Though this route takes you through many well-known cities and sights, its real attraction is the traveling. Explore uncrowded beaches that stretch for miles. Grab a bite to eat at a roadside stand. Chat with locals at a general store. Wander off the beaten path and experience the history, beauty and charm of this beloved area … you’ll be rewarded for stepping outside of the ordinary.
A Free Personalised Road Book is included as standard with our Self Drive itineraries.
Please note: – This is a suggested itinerary only and is intended to give an overview of what is possible. All of our holiday itineraries are fully customisable and can be tailor-made to suit your own individual requirements. If you would like to start in a different destination, use specific hotel accommodation, include an extra night here, a side-trip there and/or include tickets to an event please let your Discover North America travel specialist know. They’ll also book you the best value flights to ensure a seamless holiday experience.
Today, arrive in Charlotte, NC, pick up your rental car and drive the Blue Star Memorial Highway north to the trian- gle cities of Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh. Overnight in Durham, home to Research Triangle Park, a vibrant “tech scene” that contains some of the USA’s largest technology companies. Explore all or some the 7 unique downtown sub-districts by foot or by riding the “Bull City Connector” that links downtown and the renowned Duke University.
Travel today to Virginia Beach, located at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay in the area known as “America’s First Region”. Virginia Beach spans miles of coastline and its sands often host prominent surfing and sand soccer championships. You may wish to stroll along the 3 mile boardwalk packed with cafés and beach entertainment or take a bike ride along the seaside path.
Follow Virginia’s eastern shore across the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel for a scenic ride to the “Outer Banks”, the easternmost shores of the southeastern USA. Lined with quaint towns and quiet fishing villages, upon arrival you may wish to explore Kitty Hawk, the spot where Wilber and Orville Wright made their first and historic flight. The peaceful sandy beaches and abundant park areas are pleasant spots to picnic. Nature remains the ruler of this beautiful area where marsh grasses sway in the breezes, wildflowers abound, sea birds soar, wild horses roam and the surfers, kayakers and nature lovers frolic along the shores.
Arise with the sun to get an early start to a breathtaking and full day. Your route takes you along the Outer Banks including its barrier islands. Stop at one of the four famous lighthouses en route whose beacons light turbulent waters, the “graveyard of the Atlantic”,where many ships met their demise in rough seas. Drive to Ocracoke Island home to the oldest and shortest lighthouse on the Banks. Then, catch the auto ferry (daytime operations only, advance reservations recommended, fee applies) for a breathtaking journey across Pamlico Sound to Cedar Island. Continue by car to your destination for the evening, the historic town of Swansboro.
Your destination is Myrtle Beach, a vibrant and colorful beach city on the Grand Strand coastline. Stroll the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk or take a ride on the Myrtle Beach Skywheel, with its glass gondolas that overlook the Atlantic. Feast on local seafood and consider a visit to a Sea Captain’s home. Dip your toes in the sea and take in the beauty of this day.
Depart the Grand Strand beaches, then drop into Georgetown, heritage home of colonial days. Step back in time by visiting Georgetown’s preserved theaters, homes and specialty shops downtown. Back on the road, continue through the lowlands and saltwater marshes to Charleston, rich with Civil War History and known for its architecture. Acclaimed for its quality of design, Market Hall is the starting point for the Charleston City Market, a historic market complex that stretches four full city blocks. Watch an artisan weave a sweet grass basket from winnow rice, step into a gallery to view the local plantationera artwork, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride outside, reflect- ing on the days of yore.
Today, travel to Savannah, Georgia’s oldest city and a strategic port during the American Revolution and the Civil War. Historians, nature lovers and food/wine enthusiasts alike enjoy this rich city. In this city “made for walking”, take a leisurely stroll alongside the Savan- nah River, or through the beautifully restored Old Savannah, or the City Market. Local breweries, chocolatiers and even its own “Queen of Southern Cuisine”, Paula Deen, all take pride in this charming jewel of the south that sparkles both by day as well as evening with beautiful gardens, Antebellum architecture, and a vibrant nighttime scene.
Depart charming Savannah and journey north. En route visit Congaree National Park, home of the largest tract of old growth bottom-land hardwood forests in the USA. A favorite spot for hiking, birdwatching and picnicking, Congaree National park contains one of the highest temperate deciduous forest canopies remaining in the world. Your destination today is Charlotte, named for King George III’s beloved wife, Queen Charlotte. The city holds an uptown shopping Epicenter and several science and art museums. And today you may wish to try a local taste of traditional southern smoked and/or barbecue foods at their finest!
Return your rental car and board your flight from the Charlotte Douglas International Airport reflecting upon the unforgettable experiences of your amazing travel journey!