Regional Guide

Driving - North Carolina Coast

For a coastal driving experience, it's hard to do better than Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Cross Albemarle sound from the mainland on Route 158 and head south toward Jockey Ridge State Park. Slap an OBX sticker on your rear bumper, turn onto Route 12, put the windows down, and breathe in the salty air as your tires hug the shoreline.

Go north on Route 12 for a different experience. Check out Bodie Island for a glimpse of less developed Outer Banks. Cruise up the coast to Currituck Beach Lighthouse, a great place for a picnic and a break from the throngs at the more touristed areas.

Tour Colonial Carolina in the Albemarle region. Begining in Halifax, where the provincial congress met to declare independence from England, head east on Route 158 to Jackson, home of some of the richest aristocrats of the early South. Continue east on 158 to Murfreesboro for a look at Colonial and post-Colonial Americana. Head up Route 13 at Winton then continue on 158 to Great Dismal Swamp. In direct contrast to the refined homes of Jackson, this wild area was once prospected by George Washington as possible farmland.

Cruise from Great Dismal Swamp to historic New Bern on US 17. You'll drive from a gorgeous national wildlife refuge to the state's first capital on this scenic drive.

Drive along Bogue Banks for a glimpse of one of the finest beaches in the state. This 29-mile excursion runs the entire length of the barrier island, from Bogue Sound to the Atlantic Ocean. Though development in recent years has removed some of the charm of the area, Atlantic Beach and the adjacent Fort Macon State Park make up for the crowds.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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