16 days in North Carolina Mountains Itinerary

16 days in North Carolina Mountains Itinerary

Created using Inspirock North Carolina Mountains travel planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Banner Elk
— 3 nights
Drive
2
Asheville
— 5 nights
Drive
3
Cherokee
— 4 nights
Drive
4
Highlands
— 3 nights
Fly

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Banner Elk

— 3 nights
Banner Elk is a town in Avery County, North Carolina, United States. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Banner Elk: Blowing Rock (Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Zipline, &more). There's much more to do: admire the natural beauty at Grandfather Mountain Nursery Garden Center, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Grandfather Mountain, learn about winemaking at Grandfather Vineyard & Winery, and admire all the interesting features of Rough Ridge Lookout.

To find where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, you can read our Banner Elk trip maker.

New Orleans to Banner Elk is an approximately 5-hour flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. You'll lose 1 hour traveling from New Orleans to Banner Elk due to the time zone difference. Traveling from New Orleans in May, plan for cooler nights in Banner Elk, with lows around 49°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) early enough to drive to Asheville.

Things to do in Banner Elk

Parks · Wildlife · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trips

Asheville

— 5 nights

Land of the Sky

Asheville nestles between two major mountain ranges in the scenic western section of North Carolina.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Asheville: DuPont State Recreational Forest (in Cedar Mountain), Zipline (in Lake Lure) and Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park (in Chimney Rock). There's lots more to do: identify plant and animal life at Tumblestone Tours and Transportation, look for gifts at Asheville Bee Charmer, take in nature's colorful creations at Craggy Gardens, and pause for some serene contemplation at Basilica of Saint Lawrence.

To find more things to do, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Asheville trip planner.

You can drive from Banner Elk to Asheville in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus. Traveling from Banner Elk in May, you will find days in Asheville are a bit warmer (75°F), and nights are about the same (53°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Cherokee.

Things to do in Asheville

Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trips

Cherokee

— 4 nights

Trails of Legends and Adventures

The center of Cherokee culture in the eastern part of the country, the town named after this Native American tribe serves as a base camp for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Cherokee: Maggie Valley (Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum, Soco Craft & Tower, &more) and Bryson City (Tsali Recreation Area, River Rafting & Tubing, &more). There's still lots to do: try your luck at Casino at Harrah’s Cherokee, get engrossed in the history at Swain County Heritage Museum, see the interesting displays at Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and take in the dramatic scenery at Mingo Falls.

To see ratings, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, use the Cherokee online day trip planner.

Traveling by car from Asheville to Cherokee takes 1.5 hours. In June, plan for daily highs up to 81°F, and evening lows to 59°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Highlands.

Things to do in Cherokee

Outdoors · Museums · Nature · Parks

Side Trips

Highlands

— 3 nights
Highlands is an incorporated town in Macon County in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Highlands: Southern Highlands Reserve (in Lake Toxaway) and Whitewater Falls (in Sapphire). There's lots more to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Dry Falls, take in the dramatic natural features at Sunset Rock and Ravenel Park, walk around The Village Green, and take in the exciting artwork at The Bascom.

For photos, more things to do, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Highlands tour planner.

You can drive from Cherokee to Highlands in 1.5 hours. In June, plan for daily highs up to 81°F, and evening lows to 59°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sat) to allow time to fly back home.

Things to do in Highlands

Parks · Nature · Shopping · Museums

Side Trips

North Carolina Mountains travel guide

4.5
Historic Sites · Zipline · River Rafting & Tubing
Called the "Land of the Blue Mist" by the Cherokee Indians, the North Carolina Smoky Mountains are one of the world's most biologically diverse wilderness areas. The vast national park sheltering the native wildlife of these ancient mountains offers a close look at the area's nature and its people. A perfect spot for a tranquil vacation, the blue-misted mountains are one of the country's few World Heritage Sites, protecting the largest old-growth forest east of the Mississippi River. Things to do for adventurous visitors include whitewater rafting and river tubing, while those interested in more urbane entertainment can explore the area's many small towns on the 750 km (470 mi) scenic road meandering over the mountains.