Best Time to Fly to North Carolina
Summer is the high season along the coast, and Charlotte is busy with festivals and sporting events. Book North Carolina flights and hotels in advance if you're heading to Charlotte during the summer months. Most state and local fairs are held in August and September.
March to November is prime golf season. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park are packed in summer and fall. Peak season in the mountains is October, and the monarch butterfly annual migration draws crowds around Wagon Road Gap. Fall is also the best time for fishing at Cape Lookout.
Cheap flights to North Carolina and discounted hotel rooms are commonly found during spring, fall, and early winter. January and February can be quite cold and many businesses are closed.
North Carolina climate
A coastline in the east and mountains in the west present a variety of weather conditions. The mountains average 30 degrees (F) in January and 65 in August. The southern coast can be in the 60s in January, with summer temperatures cooled to the 70s by ocean breezes. The Piedmont gets very hot and humid with temperatures in the 90s. August through October is the peak hurricane season.Spring is brilliant with blooms everywhere and fall with the changing colors.
Getting around North Carolina
With several state airports offering in-state North Carolina flights, catching a cheap flight to North Carolina cities and counties is a quick way to get around the state. There is train service to the major inland cities, and frequent bus service in the Piedmont (the central part of the state). Along the coast there are ferries that connect some of the coastal towns and auto ferries along the coastal sounds and rivers.
The shoreline and mountains in the west are best explored by car, especially the Blue Ridge Parkway through the mountains. The highways tend to be well maintained and some have rest areas with picnic and cooking facilities.
Charlotte’s Uptown area is walkable and has the free Gold Rush shuttle. The city also has trolley service, and the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) provides public transportation throughout the city. The downtown areas of the Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill) are good to explore on foot, especially Chapel Hill. The towns also have convenient and inexpensive public transportation.
North Carolina Travel Information
- North Carolina, named for King Charles I, is a haven for the history lover. The first English settlement was built on the coast in the 16th century and disappeared, in very mysterious circumstances. Fort Raleigh National Historic Site preserves the site of the settlement and the Elizabethan Gardens, with a statue of Virginia Dare, the first English child born in the New World, is a living memorial to the settlers.
- The state has three main regions: the coast, the Piedmont region and the Appalachian Mountains in the west. The Great Smoky Mountains, a sub-range of the Appalachians, have 250 miles of Blue Ridge Parkway for hiking and, in the winter, skiing .
- Off-beat tourist attractions include a shell-shaped gas station in Winston-Salem. The world’s largest Ten Commandments, built by the Church of God of Prophecy at Fields of the Wood in 1945 is said to be visible from space. Each letter is five feet high.
- High Point, the "The Home Furnishings Capital of the World," boasts the world’s largest chests of drawers. The original chest of drawers was built in the 1920s by the High Point Chamber of Commerce and was 20 feet high. In 1996, a 38-foot tall chest of drawers was constructed.
- Biltmore House, near Asheville, is the largest privately owned home in the U.S. Home of the Vanderbilts, built between 1885 and 1895, it is one of the finest examples of Gilded Age architecture. The interior is breathtaking with paintings by Whistler, Renoir and Sargent. The grounds are extensive (8,000 acres) and include an English walled garden, an All-America rose garden, winter garden and Italian garden.
- At the end of Highway 421, the tiny Zeke's Island (42 acres) is accessible at low tide by a one-mile hike along The Rocks.