Trains, Ferries, Air and Public Transportation


Amtrak service to North Carolina is your gateway to your getaway with 12 daily Amtrak passenger trains serving 25 North Carolina cities. These trains offer daily direct service from New York, New Orleans, Florida, Georgia and points in-between with connections from more than 500 destinations in 46 states; it is now easy to take Amtrak to your favorite North Carolina destination.

For travel within the state of North Carolina the Piedmont Service is for travelers who want to explore the many wonders of North Carolina. There are two round-trips daily between Charlotte and Raleigh; with stops in Kannapolis, Salisbury, Greensboro, High Point, Durham, Burlington and Cary.

You can now travel to the Eastern North Carolina Coast with our connecting NC Thruway Services; one from Greenville to Morehead City, with stops in New Bern and Havelock, and another from Goldsboro to Wilmington with stops in Kinston and Jacksonville. The NC Thruway Service gives more options to explore North Carolina.

You can plan your trip to North Carolina and purchase tickets online at or call 800-USA-RAIL (872-7245). Enjoy your journey on Amtrak.

Air Transportation

North Carolina has 74 publicly owned airports and nearly 300 privately owned. Ten airports have regularly scheduled commercial airline service and three major international airports serve the state, also offering nonstop service from Canada and Europe.

Airports with Scheduled Passenger Service

Coastal Carolina Regional AirportNew
Albert J. Ellis
Wilmington International
Piedmont-Triad International
Raleigh-Durham International Airportbetween Raleigh &
Charlotte-Douglas International
Fayetteville Regional
Asheville Regional


Overview map of North Carolina airports:


Air Canadawww.aircanada.com1-888-247-2262
American Airlineswww.aa.com1-800-433-7300
Jet Blue Airwayswww.jetblue.com1-800-JETBLUE (1-800-538-2583)
Southwest Airlineswww.southwest.com1-800-I-FLY-SWA (1-800-435-9792)
United Airlineswww.united.com1-800-United-1 (1-800-864-8331)
US Airwayswww.usairways.com1-800-428-4322

In North Carolina, the bicycle has the legal status of a vehicle. This means that bicyclists have full rights and responsibilities on the roadway and are subject to the regulations governing the operation of a motor vehicle.

North Carolina traffic laws require bicyclists to ride on the right in the same direction as other traffic, obey all traffic signs and signals and use hand signals to communicate intended movements. Bicyclists must also equip their bicycles with a front lamp visible from 300 feet and a rear reflector that is visible from a distance of 200 feet when riding at night.

Both moped riders and motorcyclists must wear an approved helmet.

Access North Carolina: a Vacation and Travel Guide for Persons with Disabilities provides accessibility rating information regarding many attractions’ parking, entrance, interior, exterior and rest rooms to travelers with disabilities. View this information or call 1-800-VISIT NC (847-4862) to request a free copy. The Americans with Disabilities Act established standards for a variety of properties. Visitors with special needs are encouraged to contact the accommodations or attraction directly to find out their level of accessibility.


Since the mid-1920s, ferries have connected the coastal communities of Eastern North Carolina. Ferries are a fun way – and sometimes the only way – to get around on NC’s coast. Ferries can accommodate pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles and any size car or RV that operates on the highway. Special permits are required for vehicles over 65 feet. Although all routes operate year-round, they are subject to change with weather conditions.

Eight ferry routes operate along the North Carolina coast, linking:

  • Cherry Branch – Minnesott Beach
  • Cedar Island – Ocracoke
  • Southport – Fort Fisher
  • Currituck – Knotts Island
  • Ocracoke – Swan Quarter
  • Currituck – Corolla
  • Aurora – Bayview
  • Ocracoke – Hatteras Island

Additional information available at: or 1-800-BY-FERRY (1-800-293-3779)

Download a ferry schedule. Enjoy a gallery of ferry images.

Public Transportation

Visitors to North Carolina can travel to and within the state using public transportation. All 100 counties are served by some form of public transportation, ranging from seasonal bus routes in mountain communities serving visitors, to urban public transit in major cities, light rail in Charlotte and intercity bus operated by Greyhound and Coach America, which connects communities to the national intercity bus network. For more information on North Carolina public transportation, visit and under “Statewide Local Transit Information” choose your city or county.

Getting around North Carolina is easy.

Here are some essentials for North Carolina land, air and water travel as well as NC-specific information for driving.


North Carolina has the largest state-maintained highway system in the nation, incorporating over 78,600 miles of highways. Five major interstate highways intersect North Carolina: I-26, I-40, I-77, I-85 and I-95.

Rules of the Road

  • Seat belt use is mandatory for drivers and passengers in front and rear seats.
  • Child safety seats are required for children up to age 8 and weighing less than 80 pounds. For information, visit
  • When passing an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the highway shoulder, reduce speed and, if possible move over a lane. When approaching an emergency vehicle on a two-lane highway, motorists must slow down while maintaining a safe speed and approach with caution.
  • If you are in a minor, non-injury accident, move your vehicle to the shoulder of the road.
  • Motorists are required, if they can safely do so, to move one lane away from any law enforcement or other emergency vehicles; on a two-lane highway, motorists must slow down while maintaining a safe speed and approach with caution.
  • Motorists are required to use headlights when using windshield wipers in inclement weather.
  • Right turn on red is permitted after a complete stop, unless otherwise posted. Left turns on red are not permitted.
  • Motorists under the age of 18 are prohibited from talking on any cell phone, hand-held or hands-free, while driving.
  • All motorcycle and moped riders must wear an approved helmet.
  • It is illegal to read or send text messages or e-mails while driving.
  • Cell phone use by drivers younger than 18 is prohibited except in an emergency or when talking to a parent or spouse.

511 Statewide Travel Information

By dialing 511 from a landline or cell phone, visitors can access road conditions, weather updates and other travel-related information. This service also allows access to travel information though the state’s 1-800-VISIT NC (847-4862) information line as well as the NC Department of Transportation’s Rail Division, Ferry Division and other transit agencies.

TIMS is the internet-based version of the 511 information line. TIMS stands for Traveler Information Management System and provides real time information on events that cause severe or unusual congestion on state-maintained roadways in North Carolina. Visit TIMS.

Just need a highway map?

Take a Break

North Carolina’s Welcome Centers and Highway Rest Areas offer opportunities for convenient stops and provide easy roadside access to public restrooms, drinking water and telephones. Welcome Centers also provide picnic tables and grills, family restrooms, even displays of North Carolina arts and crafts. North Carolina Welcome Centers and Visitor Centers are open 8 am to 5 pm daily. Rest Areas are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Welcome Center Information
Map of Rest Areas and Welcome Centers

Car Rental

North Carolina recognizes a valid driver’s license from other countries for hiring and driving a vehicle. If your license is not in English, an International License is suggested. Most rental car companies will require the driver to be at least 25 years of age and will often insist on a credit card; otherwise, a large cash deposit may be required.

Car Rental Companies

1-800 GO ALAMO
1-800-331-1212 domestic
1-800-331-1084 international
1-800-527-0700 domestic
1-800-472-3325 international
Dollar Rent-A-Car
1-800-654-3131 domestic
1-800-654-3001 international
1-800 CAR RENT
1-800-THRIFTY domestic
1-918-669-2168 international
Triangle Rent-A-Car
1-800-643-RENT (7368)

Request your Travel Guide

Download or order FREE guides and maps

Discover Project Project 543

Explore unique spots across North Carolina