Affordable Guide to a Road Trip across the Appalachian Wilderness

Myrtle Beach to WV on a Budget: Appalachian Road Trip Guide

Your Affordable Guide to a Road Trip across the Appalachian Wilderness

Winter Whispers, Adventure Calls

Embark on a road trip that begins with the sun-kissed sands of Myrtle Beach, steering you through the heart of the Appalachian wilderness. Behind the wheel of your trusty vehicle, an unassuming yet reliable companion, you’re more than just a traveler – you’re an adventurer charting a course through the diverse tapestry of the East Coast. This journey from the bustling boardwalks of Myrtle Beach to the serene and snowy peaks of West Virginia is a tale of discovery and delight.

As we traverse state lines, each stop unfolds like a chapter in a storybook, where quaint eateries serve up local flavors and each view is a picturesque postcard of the region’s splendor. From the hidden culinary gems of Winston-Salem to the awe-inspiring vistas of Pilot Mountain State Park, this expedition is a testament to the beauty and variety of the Appalachian range.

With every mile, we uncover the understated charm of small towns and the unbridled beauty of nature. We’ll experience the cozy hospitality of West Virginia’s Greenbrier Drive, revel in the thrill of affordable skiing at Winterplace Ski Resort, and marvel at the cascading waters of Pipestem Falls Park. This journey is a thoughtfully curated tribute to the budget-conscious traveler seeking the essence of the east coast Appalachian spirit.

Let’s kick-start this budget-friendly escapade!

Day 1

📍Stop 1: Winston-Salem

Lunch at Yamas Mediterranean Street Food, Winston-Salem, NC

Exterior view of Yamas Mediterranean Street Food in Winston-Salem, a culinary delight awaits (Road Trip)
Credit: Megan Parker
Delicious spread at Yamas Mediterranean Street Food Baklava, Rice Pudding, Salad, Grain Bowls (Chicken & Lamb), Kombucha, and Root Beer
Credit: Megan Parker

Halfway through your road trip, Winston-Salem, NC, welcomes you with a flavorful embrace. Yamas Mediterranean Street Food is a culinary oasis where the salad grain bowl is a symphony of tastes and textures. Indulge in their delightful blend of lentils, lemon rice, and arugula, adorned with feta mousse and mixed olives. But the true star is their homemade “Crazy Bill’s” rice pudding – an extraordinary concoction that’s simply amazing. Catering to all palates, including gluten-free and vegetarian, this stop is a refreshing culinary delight, perfect for recharging your adventurous spirit.

🕛 Yamas is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.,

🍴 Meals range from $10-20 per person.

📍Stop 2: Pilot Mountain State Park

Sunset at the Summit

At the Pilot Mountain overlook, a serene sunset bathes the sky in a spectrum of oranges and purples, casting a peaceful glow over the unique geological formations and verdant valleys below (Road Trip) (Vacation)
Credit: Megan Parker
The sunset at Pilot Mountain's overlook presents a breathtaking scene, with the sun dipping below the horizon, its rays creating a dramatic interplay of light and shadow over the rugged landscape.
Credit: Megan Parker
A captivating sunset at the overlook on Pilot Mountain, where the sky blazes with brilliant shades of orange and pink, illuminating the majestic landscape and the distinctive peak of the mountain.
Credit: Megan Parker

Before you trek up I-77 in Virginia and West Virginia, you’ll want to make your way to enjoy a sunset or scenic break at Pilot Mountain State Park.  This scenic detour includes a 2-mile ascent to the summit parking lot, where you’re treated to a spectacular sunset view. It’s an ideal spot for a quick potty break and to stretch your legs, all while soaking in the mesmerizing dusk colors draped over the Appalachian landscape. This serene moment marks a perfect pause in your road trip, allowing you to savor the tranquil beauty of nature.

🕛 Pilot Mountain State Park is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is free of charge.

📍Stop 3: Wytheville, VA and Bluefield, WV

Drive inside of a Mountain

A captivating photo of the Big Walker Tunnel, featuring its sturdy, historic structure as it carves through the rugged mountain terrain, framed by lush greenery and a clear, expansive sky (Road Trip) (Vacation)
Credit: Megan Parker

Next, embark on a journey through time as you traverse the Big Walker Mountain and East River Mountain Tunnels in Wytheville, VA. Both over 50 years old, these tunnels create an almost sci-fi movie-like experience, enveloping you in a sense of time travel as you navigate towards the West Virginian border.

🕛 The tunnels are open 24/7, and are free of charge.

📍Stop 4: Hinton, WV

A photo of a 1930s vintage chandelier in a Greenbrier Avenue Airbnb, displaying intricate designs and elegant crystal hangings, casting a warm, ambient light in a charmingly decorated room
Credit: Megan Parker
Cozy 1930s Airbnb living room, bathed in soft, ambient light, exudes vintage charm and comfort
Credit: Megan Parker
Vintage radio adds a nostalgic touch to the 1930s Airbnb living room's decor.
Credit: Megan Parker
A 1930s-style kitchen in the Greenbrier Avenue Airbnb, featuring a classic checkerboard floor, retro appliances, and period-appropriate decor, creating an inviting, nostalgic atmosphere.
Credit: Megan Parker
Elegant stained glass flower window decor graces the 1930s Airbnb living room with vibrant colors and timeless beauty.
Credit: Megan Parker

Rest your head at a charming Airbnb on Greenbrier Drive in Hinton, WV. Built in the 1930s, this historic home blends a sense of yesteryear with modern comforts. It offers all the essential amenities for a cozy stay, including a well-equipped kitchen and one and a half bathrooms. The Airbnb’s timeless charm is complemented by notable features such as a classic bathtub, perfect for unwinding after a day of adventure, and traditional radiator heaters that add to its quaint and inviting ambiance​​.

