Car Rental at Raleigh Airport
Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina and home to North Carolina State University, make up one of the state’s Research Triangle area, the other two being Durham, home to Duke University, and Chapel Hill, home to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dubbed the ‘City of Oaks’, it was named after Sir Walter Raleigh who set up a Roanoke Colony in what is now known as Dare County. Driving your car rental at Raleigh Airport is easy as North Carolina’s capital was laid out in a grid pattern from the very start. The greater urban area is served by Raleigh-Durham International Airport which lies about 15 miles north of downtown Raleigh.
Not only is the Research Triangle home to many higher educational and cultural institutions, the area is also renowned for its collection of historic sites that were spared from the devastation of the American Civil War. Of note is Andrew Johnson’s (the 17th US president) boyhood log cabin in Raleigh. The remains of pre-Civil War Stagville Plantation in Durham, about 30 minutes northwest by car hire from Raleigh Airport, also hosts an 18th century mansion, slave houses, and timber-framed barns and farmers’ houses.
The Triangle is often confused with the Triad which refers to the cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point. While the Triangle is more of a modern creation, the Triad is historic. Apart from the legacy left by 18th century German-speaking Moravians at Bethabara Park, Winston-Salem’s West End Historic District offers a look back at how the tobacco and textile barons lived during their heyday. The normally sleepy Greensboro is known as the birthplace of author O. Henry as well as the place where the 1960s sit-ins occurred. If you plan to bring a piece of furniture back home, it would be a great idea to shop for one in High Point which bills itself as the furniture capital of the world. Your one way car rental from Raleigh Airport can be dropped off at the Piedmont Triad International Airport about an hour and a half to the west.
North Carolina’s backcountry beckons with the Great Smoky Mountains, three hours to the west of the state’s largest city, Charlotte, using rental cars from Raleigh Airport. A portmanteau of Cherokee and Nantahala forests through which the skyway passes, the Cherohala Skyway runs for 43 miles on the crest of the Great Smoky Mountains and ends at Tellico Plains in Tennessee. This route is extremely popular in autumn when the foliage erupts in mesmerizing colors, and among fans of the poet Joyce Kilmer who has a swath of forest dedicated to him. One way car rentals in Raleigh Airport can be dropped off at Pitt-Greenville Airport two hours northeast of the plains.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Your Raleigh Airport car rental will be put to good use on the more popular and well-worn road from North Carolina to Virginia: The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway connects the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia via the latter’s 105-mile Skyline Drive. There are plenty of junctions along the way should you decide to abandon the rest of the route, and depending on where you make your exit, you can either drop off your one way car rental at Asheville Regional Airport in Fletcher, NC, or at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport in Virginia. If you continue on to Front Royal, the northern terminus of the Skyline Drive, with your one way car hire at Raleigh Airport, the closest drop off point is at Washington Dulles International Airport an hour to the east.
North Carolina’s coast is dubbed as the ‘Outer Banks’ due to its line of barrier islands that overlook the Atlantic Ocean. Not more than five hours to the east by Raleigh Airport car hire, the string of islands itself measures 200 miles but only 66 miles are accessible via the national scenic byway. There is a plethora of marine wildlife, wind-swept dunes, tidal marshes and abandoned beaches, and about 21 coastal villages where you can stop for lodging and provisions. The most famous of them all is Kitty Hawk from where the first flying machine took to the air successfully. A bigger beach with public access is the 70-mile Cape Hatteras National Seashore otherwise notorious for its strong currents. To drop off your one way car rental in Raleigh Airport, drive two hours to the north for Virginia’s Norfolk International Airport.