Big-city sophistication meets Southern hospitality in Asheville, where the Blue Ridge Mountains provide a stunning backdrop for the Biltmore mansion and wildflower-studded valleys beckon photographers, nature-lovers, even llama-trekkers.
Black-and-white, spiral-striped Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has protected generations of sailors from the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” the storm-whipped Outer Banks of North Carolina. Pay your respects at the lighthouse’s new home (since 1999), a more protected area, a half mile from its original location. Another must-see: Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, a feeding and nesting area for more than 265 species of birds.
Enter a world of Southern coastal relaxation and adventure at Sunset Beach. This island is the farthest south of North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands, and it’s also not far from the Myrtle Beach area. Experience a quiet coastal getaway or browse the shops and explore the area’s history. Choose from among championship golf courses and play a few rounds. You’ll be mesmerized by the vast ocean shore. The Ingram Planetarium and Science Center, an aquarium, museum and lighthouse tours assure many options for an ideal vacation. Launch your boat or rent a pontoon to meander down the coast.