🛌 Greenbrier Drive stay starts at $79 per night.

Summit couples selfie at Winterplace Conquering the peak with a triumphant smile! (Road Trip)
Credit: Megan Parker
Snowboarder carving up the slopes at Winterplace
Credit: Megan Parker
Winter Getaway (Vacation)
Credit: Megan Parker
Winter Getaway
Credit: Megan Parker

As your winter road trip adventure continues, a visit to Winterplace Ski Resort in Ghent, WV, becomes an essential chapter in your story. Nestled just a short five-minute drive from I-77 at Exit 28, this resort is acclaimed as the top destination in the Southeast for learning to ski and snowboard. Embrace the winter spirit with 17 open trails and summit access, offering a variety of experiences for all skill levels. Whether it’s skiing, snowboarding, or engaging in the thrill of tubing, Winterplace is a quintessential stop in your guide to a memorable winter vacation. Here, amidst the snow-covered slopes, your journey turns into an exhilarating escapade of snowy adventures.

Insider Tip:  For thrill-seekers, the 5-7 PM snow tubing segment promises an adrenaline rush akin to Clark Griswold’s iconic sleigh ride in ‘Christmas Vacation’.

Day 3

📍Stop 6: Pipestem, WV

Pipestem Falls Park, nestled just off the main road, offers more than just a scenic detour – it’s a dive into West Virginia’s rich history and natural elegance. This charming spot, where a serene waterfall cascades gently, is not only a testament to nature’s beauty but also a reflection of the area’s past. The falls, named after the Pipestem plant native to the region, have been a silent witness to the passage of time, echoing tales from days gone by. A visit to this tranquil haven is a moment to connect with the timeless spirit of West Virginia, making it a delightful and enriching stop on your road trip.

🕛 Pipestem Falls Park is open 24/7, and is free of charge, although I wouldn’t venture too far after sunset due to steep rocks!

📍Stop 7: Fayetteville, WV

Grab a bite at Pies & Pints

In the heart of Fayetteville, WV, Pies & Pints emerges as a culinary haven, not just for its renowned pizzas and craft beers, but also for its inclusive menu. Alongside their gluten-free crust options, they offer an array of vegan and vegetarian choices, ensuring that every guest, regardless of dietary preferences, can indulge in the flavors of artisanal pizza. Paired with unique draft beers and root beer from Bridge Brew Works, a local gem in brewing, Pies & Pints stands as a must-visit spot for food enthusiasts. Nestled near the New River Gorge National Park, it’s an ideal location to unwind and enjoy the local culinary delights.

🕛 Open Sunday – Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

🕛 Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

🍴 meals range from $10-20 per person.

Day 4

📍Stop 8: Pinnacle, NC

Hike Pilot Knob Trail

Before wrapping up your Appalachian adventure, the Pilot Knob Trail in Pinnacle, NC, calls for a final exploration. This trail, nestled at the summit of Pilot Mountain State Park. The trail, starting near the large parking area and well-equipped restrooms, leads you directly towards the iconic Pilot Mountain pinnacle. As you embark on the .8-mile Pilot Knob Trail also knowns as “Jomeokee Trail”, you’ll descend stone steps and head towards the towering rock formation.

The path then splits, forming a loop around the massive monadnock. Opt to journey clockwise around the loop, hugging the cliff face, where you’re treated to continuous, breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, especially striking in the winter. The height allows the faint hum of distant traffic to blend with nature’s tranquility. For an even more immersive experience, take the side trail to the little pinnacle overlook, offering exceptional views of the big pinnacle. This trail not only offers a physical stretch but also a moment to reflect and absorb the natural beauty of the Appalachian wilderness​​.

🕛 Pilot Mountain State Park is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and is free of charge.

📍Stop 9: Winston Salem

Eat at Yamas Mediterranean Street Food

As your journey nears its end, Yamas Mediterranean Street Food in Winston-Salem, at their Creekshire location, stands as the perfect final stop. Here, you can indulge in a meal that caters to a variety of dietary preferences, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. It’s an opportunity to gather your thoughts and reminisce about your travels while enjoying dishes that embody both healthfulness and flavor. 

This last meal before home not only satisfies your hunger but also serves as a gentle transition back to everyday life, all while maintaining the inclusivity of your dietary needs.

As you return to the familiar sands of Myrtle Beach, the memories of traversing through the Appalachian wilderness linger on. This budget-friendly escapade, from the sun-kissed shores to the snow-capped peaks of West Virginia, has been a tapestry of picturesque landscapes, culinary discoveries, and heartwarming experiences. Embrace these moments as treasures of travel, for they are the stories you’ll recount with a smile, long after the road has ended.

Megan Parker

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Megan Parker, Marketing Director at Coastal Insider, is a seasoned videographer and photographer residing in Market Common with her family, including her son Bodhi. A Coastal Carolina University alumna, Megan combines her experience in domestic and international fashion photography with her marketing skills, creating a structured and dynamic approach that drives her professional success.

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