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One Tank Trip for North Carolina Camping
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Battleship North Carolina
Total mileage / average drive time:
287 miles – 5 hours, 13 minutes
The rumors you’ve heard about North Carolina are true — it’s one of the most alarmingly beautiful states in the nation with three physically distinct regions where lovers of the great outdoors will find an endless trove of recreational activities, from mountain climbing to skiing, surrounded by the colorful cultures of the Blue Ridge and Smoky mountains. Its central location on the eastern seaboard makes it a highly accessible paradise for those living in the huge population centers.
Wilmington, one of the most striking destinations in the state, has roots going back nearly three centuries as a prominent port city. As you wander around, you will find there is so much charm and elegance peppered with cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages, and manicured gardens, you’ll think you’ve landed in the middle of the last 1800s. Pulsing its way through the city is a vein of art galleries, boutiques, theaters, and restaurants that can keep you entertained and content for days. Around every corner of the city, something wonderful awaits. One attraction not to be missed is the Battleship North Carolina. Moored across the river from the downtown area, the battleship is hard to miss at 728 feet long. Commissioned in 1941, this massive ship was considered the world’s greatest sea weapon and participated in every major naval offensive in the Pacific during WWII, earning it 15 battle stars. Today the ship is enjoying a much quieter life in Wilmington and as you walk her decks, you’ll learn of some of the stories of the men who served aboard her through oral exhibits, photographs, and mementos. You may even get to start the engines — wouldn’t that be a thrill?
200 miles – 3 hours, 25 minutes
From Wilmington pass through Raleigh and continue on to Asheboro. If you love small-town charm, Asheboro has it in spades. But the brightest star of the city is the North Carolina Zoo with over 500 acres of wild animal “habitats” to explore. All of the exhibits are carefully constructed to resemble the animals’ natural habitats, from the grasslands of Africa to the ice floes in the Arctic. You’ll have the chance to view more than 1,100 animals and 40,000 plants along the Zoo’s five miles of beautifully shaded pathways. Kids love this stop and if you’re still a kid at heart, you’ll love it, too.
84.7 miles – 1 hour, 39 minutes
From the small-town mellowness of Asheboro, it’s less than a two-hour drive southwest to attractions-filled Charlotte. The largest city between Washington, D.C., and Dallas, Texas, Charlotte has more than enough going on to keep you hopping. Feel like kayaking, but not sure you feel like leaving the city? That’s okay, Charlotte has exactly what you’re looking for at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Kayak, raft, mountain bike, hike, or even zipline to your heart’s content without ever having to get out a map and make the hard decision on where to go. Discover wonderful cultural offerings, restaurants, and museums all within a short walk of each other, which makes exploration of Downtown Charlotte a breeze. If your feet are starting to give out on you, there’s a great light rail system that will get you anywhere you want to go, quickly and inexpensively. You’re in NASCAR country here, hallowed ground for fans, so you should treat yourself to an afternoon of perusing the NASCAR Hall of Fame where you’ll find all big NASCAR names honored here — from all-time great owners to drivers and crew chiefs. At 390,000 square feet, The Hall of Fame is the ultimate experience for racing fans. Couple a trip to the Hall of Fame with a visit to the NASCAR track in nearby Concord and you’ll be in NASCAR heaven. And of course, the NASCAR folks are RV-friendly so you can stay close to all the action when you stay at one of the many campgrounds surrounding the speedway.
Check out the 2011 One Tank Trip For North Carolina
Check out the 2010 One Tank Trip For North Carolina
Woodall's Recommended Campgrounds in North Carolina
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