May 8-19, 2023
From the mountains to the beaches, this tour includes the best of both Carolinas. Highlights include the Outer Banks, Hatteras Light House, dolphin cruise, Myrtle Beach, Brookgreen Gardens, Ft Sumter, Charleston, Boone Hall Plantation, Billy Graham Library, and the Biltmore Estate.
Day 1: Make yourself comfortable as we get acquainted with our traveling friends. We make it east of St. Louis for the night.
Day 2: Today we drive east through the beautiful hills of Kentucky. This afternoon, enjoy viewing the well-kept horse farms and barns among the rolling hills. By evening, we are in West Virginia. (B)
Day 3: Today we have a beautiful drive as the Appalachian Mountains serve as our backdrop through West Virginia and Virginia. This morning we visit Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mt. Airy. By evening we check into our oceanfront hotel on the Outer Banks for 2 nights. (B)
Day 4: This morning a local guide will join us in exploring the Outer Banks' different state parks and lighthouses. The Outer Banks is where a man broke the bonds of gravity to fly for the first time. At the Wright Brothers National Memorial, you can walk to the very site where Orville and Wilbur left the ground in 1903. (B)
Day 5: Today we continue to explore the Outer Banks with a local guide. This morning enjoy a tour of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore on the Outer Banks, comprised of over 100 miles of remote, unspoiled barrier island beaches, known for pirates, shipwrecks, and hurricanes. See Bodie Lighthouse and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which still guard these waters known as the graveyard of the Atlantic. A couple of ferries serve as our transportation today as we go from island to island on the Outer Banks. Truly a day to be remembered! After leaving the islands, we arrive in Morehead City, NC for our overnight. (B)
Day 6: Today we continue down the coast. This afternoon in the small town of Calabash, we board a boat and run through the intercoastal waterway and IF WEATHER PERMITS, pull right alongside a working shrimp boat. Our knowledgeable guide explains shrimping while we watch the fishermen harvest those delicacies. If the weather does not permit the shrimping, we will have a chance to see many species of birds that live along the coastal waterways. Late afternoon, we continue to Myrtle Beach and check into our oceanfront property. You can watch the waves roll in or enjoy a walk on the white sandy beaches. (B, L)
Day 7: Brookgreen Gardens was the first public sculpture garden in the US, founded in 1931. Our guide shows us some of the 560 sculptures in the gardens, sitting among the great alley of live oaks. Next, we make our way to Charleston Harbor where we explore the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier on a guided tour. You are on your own to visit the exhibits at your own pace. Lunch is included in the ship’s galley, just as the sailors would have eaten! We enjoy a relaxing boat ride on our way to Fort Sumter. At this interesting National Monument, we learn more about this island, where the first shot of the Civil War was fired. We check into our hotel in Charleston, SC for 2 nights. (B, L)
Day 8: With our local guide, we learn about this old city and how Charleston developed into a vigorous port and a prosperous and fashionable Colonial city in the mid-1700s. It still carries the gracious air of the old South. Lunch is on your own at the Historic Farmer’s Market. You have time to enjoy the market with its many shops and restaurants. A tour to the south should include a visit to an old plantation. We visit one of America’s oldest working plantations, growing crops for over 330 years, the Boone Hall Plantation. The day includes a tour of the mansion, a tractor ride tour of the grounds, and a live presentation in the Gullah Theater. (B)
Day 9: It’s time to leave the beaches and head inland. Arriving in Charlotte, NC, our adventure for the afternoon is NASCAR. A local guide joins us for a tour of the Hendrick Motorsports & Museum and Charlotte Motor Speedway. We take a lap on the track (schedule permitting) and visit Dale Earnhardt’s hometown. Our overnight stay is in Charlotte, NC. (B)
Day 10: This morning we visit the beautiful Billy Graham Library. Learn how a decision in the fall of 1934 impacted this farm boy’s life and many lives across the globe. Lunch is included at the library before traveling into Asheville for a visit to The Biltmore Estate. Beginning in 1890, it took an army of stonecutters and artisans five years to construct the Biltmore House. When they were done, it was the largest private home in America, as it remains today. This 255-room mansion still stands in the remote majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. (B, L)
Day 11: Today we are back on the road, viewing the scenery along the Cumberland Plateau as we travel west into the St Louis area for our last night. (B)
Day 12: Our motor coach carries us toward home, across Missouri and Kansas. We can enjoy visiting and sharing memories we have made in the Carolinas. It has been 12 great days of experiences that we won’t soon forget. (B)