15 days in North Carolina Itinerary

15 days in North Carolina Itinerary

Created using Inspirock North Carolina visit planner

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Route & dates

15 days in North Carolina Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly:  7​h 30​min
1
Raleigh
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
2
Nags Head
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Ocracoke
— 1 night
ferry + Drive:  5​h 15​min
4
Wilmington
— 1 night
Fly:  2​h 45​min
5
Charlotte
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
6
Asheville
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
7
Cherokee
— 2 nights
Drive + Fly:  9​h 15​min
End: San Francisco

1
night
Raleigh

Raleigh ©
For those not from the South, Raleigh might be one of the region's better-kept travel secrets.
On the 10th (Tue), explore the world behind art at North Carolina Museum of Art, admire the natural beauty at Sarah P. Duke Gardens, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Duke University Chapel, and finally stroll around Pullen Park. Keep things going the next day: learn more about the world around you at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, engage your brain at Marbles Kids Museum, then trek along Neuse River Trail, and finally admire the natural beauty at Main St. Community Garden.

To see other places to visit, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Raleigh vacation maker app .

San Francisco to Raleigh is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight, taxi, and bus; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Pacific Standard Time to Eastern Standard Time is 3 hours. When traveling from San Francisco in September, plan for a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Raleigh: temperatures range from 82°F by day to 63°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 11th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Nags Head.

Things to do in Raleigh

Parks Museums Childrens Museums

Side Trips

Durham, Main St. Community Garden
Highlights from your plan
Sarah P. Duke Gardens ©
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Neuse River Trail ©
Neuse River Trail

2
nights
Nags Head

Nags Head ©
Most visitors take a trip to Nags Head to enjoy the beach, but this Outer Banks town offers more than just waterside entertainment.
On the 12th (Thu), contemplate the long history of Wright Brothers National Memorial, stop by KDH Cooperative Gallery and Studios, then visit a coastal fixture at Bodie Island Lighthouse, and finally explore the striking landscape at Jockey's Ridge State Park. Here are some ideas for day two: observe the fascinating underwater world at North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, tour the pleasant surroundings at Coquina Beach, and then take in the waterfront at Jennette's Pier.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Nags Head trip planner .

Getting from Raleigh to Nags Head by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and car; or do a combination of train, bus, and car. Expect a bit warmer evenings in Nags Head when traveling from Raleigh in September, with lows around 69°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Ocracoke.

Things to do in Nags Head

Parks Historic Sites Beaches

Side Trips

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, Coquina Beach
Highlights from your plan
Jockey's Ridge State Park ©
Jockey's Ridge State Park
Bodie Island Lighthouse ©
Bodie Island Lighthouse
Jennette's Pier ©
Jennette's Pier

1
night
Ocracoke

Ocracoke ©
Ocracoke is a census-designated place (CDP) and unincorporated town located at the southern end of Ocracoke Island, located entirely within Hyde County, North Carolina. Kick off your visit on the 14th (Sat): kick back and relax at Ocracoke Beach Fires, then visit a coastal fixture at Ocracoke Lighthouse, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach.

For maps, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Ocracoke trip planner .

You can drive from Nags Head to Ocracoke in 3 hours. In September, daily temperatures in Ocracoke can reach 82°F, while at night they dip to 70°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) so you can travel to Wilmington.

Things to do in Ocracoke

Beaches Parks Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach ©
Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach
Ocracoke Beach Fires ©
Ocracoke Beach Fires
Ocracoke Lighthouse ©
Ocracoke Lighthouse

1
night
Wilmington

Wilmington ©
Holiday in Willington to discover a charming coastal city filled with azalea gardens, historical neighborhoods, and cozy cafes.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sun): learn about all things military at Battleship North Carolina, look for gifts at Old Books on Front Street, then make a trip to Riverwalk, and finally get your game on at Battle House. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Trinity United Methodist Church, view the masterpieces at Franklin Square Gallery, then wander the streets of Historic District, and finally test your problem-solving skills at popular escape rooms.

To see reviews, ratings, photos, and tourist information, go to the Wilmington trip planner .

Getting from Ocracoke to Wilmington by combination of ferry and car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of ferry and bus. September in Wilmington sees daily highs of 84°F and lows of 68°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Mon) so you can travel to Charlotte.

Things to do in Wilmington

Museums Fun & Games Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Southport, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Highlights from your plan
Battleship North Carolina ©
Battleship North Carolina
Room Escape Games
Old Books on Front Street ©
Old Books on Front Street

2
nights
Charlotte

Charlotte ©
A rapidly growing city in central North Carolina, Charlotte is the state's largest urban center and a major regional hub for finance, industry, technology, and entertainment.
On the 17th (Tue), identify plant and animal life at Latta Plantation Nature Center & Preserve, then browse the collection at Billy Graham Library, and then get in on the family fun at Carowinds. On the 18th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: see the interesting displays at Levine Museum of the New South, then see the interesting displays at NASCAR Hall of Fame, then get your game on at Escape Kings, and finally admire all the interesting features of The Bank of America Stadium.

For more things to do, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Charlotte online trip builder .

Getting from Wilmington to Charlotte by flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Expect slightly colder evenings in Charlotte when traveling from Wilmington in September, with lows around 63°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) so you can drive to Asheville.

Things to do in Charlotte

Theme Parks Museums Fun & Games

Side Trip

Latta Plantation Nature Center & Preserve
Highlights from your plan
Escape Kings ©
Escape Kings
Billy Graham Library ©
Billy Graham Library
NASCAR Hall of Fame ©
NASCAR Hall of Fame

3
nights
Asheville

Asheville nestles between two major mountain ranges in the scenic western section of North Carolina.
Change things up with these side-trips from Asheville: Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park (in Chimney Rock), Slick Rock Country Emporium (in Hendersonville) and Zipline (in Lake Lure). And it doesn't end there: let your taste buds guide you at a local gastronomic tour, admire all the interesting features of Blue Ridge Parkway, sample the tasty concoctions at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Tours & Tastings, and get interesting insight from Tours.

To see where to stay, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Asheville travel planning tool .

Traveling by car from Charlotte to Asheville takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or do a combination of flight and car. Expect a daytime high around 79°F in September, and nighttime lows around 59°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) so you can go by car to Cherokee.

Things to do in Asheville

Outdoors Tours Adventure

Side Trips

Slick Rock Country Emporium, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Tours & Tastings, Blue Ridge Parkway, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, Zipline
Highlights from your plan
Zipline
Food Tours
Blue Ridge Parkway ©
Blue Ridge Parkway

2
nights
Cherokee

The center of Cherokee culture in the eastern part of the country, the town named after this Native American tribe serves as a base camp for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Sun): examine the collection at Museum of the Cherokee Indian, brush up on your knowledge of spirits at Elevated Mountain Distilling Co., then examine the collection at Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum, and finally take in the awesome beauty at Waterrock Knob. Keep things going the next day: try your luck at Casino at Harrah’s Cherokee and then relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour.

For where to stay, reviews, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Cherokee route planner.

Traveling by car from Asheville to Cherokee takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. In September, daytime highs in Cherokee are 79°F, while nighttime lows are 57°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Cherokee

Tours Adventure Parks

Side Trips

Maggie Valley, River Rafting & Tubing
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Museum of the Cherokee Indian ©
Museum of the Cherokee Indian

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