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Consisting of three individual regions, this state has much to offer its visitors and can easily be roamed by using car hire in North Carolina. Its coast is lined with beaches and the seaside city of Wilmington is a haven for beach lovers, while Ashville is nestled between the mountains and is fantastic for art lovers. The state capital, Raleigh, was recently ranked as ‘America’s Best City’, and North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte, is filled with shopping, dining and stunning architecture.
Popular suppliers such as Hertz, Avis and National have locations in all major cities within the state, including Raleigh, Charlotte and Wilmington as well as at all main air hubs. This makes organising a vehicle painless, but it is recommended to compare car hire early to ensure the best rates.
Raleigh-Durham Airport, situated 4.5 miles northeast of Raleigh, serves flights arriving from Cancun, Toronto and from main hubs throughout the US. A wider selection of flights is available at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Amtrak trains that leave New York and head for Georgia and Florida stop in North Carolina, and Greyhound buses also arrive in major cities throughout the state. Interstate highways run in all directions within North Carolina, connecting it north to Virginia, south to South Carolina, southwest to Georgia and west to Tennessee.
Driving is the best way to explore North Carolina, as public transport is limited. Remember to drive on the right and to avoid driving in the city centres during rush hours. Interstate highways have a maximum speed limit of 65mph, although in some stretches this is raised to 70mph.
Raleigh itself has much to offer and is worth spending a few days in before arranging car rental in North Carolina and continuing on. Head for Concord to stroll through its historic district, see a race at the speedway or shop in Concord Mills, the largest mall in the state. Ocean Isle Beach is popular among families hoping to soak up the sun, while Cashiers is a mecca for recreational activities such as skiing, climbing and hiking.
Weather in North Carolina is as diverse as its regions. It is warmest along the coast and coldest in the mountains. In July expect highs of 33°C along the coast, 31°C in the capital and 26°C in the mountains. January is the coldest month, with the lowest temperature being 2°C along the coast, -1°C in Raleigh and -6°C in the mountains.