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Scenic drive from Washington DC to Raleigh, NC

Scenic drive from Washington DC to Raleigh, NC

Old Jun 28th, 2012, 05:52 PM
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Scenic drive from Washington DC to Raleigh, NC

Does anyone know of a scenic drive from Washington DC to Raleigh, NC. We would like to see some interesting and unusual sites and beautiful landscapes. Thanks!
imabeliever is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 07:30 PM
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Would you prefer the coastal route (US 17) or the mountain route on The Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway?
You should be able to do either with about 9 hours of driving time not counting stops.
I don't blame you for not wanting to drive I-95.
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Old Jun 28th, 2012, 07:38 PM
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How long do you plan to spend making the drive (which is probably 5-6 hrs. max directly via I-95 and I-85) and what time of year are you doing this?

Lived just north of DC, in Richmond, and in Piedmont NC the first half of my life and still travel in the area sometimes; I can't say I find much scenic about the direct route. (Which is not to say there aren't a quite a few miles of pretty wooded areas here and there but nothing outstanding.) But if you want to take a little time and go out of your way - maybe considerably - you could do it either via the mountains or the coast, at least part of the way.

It's a quick drive on I-66 from Washington to the Skyline Drive, then slower on SD through Shenandoah National Park and to Charlottesville. If you want to stay in the mountains and on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you're going farther and farther west of Raleigh. (Skyline Drive and BR Pkwy. are slow-speed roads, so you'll take at least twice as long as on an interstate, even if you don't stop. And I can't imagine how anyone could drive there and not stop to admire some of the views.) But you could cut over from the parkway to I-40 and make it to Raleigh from Winston-Salem in 2 hrs. or less. (That part won't be scenic.)

Or you could drive to Williamsburg/Jamestown on I-64 either from the mountains (maybe 3 hrs. from Charlottesville) or I-95 in Richmond (less than an hour off I-95), drive the Colonial National Historic Parkway and stop in Colonial Williamsburg and/or Jamestown. At that point, your best bet for more scenic driving will first take you through some congested areas around Newport News/Norfolk before you can get to a road that links you to the Outer Banks in NC. (Someone else will have to tell you more about the route from Williamsburg to the Outer Banks since I haven't been there for 30 years.) From the Outer Banks the most direct way to Raleigh is on 64, which is a pretty good road but not much of it is limited access.

If you don't plan to spend at least 2 or 3 days doing this 5 hr. trip (stopping in the nat'l park, Monticello, Williamsburg, Kitty Hawk/Nags Head, depending on your route) I don't think I'd bother, though.
polly229 is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 04:09 AM
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Booth cities are in the Piedmont, so there is no spectacular mountain or seacoast scenery without going pretty far off a direct route, but you can take US 15 all the way from Washington to Chapel Hill before turning east to Raleigh.

It is mostly a divided highway, though not limited access, it passes around most towns, but you have the chance to go through towns when you want to, the scenery is pleasant once you are out of Northern Virginia, and there is very little traffic.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2012, 09:07 AM
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Thanks so much for this information! Being from the midwest, I am/was totally clueless about this region! We are visiting relatives in Raleigh, so will decide which we can fit in, won't be able to do completely, did not realize it would double the travel time.
Thanks!
imabeliever is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2012, 07:39 AM
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Any good sites or places that are must see/do in Raleigh or Washington DC July 14-21?
We would love suggestions that the locals know of!
imabeliever is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2012, 08:07 AM
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With a few slight detours you can do
Mt Vernon (2hrs-half day)
Monticello (2 hrs-half day)
Manassas battlefields (2-3 hrs)
Williamsburg (half to full day)
Jamestown (2 hrs-half day)
Yorktown (2hrs-half day)
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 09:03 AM
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Can anyone recommend a scenic drive from Maryland to Winston Salem, NC?
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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Rileyobx- Which end of Maryland? Coastal or mountains?
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Old Jul 14th, 2014, 10:37 AM
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I loved a day of just wandering through VA, stopping in small towns and visiting Appomattox Courthouse. I came in from the SE, wandering on roads that looked interesting, stopped at Appomattox and loved the drive from there past the Inn at Meander (Locust Dale, VA if you are mapping it) and on to Culpepper and "fast roads" into MD.

Reverse the plan and wander the backroads to Winston-Salem. If you want a neat detour, go to Mt. Airy, NC = the real Mayberry. You can take a tour in a squad car, have a milkshake and go back in time.
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Old Jul 15th, 2014, 05:01 PM
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If you are from the midwest and not from this area, you MUST take a few extra hours and drive at least part of the Skyline Drive The whole drive, including The Shenandoah Valley, from Front Royal to Waynesboro would be lovely. If you are visiting relatives I'm sure they'd allow you the extra day to enjoy their part of heaven.
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Old Jun 12th, 2015, 10:42 PM
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We want to take a driving trip for a few days from Washington D.C. to Chapel Hill, North Carolina in the fall of 2015. What should we see, where should we stay, where should we eat, and what is the best week for fall foliage?
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Old Jun 13th, 2015, 04:26 AM
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I think people who are looking for other routes from other places would do well to start their own thread for better info.
As for what to do in Raleigh, I would assume your relatives will have things to do. I'd go over to Winston Salem to visit Old Salem. See Chapel Hill and I love Hillsborough.
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Old Aug 14th, 2017, 06:07 AM
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Hi, we are visiting from England early october and would like to see some scenic places . we arrive in washington ,collect car and have approx 4 days .. any help appreciated !!
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Old Aug 14th, 2017, 06:36 AM
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This is an old thread. Suggest you start your own.

What are your interests? There is plenty to see in DC but sounds like you are skipping i altogether. do you want history (Williamsburg and Old Salem). Beaches. Mountains? make that clear on your new thread. Also, where are you going after the four days?
thursdaysd is offline  
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