
Courtesy of Tweetsie Railroad
4
Boone to Asheville
104.1 miles: 2 hours, 53 minutes
The Blue Ridge Parkway was designed for slow-paced driving; the speed limit is typically 45 mph―less in some places. Photogenic marvels of stunning long-range vistas and close-ups of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes abound. You don’t have to be at an overlook to stop and enjoy the scenery; parking is permitted along most road shoulders.