North Carolina boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the United States. If you need to be reminded or convinced, travel some of the state’s scenic byways. The N.C. Department of Transportation has carefully selected 62 byway routes as interesting alternatives to the major highways and interstates.
The byway routes are separated into three regions: Mountains, Piedmont, and Coastal Plains.
You might also be interested in scenic drives for North Carolina fall color, 10 drive-through attractions in North Carolina, a photo guide to hiking 12 North Carolina State Parks, and a guide to 9 North Carolina waterfalls.
NCDOT offers the North Carolina Byways Guidebook as a free download.
On ncdot.gov/ScenicByways, you can download the PDF.
When you receive the 258-page book in the mail, there will be an envelope to make a donation to the program if you wish. (There’s not currently a way to donate on the website.)
The scenic byways are a way to get where you’re going, maybe a little bit more slowly, but with a lot more enjoyment. They’re not all a huge time commitment. Many are very short, just a few miles long, with drive times of under 30 minutes, so they’re just a little detour.
The listing for each byway includes:
- A map of the area, with the scenic byway highlighted
- Turn by turn directions
- The county or counties that you’ll visit
- The length of the byway
- Points of interest
Points of interest might include:
- Historical buildings
- State parks
- Charming downtowns
- Covered bridges
- Scenic vistas
- General stores
- Historic battlefields
Whether you’re heading to the mountains, the beach, the Raleigh area, or other parts of the state, this book will help you find natural beauty and interesting history along the way.
NC Scenic Byways Near Charlotte
There are some scenic byways that are convenient to the Charlotte, so you can easily explore them without taking a whole weekend. You might have passed near one without even knowing it.
A few of the scenic byways near Charlotte:
- Crowders Mountain Drive (Gaston and Cleveland Counties)
- Yadkin Valley Scenic Byway (Surry and Yadkin Counties)
- McAuley Road Scenic Byway (Mecklenburg County)
- Mill Bridge Scenic Byway (Rowan County)
- Uwharrie Scenic Road (Cabarrus, Davidson, Randolph, Rowan and Stanly Counties)
- Sauratown Mountains Scenic Byway (Stokes and Surry Counties)
- Rolling Kansas Byway (Stanly County)
- Pee Dee Valley Drive (Stanly County)