Free in North Carolina

Credit: North Carolina Division of Tourism

In the days before regular airline travel, hitting the open road in a car was often the key to a family vacation. And although SUVs and minivans have replaced station wagons as the vehicles of choice, the appeal of a low cost road trip endures. And now, with gas prices so low, the appeal of a road trip increases.

North Carolina boasts two different routes to a low-cost family trip.

The Blue Ridge Parkway spans 252 miles in North Carolina, winding its way through mountain towns, national forests and historic site. You can stop at hiking (the Appalachian Trail) or biking trails, enjoy the views atop Chimney Rock, and cross the Linn Cove Viaduct. This is also the way to discover small town pleasures.

Free in North Carolina

Always free in North Carolina: the beach! Credit: North Carolina Division of Tourism

The dramatic North Carolina Coast boasts over three hundred miles of coastline. Go to ocean beaches, explore America’s first national seashore at Cape Hatteras and explore North Carolina’s lighthouses.

You can visit family friendly beaches with gentle waves and soft sand, or ones for surfing. And make sure to stop at The Outer Banks, the barrier islands.