Located just to the west of downtown Charlotte, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is the main airport in North Carolina, and is one of the busiest airports in the United States. The airport is the largest hub for US Airways, and therefore handles flights to all major cities in the United States, as well as to Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, and limited flights to South America.
Airlines serving Charlotte Douglas International Airport: Air Canada Express, AirTran Airways, American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta Air Lines, Delta Connection, jetBlue Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, United Airlines, United Express, US Airways, and US Airways Express.
The Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center in South Mills, NC is the only visitor center in the country where you can arrive by car or boat. The center offers 150 feet of free dock space for boaters in the Dismal Swamp Canal. Nearly 2,000 skippers take advantage of the center’s hospitality each year.
You can also come on U.S. 17 by car. We have done it both ways.
There are plenty of airlines serving Charlotte Douglas International Airport - we flew from London Gatwick with US Airways, a fairly low-cost option. Alternatives include American, Continental, Delta and North West.
As Charlotte is quite a compact city the airport isn’t too far from the centre (as my photo shows), so a taxi won’t cost too much – the price currently quoted on the airport’s website is $20. Otherwise many of the hotels and motels provide a free shuttle, as do the car rental companies.
The airport has all the facilities you’d expect of a major international hub, with plenty of shops and restaurants on all concourses. As well as using it for this trip we’ve had to transfer there on other US flights and have always found somewhere reasonable to get a drink or light meal.
Unlike the barrier islands of the Outer Banks to the north, there are no bridges connecting Ocracoke Island to the mainland, so we had to take the ferry. There are three ferry routes serving the island:
1. Cape Hatteras to the northern tip of Ocracoke Island
2. Swan Quarter (east of Washington NC) to Ocracoke village
3. Cedar Island (east of Atlantic Beach and itself linked to the mainland by road) to Ocracoke village
There are also a number of other useful routes served by these ferries. For instance you can take a ferry from Minnesott beach to Cherry Branch across the estuary of the Neuse River, cutting off a long road trip round via Washington (though we wanted to visit Washington so chose the longer route).
Some of the shorter routes are free, such as the one we took from Hatteras to Ocracoke, which takes 40 minutes and runs every hour from 5 a.m. – midnight, with a few extra boats on the half hours in summer. For the longer crossing from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter the cost is $1 for a pedestrian and $15 for a car with passengers. This ferry runs only three times a day in summer, twice in winter, and takes 2.5 hours. The other longer routes are similar in cost and frequency.
You really need to book in advance for one of these less frequent routes, especially at the height of summer – we did and were glad we had as the ferry was full. But for the frequent and shorter routes I think you could just turn up and take your chance.
North Carolina is served by a number of airports but flying into one close to the beautiful coast can be impossible if not extremely expensive for a family. Once you are at the Coast (Bald Head Island, Wrightsville Beach, Figure Eight Island, Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, etc) you can always hire a vehicle from Enterprise just for the day. The coast is so friendly and safe there is little reason to rent a huge vehicle at RDU or other major airports just to carry all of your beach toys. The key is getting to the coast from the airport and back again. We found there was no bus or even shuttle service to the coast from either the Piedmont Airport (Greensboro Area) nor Raleigh-Durham (RDU). We stopped renting an SUV (we never could find one at a decent price) and instead arranged to be picked up at the airport and driven to the coast and arranged for our return to the airport at the conclusion of our vacation. We visit NC 3 times a year and use a firm called All-Points (we found them via a Google search). They have a variety of new vehicles, have flat rate pricing (with no 'extra' surprises for extra bags or extra passengers!), have every child seat imaginable, and they meet us at the airport security exit and then carry our bags for us. After flying for hours its nice to be met and taken care of when we get off the plane - it's like our vacation already started! Hope this helps.
The Department of Transportion for North Carolina has a website that is not very tourist friendly. I have attempted to get most of the pertinent information here for VTers use.
For road, ferry and train real-time information by region, you can use:
For special rules-of-the-road that pertain to North Carolina, try:
Real-time traffic cameras on major highways can be accessed through:
links to public transportation are at:
We took the ferry from Hatteras to Ocracoke, and then from there to Cedar Island ( a much longer trip). It was fun, and since we were heading back down I-95 taking the ferry to Cedar Island was a shortcut.
Driving to the Outer Banks was a very long and boring trip. I liked the ferry.
This is a major shortcut between Fort Fisher and the town of Southport. Southport, as you may or may not know, is where the WB series "Dawson's Creek" is filmed. The ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport takes about 30 minutes. If you were to drive from Fort Fisher to Southport, it would take you over 2 hours!! (I know this because the ferry broke down once and I had to drive the long way back). You pay the attendant, then drive your car onto the ferry, then drive off. This is a great experience, and it is not very expensive ($3.00 for cars, $1.00 for bicycles, and .50 for pedestrians).
I also found out the ferry will cease it's operations approximately 15 years from now, and will be decomissioned. Evidently, a bridge will connect Southport with Fort Fisher at that time.
North Carolina has an extensive Ferry system, and most of the ferries are free or low cost.
There are 8 main routes run by the state and all but one are car ferries
1 Knotts Island to Currituck - free - 45 minutes
2 Currituck – Corolla - $2 passenger only
3 Hatteras – Ocracoke - free - 40 minutes
4 Swan Quarter – Ocracoke* - $15/car - 2.5 hours
5 Cedar Island – Ocracoke* - $15/car - 2.5 hours
6 Bayview – Aurora - free - 30 minutes
7 Cherry Branch -Minnesott - free - 20 minutes
8 Southport – Fort Fisher - $5/car - 30 minutes
* You can make reservations on these ferries
All the ferries and terminals have bathrooms, and most of them have food and drink vending machines. No hot or sandwich type food is sold.
There are also private ferry lines (like the ones to Bald Head Island.
traveling down Route 13 from Delaware This bridge-tunnel spans the Chesapeake Bay from Eastern Shore of Virginia to the other shore near Norfolk Virginia.With the approaching roads of 5 1/2 miles and the bridge-tunnels of 17.6 miles the total length equals 23 miles. This bridge save us 1 1/2 hours trave time and 95 mile. Beautiful views and a visitors center at Sea Gull Pier with a restaurant, gift shop and fishing pier.
The Henrietta III in Wilmington is North Carolina's largest riverboat and offers sightseeing, dining, private parties and dancing. You can hop onboard at the intersection of Dock Street and Water Streets.
If you are solely going to Western Carolina, then fly into Charlotte International Airport because it's about 2 1-2 hours from the mountains, and it's cheap to fly there. If you're going to the East, head to Raleigh Durham International, it is in the center of the state.
Hiking, biking, rafting, driving, they're all options for travelers visiting this state. I'd suggest taking a car, so you'll be able to reach the ski slopes, or the mountain trails, because there are not that many public transport options up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, or anywhere else for that matter.
They have beaches you can drive right on. Some realty places have special houses you have to have 4 wheel drive to get to.
Nags Head, $25.00 Fee Required.
By car. And I couldn't help but include this picture of my sister's boyfriend (at least right now)that she took...I just think it is a cool picture.
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