With striking geography and compelling history these sister states offer a wealth of traveller experiences, from beach relaxation and breathtaking mountain scenery to heritage events commemorating a slavery-to-Civil-War past. North and South Carolina encompass a huge variety of cultural and scenic attractions, South Carolina billing itself as ‘the home of smiling faces and beautiful places’, whilst its northern compatriot is a ‘land of diversity, history, culture and charm’. With its temperate climate and rich ecosystems, South Carolina makes the perfect escape from the pressures of work, a place to relax on long expanses of sandy beach, explore marshlands teeming with wildlife, roam rugged mountain country and delve into three centuries of history. Original plantation homes and opulent antebellum townhouses dot the Ashley River Scenic Highway and the Lowcountry, where descendants of African slaves continue the tradition of weaving sweetgrass baskets. The 300-plus miles of North Carolina coastline – famed for its chain of barrier islands and landmarks such as Cape Fear – is steeped in heritage, with historic towns such as Bath and Beaufort dating back to the early-to-mid 1700s. Two of the most fascinating homes in America – George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate, a 250-room French chateau, and Carl Sandburg’s Connemara, where the renowned author published one third of his works – are located near Asheville. Recreations abound in both states, from theme park fun to serious golfing on hundreds of championship courses, with NASCAR racing in Concord a must for motor sports fans.
North and South Carolina have a relatively tropical climate, the summer months can be hot and humid, whilst winters are relatively mild.
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Carolinian's know how to celebrate special occasions in style. North Carolina has the Chinese Lantern Festival and the 4th of July Festival Beach Day on Oak Island. To the south, Charlotte’s famed Thanksgiving Parade passes right by The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, whilst guests at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort are perfectly placed for savouring the delights of the local seafood festival. There are winery events, hot air ballooning spectacles and a year-round programme of food, music and culture fairs.
The 300-plus miles of North Carolina coastline – famed for its barrier islands and landmarks such as Cape Fear – are steeped in heritage, with historic towns such as Bath and Beaufort. South Carolina’s barrier island beaches are genuinely family friendly, with those in Brunswick offering wonderful sunrise and sunset views. Join a deep-sea fishing excursion, sail a private catamaran or paddle the 22-mile Daniel Boone Heritage Canoe Trail down the river corridor of the Yadkin River in North Carolina.
The thunder of hooves heralds the presence of wild Spanish Mustang horses, which once roamed free on North Carolina’s Outer Banks; they can still be found at protected sites such as Currituck Banks, Shackleford Banks and Ocracoke Island. In Charlotte, guests at The Ritz-Carlton Charlotte can take a ‘Green Behind the Scenes’ tour, including a look at the rooftop garden and resident honeybees. For memorable vistas of the area’s scenic landscape, take to the air in a colourful hot air balloon.
Recreations abound in both states, from theme park fun to the awesome spectacle of NASCAR racing. Try the challenges of North Carolina’s Golf Coast, including the legendary Pinehurst, or head to South Carolina where a further nineteen courses beckon. For the adventurous, the U.S. National Whitewater Centre is a must, with its rafting, kayaking, climbing and zip lining. Avid anglers can fish for the likes of flounder, bluefish and sea trout or go lake fishing for bass and perch.