Discover why people say that The Carolinas are a land of contrasts on this two-week road-trip. From misty mountain peaks to pristine beaches, this seldom-travelled region of eastern USA offers relaxation, adventure and history in equal measure. Visit Charlotte, the 'Queen City' and gateway to The Carolinas; bohemian and artsy Asheville on it's plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Then, set off for Savannah, one of the USA's most beautiful cities of all. Leave behind North Carolina (but keep the memories), and arrive in at Savannah, with its evocative, colonial houses and a vibe that couldn't be more different to the next stop, Charleston, an architectural and historic treasure and arguably one of America's most charming cities. Accommodation throughout the tour has been hand-picked for its location and to reflect the history, traditions and character of the region.
Day 1: Depart UK, Arrive Charlotte
Upon arrival in Charlotte, collect your rental car and drive to your hotel. Today you may want to visit some of the city’s museums including the Levine Museum of the New South which offers an insight into life in the American South from the end of the Civil War to today. Be sure to make time for shopping. Charlotte offers everything from unique boutiques to a number of excellent shopping malls. Discover Charlotte's NASCAR roots with a visit to the recently opened NASCAR Hall of Fame. Afterwards, head to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and take to the tracks with a driving experience that will see you reach speeds of 160 miles an hour. The US National Whitewater Center with its Olympic quality rafting and kayaking channels is a must for enthusiasts. It also offers miles of hiking and biking trails.
Day 2: Asheville, North Carolina
Today you will set off for Asheville. Located on a plateau surrounded by the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains this is North Carolina’s bohemian chic arts capital. Downtown Asheville is known for its many art galleries and museums, music venues, interesting architecture, sidewalk performers and outdoor cafés. Spend the day touring George Vanderbilt's wonderful Biltmore Estate. This is America's largest private residence with 250-rooms and four acres of interior floor space, the house is filled with a superb collection of art and antiques. If you are lucky, you will catch one of the many special events held at the Biltmore throughout the year including the Festival of Flowers (April-early May), Summer Evening Concerts (Fri-Sat in August) and Fall at Biltmore (October - early November).
Day 3: Asheville, North Carolina
Take a drive out along the spectacular Blue Ridge Parkway and see exactly why it's described as 'America's Favourite Drive'. Head in to the Great Smoky Mountains to visit the home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Learn about Native American culture at their museum and reconstructed Indian village.
Days 4-6: Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is one of the most beautiful cities in the USA and is a must-see on any trip along Georgia's coastal area. You'll recognise the city squares (made famous in the film Forrest Gump), while the monuments, parks and the largest historic landmark district in the USA will leave you enthralled. Add a buzzing creative, art, culture and theatre scene and you have the recipe for several days of relaxed exploration.
Days 7-8: Charleston, South Carolina
Today you’ll leave North Carolina behind as you head to Charleston in South Carolina, arguably America’s best-preserved architectural and historic treasure. Overflowing with pretty streets and historic districts, its delightful charm is predicated on a rich history serving the tobacco trade. This wealthy past can still be seen today in its 18th century townhouses, Romanesque churches and Georgian mansions. Explore them all on garden path walks and horse carriage tours. Its plantation estates are particularly impressive, with spiral staircases leading you to grand views over gardens dotted with giant oaks and postcard-perfect lakes. Lastly, don’t miss out on a visit to Fort Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. This 19th century Confederate stronghold still features some of its original guns and fortifications, memorialising one of American history’s most important moments.
Day 9: Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Make your way to Carolina Beach, a pretty seaside resort combining old-time beach charm with a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
Stay: Courtyard Carolina Beach (Superior)
Days 10-11: Outer Banks/Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
The Outer Banks is a collection of barrier islands stretching 130 miles along the North Carolina coast. Surrounded by clear water, the islands offer sheltered beaches, outdoor pursuits and upscale beach communities like Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk, where you'll spend two nights.
Days 12-13: Pittsboro, North Carolina
Head to the peaceful town of Pittsboro, where days are filled with hiking, biking and golf, visits to local wineries and hours spent relaxing on the shores of beautiful Jordan Lake.
Stay: Fearrington House Inn (Superior)
Day 14: Departure
Return your hire car to Raleigh Durham airport in time for your overnight flight home, arriving on day 15.
High season: Jul-Aug
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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