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North Carolina Travel Guide

North Carolina — Weather

There are basically three climate zones in North Carolina. The coast enjoys the mildest year-round weather, tempered by the Atlantic Ocean. Summer highs rarely break the 90°F barrier, while winters are in the pleasant 60s (°F) range. The center of the state is the Piedmont region, characterized by slightly cooler temperatures in the winter that stick in the 40s (°F) between December and February. Snow falls a few times each winter on the Piedmont cities like Charlotte and Raleigh, but rarely sticks around on the ground for long. Summers can be quite hot in this region, staying in the 90s (°F) most days.

The western mountains of the Appalachians experience the coldest weather in North Carolina. Daytime highs during the winter rarely get much above 40°F and drop below freezing at night. Between 15 and 30 inches of snow fall each winter in the mountains, but summers are pleasantly mild with temperatures rarely rising much above 80°F. Hurricanes are possibility along the coast of North Carolina, typically hitting in August and September. The state also sees an average of 20 tornadoes every spring and summer. It’s recommended that travelers keep abreast of the current weather forecasts when traveling during these months.

Best Time to Visit North Carolina

North Carolina has great weather all year round, so the prime months to visit really just depend on where you plan to go. The coast and the mountains are wonderful in the summer and fall for outdoor travel, while the central Piedmont region is at its best in early summer (May to June) and fall (late September to October). If skiing is on the agenda, the western mountain ski resorts hit their peak in January and February. The most popular season in North Carolina is probably the fall due to amazing display of color put on by its mountains of hardwood trees. The only sub-par weather in the state comes in the spring months of March and April, as the weather tends to be temperamental and a bit chilly. But spring is when you can find great deals on hotel rooms throughout the state, from the beaches to the mountain towns.

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