The coastal region of North and South Carolina offers the perfect place for a beachside road trip. Whether you’re looking for historic charm, tourist towns or quiet beaches, the Carolinas have it all! Check out this 4-night suggested itinerary of the Carolinas to help plan your next road trip.
Map of a Carolina Coast Itinerary from Drive the Nation

1. Charleston, SC (1 Day/Night)

Steeple in Charleston, SCStart your Carolina Coast Road Trip in the historic city of Charleston, SC. Situated on the Charleston Harbor, the city offers exceptional cultural attractions, restaurants and more.

Take a historic homes tour, browse the shops on Kings Street, tour Fort Sumter or explore the South Carolina Aquarium. No matter what you’re in the mood for, Charleston offers wonderful activities for travelers of all ages.

Find a last-minute hotel deal in Charleston, SC.

2. Myrtle Beach, SC (1 Day/Night)

Sand and Surf in Myrtle Beach, SCLocated less than 2 hours north of Charleston along U.S. 17, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is an iconic American beach town. In addition to the miles of Atlantic Coast oceanfront to enjoy, visitors to Myrtle Beach find tons of attractions to entertain themselves.

Opt for a day on the putting green, whether you love miniature golf or the nearby championship courses; experience a thrilling ride at a local waterpark, boardwalk or amusement park; hunt for souvenirs at local beach stores, and much more when you visit Myrtle Beach.

It’s easy to find hotel deals in Myrtle Beach – just use our helpful coupon book!

3. Wilmington, NC (1 Day/Night)

View of Wilmington, NC from the Cape Fear RiverContinue north on U.S. 17 for about one hour and 20 minutes until you reach Wilmington, North Carolina, fondly called “The Hollywood of The East” due to the number of movies and TV shows filmed there.

There are so many things to do in Wilmington. You could shop in the Cotton Exchange, an old cotton mill that now serves as a unique shopping center along the Cape Fear River. Explore the Battleship North Carolina. Visit nearby beach towns for antiquing and sunbathing. Or, take a tour of your favorite film/TV locations, including Iron Man 3, One Tree Hill, The Conjuring, Dawson’s Creek, Cape Fear, numerous Nicholas Sparks films, and many more. Don’t forget to grab a bite at Slice of Life pizza on Market Street.

Then, stay the night at a convenient hotel in Wilmington, NC before heading north to Beaufort the next day.

4. Beaufort, NC (1 Day/Night)

Wild Horses on the Beach Near Beaufort, NCTwo hours north of Wilmington, Beaufort, NC offers a quieter small town experience in the beautiful Outer Banks.

We highly recommend a boat ride to Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve or Shackleford Banks, where you can see wild horses roaming coastal islands. A trip to Cape Lookout will provide an afternoon at the beach and a visit to one of the oldest lighthouses in the region. You may also want to visit the North Carolina Maritime Museum, or simply walk the historic streets of Beaufort.

Find a hotel deal in Beaufort, NC.