Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Favorite Vacation Spots

Posted May 18, 2011
Updated May 26, 2011

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse through the years.

With 90-degree temperatures coming this weekend, I thought it would be a good time to talk about favorite vacation destinations. What is your favorite getaway along the N.C. coast? How about the mountains? Please share your choices. Also, name a North Carolina vacation spot that you would like to visit this year for the first time. 

My top three choices for a coastal vacation are: (1) Ocracoke, (2) Bald Head Island and (3) Beaufort. Ocracoke is just plain cool. You feel like you’re in a different world living on Jimmy Buffet time. Bald Head Island offers the seclusion I sometimes crave. Plus, I love the maritime forest and golf carts replacing automobiles. Beaufort has that pretty white picket fence feel and is drenched in history. 

My favorite mountain vacation spots are (1) Roaring Gap/Glade Valley, (2) Linville and (3) Asheville. Roaring Gap/Glade Valley is the area where I have a cottage just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The peace and quiet and remarkable beauty are intoxicating. Linville takes me back to my childhood to pimento cheese picnics and trips to Wiseman’s View and Grandfather Mountain.. Asheville has a little bit of everything – great restaurants, tourist attractions and glorious mountain scenery. Plus, Montreat is just down the road. 

I have visited just about every place in the state. However, I have never made it to Hot Springs in the mountains of Madison County, and I have put that on my list for 2011.


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  • cnndudley May 31, 2011

    k8ered, my daughter and I just went on a weekend visit to Biltmore. Upon arrival in Asheville on Friday, we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed south toward the Pisgah Inn. Their dining room offers an excellent long-range view of the mountains through floor to ceiling windows. The food was good and the company was even better. If you don't want to spend a lot for lunch, you could order coffee and dessert. They have a lot of options. It's a short ride and you can see some beautiful scenery on the way. After lunch, we exited on Hwy. 276 to Looking Glass Falls. This is about ten miles. These falls are beautiful and right by the highway. No long hikes involved. You can walk down steps to the base of the falls. Certainly worth the trip.

  • johnway May 28, 2011

    In the mountains, Blowing Rock, Boone and Foscoe, along with Wayenesville. On the coast, Emerald Isle/Indian Beach.

  • GWALLY May 27, 2011

    Emerald Isle, Beaufort, Ocracoke, Outer Banks, Asheville, Grandfather do we live in a great place or what...a couple hrs east or west and you can be in a completely different world....!!!!

  • tony16 May 27, 2011

    Ocean Isle Beach when the crowds are NOT so large. Currituck, except for the last hour of the drive. The area just west of Blowing Rock is GREAT to escape the heat. Best luch hour ever: a picnic lunch under a canopy of trees with my feet in the Nantahala River beside highway 19/74 west of Bryson City, and only the sounds of nature. NC has so much to enjoy.

  • outlawtaxi May 23, 2011

    For the mountains, go to the Stecoah/Nantahala Gorge/Fontana area. Great little campgrounds, trout fishing, rafting, etc. Stecoah is a cute little town, but their folk center in the old school is Awesome. Google them up and get the mountain music schedule for concerts. Anywhere near water is a good place to camp, be it river, lake or beach. Camped last summer on Hatteras at the KOA and that was great as well. Still want to get up to the northern beaches; we didn't make it past Manteo last time. Also still want to go to the northern mountains; I've been there but not to stay for any length of time.

  • moppie May 20, 2011

    I'm a south Topsail Beach native who lives on the soundside, and nothing beats our soundside sunsets. For the mountains, I actually spend a lot of time in Blue Ridge, GA on the Toccoa River, which is only about 15 minutes over the NC border

  • stupidbrainchild May 19, 2011

    I agree with fgump. I used to live in Hampstead for a couple years. Used to ride my mountain bike to the sound and stare at Topsail Island while sitting with my toes in the water and !@## in the sand. Love to move back down there some day. I'm actually taking time off this weekend to go there.
    Later this summer we might go camping out at Lake James.

  • fgump May 19, 2011

    Topsail Beach, on the sound side. It's just plain gorgeous.

  • go fish May 19, 2011

    Growing up on the coast (eastern Carteret County) we always went to the mountains on vacation. I can remember Tweetsie, Santa Land, Ghost Town in the Sky, Cherokee, Grandfather Mountin, Blowing Rock, Linville Caverns, it was great. I have since been back with my kids and most of places are still there (and look almost the same!). By today's standards they are of course a bit tame/dated, but my kids still enjoyed it.

  • dale234 May 19, 2011

    The Outer Banks are great. I have spent alot of time at Mirlo Beach in Rodanthe. The water views are fantastic. Duck is a favorite as well. As far as the mountains go the Virginia side of the parkway is where I usually migrate to. Just got a place right off the parkway so I hope that is going to be my favorite spot from now on...




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