Despite enjoying relatively mild winters in Cary, it’s not unheard of to be hit with snow and ice every once in a while. When winter weather has you feeling cooped up in the Triangle, we recommend planning a road trip along one of these beautiful North Carolina roadways!
Outer Banks National Scenic Byway
Just over three hours from Cary, the Outer Banks is a sunny haven for snowbirds chasing those beach cravings midwinter. The Outer Banks National Scenic Byway provides the perfect opportunity for a road trip along North Carolina’s coastline. Beginning up north at Whalebone Junction in Nags Head, the byway traverses Hatteras and Ocracoke Island before ending in Carteret County.
Along the way, be sure to stop at Bodie Island Lighthouse, the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and Ocracoke Island to spot the wild ponies.
Blue-Gray Scenic Byway
An 82-mile scenic byway that follows the path of Civil War General Johnston through Johnson, Wayne, Lenoir, and Jones counties, the Blue-Gray Scenic Byway takes just a few hours to complete if you plan to stop at the area’s historic landmarks.
The byway starts at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Park, which is about an hour southeast of Cary. Bentonville Battlefield saw the Civil War’s last full-scale action in 1865, and it was considered the largest battle ever fought in North Carolina. More than 5,000 soldiers died during the battle, but the event slowed Union General William Sherman’s march through the state.
You can also end your journey at the Bentonville Battlefield if you choose to enter the byway at its western terminus near Smithfield at Devil’s Racetrack Road. Regardless of which route you choose, the Blue-Gray Scenic Byway is just a short drive from the Triangle and makes for a great day trip.
A short scenic route requiring just under an hour, the 37-mile Football Road spans from Chapel Hill to Greensboro. It takes its name from the fact that countless football fans have used it to reach University of North Carolina games.
Football Road boasts some amazing pastoral landscapes, including creeks, ponds, and dairy farms. Cyclists and other recreational riders also frequently use it. You’ll even find historic sites dating back to the Revolutionary War, so set aside ample time to get off the beaten track and explore.
North Durham Country Byway
Another short excursion lasting under an hour, North Durham Country Byway meanders along the back roads north of Durham, making it a popular drive for Triangle-area residents. Along the way, discover Durham’s often unseen countryside with its brilliant waterways and historic plantation farmlands.
Be sure to stop at Stagville State Historic Site, one of the largest plantations remaining from the pre-Civil War South. The historic site encourages self-guided tours along the 30,000-acre grounds, which offer glimpses of the past, including the lives of the African-American community enslaved here. In fact, the enslaved people living and toiling on these lands are among the best documented in the South’s history.
Any of these scenic drives offers the perfect chance to cure your cabin fever. How do you escape the winter blues?