Best time to visit North Carolina

Best time to visit North Carolina

temperature & rainfall

Click on a location: Mountains > | Piedmont > | Coast >
Peak season runs from late May to August, coinciding with the fiercest heat and the school vacations. Late March-mid May have much more bearable temperatures, lower humidity, fewer crowds and possibly cheaper rates. The summer heat is tempered by coastal breezes and mountain air, while the ocean keeps winters mild on the coast at around 15C though the mountains can experience snow. The Appalachians protect the state from the worst of the continental winter, with cold fronts rarely making it across this natural barrier.

When not to visit North Carolina

What to avoid, & when

  • Temperatures in July and August soar over 32C this is not the best time to visit North Carolina if you are planning to do anything other than flop on a beach. The Piedmont region being inland but below the mountains sees the hottest summers.
  • June-November is the official hurricane season along the coast. While big storms are rare (roughly one every three to four years), August and September are the most likely months for them to occur.
  • Winters are generally mild particularly along the coast but snow does fall inland, particularly on the mountains, but often as far west as Raleigh and Greensboro.
  • Tornadoes can occur in any month, but are particularly likely in spring. Though youre unlikely to find yourself in trouble, do keep an eye on weather warnings and ask your hosts what precautions to take if one should pass through.
  • Sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway may be closed during the winter particularly the rock-hewn tunnels, which are prone to icing over. The highest points of the route, near Mount Pisgah, may also be closed from November to April due to the risks posed by snow and fog.

What happens when in North Carolina

Our recommendations

Arthur Campbell, from our supplier Spring House Farm, says September and October are his favourite months to be in North Carolina because of the autumn burst of colour: Itll come on in August slowly, then by September its really coming in. And its absolutely beautiful. We are slammed busy here with what they call the leaf peepers the folks that come up and travel around and see the trees; its a beautiful time here for sure. Its a nice break from the heat of the summertime, the leaves are starting to change colour and the nights are beginning to get colder. Its not just visual, its a smell, too. People start getting fires going in their fireplaces, so you smell this great hickory and oak wood smoke just wafting through the mountains. Its a sensory overload, thats for sure. Its a wonderful time.
Duncan McCubbin, from North Carolina Tourism, shares his best time to visit North Carolina: My favourite times are late April through May and June, and then Sep and Oct they are just perfect temperature wise. Theres not huge humidity, but if you go in July and August, its topping 100, it is more humid, it depends how much you like the heat. On the coast you get a breeze which does make it feel a bit cooler, and in the mountains you get the mountain air and its cooler at night. But humidity still exists and if you want to go mountain biking or hiking, if its 100 degrees (38C) plus, its not as pleasant as if its 85 (29C)!

Festivals & events in North Carolina

Our cultural pick from the North Carolina calendar

Did you know about...?

The National Folk Festival
This all-American celebration of arts, culture and heritage takes place each September and Greensboro has been chosen as the host city for 2015, 2016 and 2017. The festival dates back 75 years and entry is free check out music and dance, crafts and workshops, storytelling and Southern cuisine over three days.
Photo credits: [Temp chart background - sunset: Mary Anne Baker] [Arthur Campbell: Jeff Gunn] [The National Folk Festival: -ted]
Written by Vicki Brown
Blue Ridge Mountains lodge in North Carolina

Blue Ridge Mountains lodge in North Carolina

Secluded log cabin retreat set in acres of rolling woodlands

From US $245 per cabin per night
Shelling, clamming & crabbing tour in Crystal coast, North Carolina

Shelling, clamming & crabbing tour in Crystal coast, North Carolina

Experience the abundance of marine life on the Crystal Coast

From US $300 1 (half day - 1 day)
Smoky Mountain eco accommodation

Smoky Mountain eco accommodation

Secluded nature retreat vacation home in the Smoky Mountains

From US $35 per person per night
Big Mill B&B nr Williamston in North Carolina, USA

Big Mill B&B nr Williamston in North Carolina, USA

Original farmstead lodging amid acres of farmland and forest

From US $89 per accommodation per night
Weaverville Inn nr Asheville, North Carolina

Weaverville Inn nr Asheville, North Carolina

Friendly Victorian bed and breakfast in artsy Weaverville

From US $139 per double room per night
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