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Sandwiched between Georgia and Virginia, the Carolina states boast a vast and varied geography.From flat coastal plains to moss-draped oak trees and verdant rolling hills, here the accents are thicker than elsewhere in the South and the residents of the numerous sleepy old towns hold their traditions close. Road trip through the Carolinas.

Planning to visit America’s East Coast? Here’s where to visit on a road trip through the Carolinas.

MYRTLE BEACH

The largest resort along South Carolina’s Grand Strand, stretching 60 miles along the Atlantic coast, Myrtle Beach offers a quintessentially kitsch beach vacation. During the summer months the town’s amusements, water parks, and restaurants come alive as visitors flock to relax on the silky white sand that fringes the city.

If you’re planning to add a coastal drive to your road-tripping route make the most of your time by the sea and book an ocean-front hotel in Myrtle Beach.

RALEIGH

North Carolina’s capital, Raleigh, thanks to the wealth of free-to-see sights and activities in the city, is known as the “Smithsonian of the South.” Home to the state’s biggest farmers markets and a heap of farm-to-fork eateries, in a single block of the city you can see pieces of Blackbeard’s pirate ship and the bones of a real dinosaur, for free.

Then you can sample one of the famous barbecue sandwiches at Cooper’s before soaking in the wealth of exhibits at the Museum of Natural Sciences.

ASHEVILLE

Hip Asheville is a North Carolina mountain town with an alternative approach to life. Home to America’s largest private residence, the châteauesque Biltmore Estate, which was built between 1889 and 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt II, this atmosphere of eccentricity has filtered down into the microbreweries and stylish Southern eateries that line its streets.

Choose from a range of stylish hotels in downtown Asheville or on the fringes of the city where the alpine views are sublime.

CHARLOTTE

The biggest, and most modern, city in the state of North Carolina, Charlotte has become a melting pot of cultures from both America and further afield. Standing apart from so many urban centers, its love of the ultramodern has driven a growth unlike any city in the USA.

Here, high-concept bars, chic loft apartments, museums, and public art installations line Uptown. For visitors, it is recommended to check into one of the many boutique hotels in Charlotte that offer a new take on “Old South charm.”

COLUMBIA

In Columbia, tradition and tomorrow pair perfectly. A creative hub that is home to university and capital city communities, Downtown is abuzz with activity and surrounded by pristine natural landscapes.

Situated in the centre of South Carolina, the city is the ideal base for road trippers looking for an opportunity to indulge in an affordable Columbia hotel stay. Activities include the Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens and the South Carolina State Museum.

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A lively addition to any East Coast USA road trip, the states of South Carolina and North Carolina are a must for anyone in search of true Southern hospitality. The five cities listed above are just a few of my favourites! Leave your own suggestions and recommendations in the comments below.

This post is part of Trip.com’s City Stories series.

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