The Carolinas are among the top vacation destination spots on the east coast. This region of the country offers virtually anything one could imagine from expansive beaches to tremendous mountains with everything in between. When you want to experience the beauty in splendor of the US with a little southern charm, consider these incredibly popular locations stretched across the Carolinas
Although Raleigh, NC is not the biggest city in the world, it is substantially large with over 464,000 residents. Raleigh is the second largest city in the state with a lot to offer both residents and visitors. The beauty of Raleigh, NC is its ability to feel like a small town even though it is a full-scale city. Visitors enjoy a welcoming environment with residents willing to show their city off to newcomers.
When visiting Raleigh, NC, transportation is easy. Where a personal vehicle is ideal from getting to some places, generally, it is just as easy to hop on the public transit to get you where you need to be. Fairs for public transit are just $1.25 per trip but is free for those over 65 and children under 12. If you intend on visiting the city for longer than just a few days, investing in a 31-day transit pass is just $40.
Attractions in Raleigh, NC are abundant. On sunny days, Pullen Park is an exceptional place to spend the day or just a few hours with the family. The park is full of playground areas, a train ride, carousel, boat rides, and even an outdoor café should your crew get a little hungry.
As for rainy days, the Daniel Dhers Action Sports Complex is king. This complex is in Holly Springs within the Raileigh metro area and is named for its professional BMX riding founder Daniel Dhers. The park features endless opportunity to skate and cycle on both indoor and outdoor park arenas.
A visit to the capital of North Carolina, Raleigh, is something a trip across the Carolinas should never be without. The city boasts amazing weather, incredible hospitality, and plenty of places to rest your head for the evening or enjoy the sites.
Raleigh might be the capital, but Charlotte, NC reigns supreme as the largest city in the state. Currently, Charlotte holds a population of 808,834 and growing. Flying into this city allows for more of a relaxed feel. Flights tend to run on schedule and weather rarely has a negative impact on flight times. Even though the airport is relatively large, it is not incredibly overpopulated even during high travel seasons.
For those driving into Charlotte, NC, rush hour is serious business here. From 7:30 am until 9am and 4:30 to 6:30 am commuters pack the highways, so avoid travel during this time if possible. If you lack a car, but are still looking to get around, Charlotte’s public transit system is excellent. Both bus and rail travel are available, so if you find yourself needing to go out during rush hour, consider using the train system as it is substantially faster during both morning and evening rush hours.
The first thing you will come to realize when visiting Charlotte, NC is NASCAR is king. The NASCAR hall of fame is located here as is the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The speedway regularly offers special events apart from just racing, so even if you are not a true NASCAR fan, check out their schedule of events to find something fun to do with the kids.
Other attractions include the Carowinds theme park, the Bechteler Museum of Modern Art, the Billy Graham Library, Sea Life Charlotte Concord Aquarium, and the Carolinas Aviation Museum. There is truly something for everyone to enjoy in Charlotte, so do not hesitate to get out and explore on your journey through the illustrious Carolinas.
Located in the center of South Carolina is Columbia. The city is the state capital and 136,632 call Columbia, SC home. That population might seem small compared to Charlotte and Raleigh, NC, but Columbia is the largest city this southern gem of a state has to offer. Naturally, when you step into Columbia, you are greeted with a unique small town feel not often felt in capital cities. However, it is the true southern hospitality in this location that makes it a haven for weary travelers and enthusiastic visitors.
Although Columbia, SC has plenty of indoor attractions such as the Columbia Museum of Art and the Columbia State Museum, it is truly a mecca for those who love the great outdoors. The Riverbanks Zoo, Sesquicentennial State Park, and Gibson Pond Park are just some of the incredible outdoor activities visitors enjoy. Be sure to bring a good pair of hiking boots or walking shoes because you will be walking around the great outdoors a lot on your trip to Columbia, SC.
Naturally, while traveling through Columbia, SC, you will find the standard variety fast food and fast casual eating establishments you would expect in any modern city. However, the draw of Columbia, SC is based around its one of restaurants. The Blue Marlin is a great place for epic seafood dishes, but for those who are looking for a classic South Carolina option, try the Little Pigs BBQ. The food is a local staple and the prices cannot be beat.
Staying in this city is a treat, but do not be dismayed by the variety of standard hotels. Where there are a plethora of them, the biggest draw for this area is the many bed and breakfasts that dot the landscape. Places such as The 1425 Inn and Chestnut Cottage offer accommodations with that classic southern charm you will come to enjoy in Columbia, SC.
With a population of just over 150,000, Charleston, SC is the second largest city in the state. Additionally, it holds the title of oldest city in South Carolina founded in 1670. When driving through Charleston, you will see a lot of historic buildings lovingly preserved by locals, historians, and investors within the city. The love of historic preservation is alive and well in Charleston making it a hot destination for history buffs around the world. Some of the most famous historic buildings are the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Heyward-Washington House, and Calhoun Mansion.
However, this city is not just full of historic buildings. It is also home to a thriving city center bursting with personality and more shopping areas than you will know what to do with. Visitors are welcome to roam the streets of Charleston, SC and browse through a variety of small and large businesses throughout the bustling downtown area.
While on your shopping trip, do not neglect to take care of your nagging hunger pains with classically Carolina restaurants. Restaurants throughout Charleston, SC are renowned for their epic charm and true culinary delights. Ristorante Lidi, Sermet’s Courtyard, and The Kingstide are just a few of the amazing eateries in the area.
Charleston, SC is perched perfectly along the South Carolina coast, so it is a hot spot for summer travelers. Visitors can be seen enjoying the variety of beach activities along the coast or taking a boat out to Fort Sumter, a civil war national monument. The USS Yorktown and Patriots Point are some extra war landmarks you should not miss when visiting Charleston, SC.
We end out journey through the Carolinas with a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. This place is home to some of the most exciting attractions in the region such as Ripley’s Aquarium, Family Kingdom Amusement Park, and Wheels of Yesteryear for the car buffs in your group. There is so much to see and do in this east coast hot spot.
While driving down the coast of Myrtle Beach, SC you will be greeted with classic sites and sounds you would expect to see on the beach, but rising high above the streets and tourists is the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel. This 187ft tall structure offers the best views anywhere along the coast and is something you should experience in Myrtle Beach, SC.
One word you might hear more often in Myrtle Beach than anywhere else in the Carolinas is “Calabash.” Restaurants such as Benjamin’s Calabash are iconic eateries of epic proportions. Basically, the word means cooking and the restaurants with the name attached to them often serve some of the largest seafood buffets you will likely ever encounter. These restaurants are highly recommended for those seeking an amazing seafood feast.
The Carolinas offer some of the best opportunities for great times with friends and family anytime of the year. Although they are known for being more of a summer destination, there is no bad season to introduce yourself to the beauty of the Carolinas. There is something for everyone to enjoy and always a festival or two to enjoy. The Carolinas is something special that needs to be experienced in person to truly appreciate its beauty, so come on down to this gem of the east coast.