Driving the North and South Carolina Coast on Vacation

The Carolina Beaches are the some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Miles and Miles of National seashore await your visit.

If you want to take a relaxing driving vacation, consider cruising your way through `The Carolinas`. North and South Carolina both offer you the opportunity to see some of the most breathtaking ocean views and visit some of the oldest beach resorts in the United States.

U.S. Highway 17, also called the Coastal Highway and the King`s Highway, runs through both of The Carolinas, traveling close to the Atlantic Ocean for much of the way. In South Carolina, Highway 17 travels through Atlantic Beach and North Myrtle Beach, both fabulous driving destinations for some old-fashioned fun in the sun.

Atlantic Beach is the oldest resort in this region. Founded in 1887, this beach town started with just one small pavilion, a few changing stalls and a refreshment stand. Today, you can enjoy various beach activities, including swimming, windsurfing, fishing, parasailing and sunbathing.


Myrtle Beach offers a 60-mile stretch of gorgeous, white sandy beaches. This beach town is known for offering some of the best inshore and deep-sea fishing in the region. You can also visit two Oceanside state parks, take island cruises and perfect your golf or tennis game with an Oceanside view.

Continue your driving vacation on Highway 17 by cruising into Wilmington, North Carolina, where surfing is the name of the game. Right across the peninsula is Wrightsville Beach, where you can take a leisurely ride on the beach or relax on a harbor cruise along the Intercoastal Highway. You can then take a side trip on Highway 421 to Carolina Beach, which offers an old-time boardwalk complete with ice cream stores, a pier and an arcade.


North Carolina boasts long stretches of secluded, pristine beaches near the Outer Banks and, luckily, you can drive the length of the Outer Banks on North Carolina Highway 12, also called the Virginia Dare Trail and Beach Road. On this mostly two-lane highway you`ll enjoy incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean while riding past many miles of unspoiled coastline and traveling through charming beach towns. This route starts near the old Currituck Beach Lighthouse and notable stops include Kitty Hawk, where Wilbur and Orville Wright made the world`s first powered flight.

You shouldn`t visit the Outer Banks area without visiting the islands themselves. Stretching over 130 miles in length and surrounded by 900 miles of ocean, these islands have some of the most pristine beaches in the world. The ferry system of the Outer Banks gives you a fun way to island hop. You can visit Hatteras Island, where the dreaded pirate, Blackbeard finally met his end, Ocracoke Island and Roanoke Island, also called `The Lost Colony` because approximately 120 people disappeared without a trace over 400 years ago.

The Carolinas have beaches suited to every taste, whether you enjoy sunbathing, water sports, boating, surfing, fishing, climbing lighthouse towers, bird watching or diving among the shipwrecks. The highways in The Carolinas are in excellent condition, which will make your vacation a nice, smooth ride.

Hotels near SC beach attractions

Hotels near NC beach attractions