My in-laws live in Newport which is pretty close to Morehead City along the coast and we visit them every year. I was also in the Army in Ft Bragg back in the 80's and became pretty fond of North Carolina. So the state pretty much has three sections; the beach area along the coast, the middle (where Bragg is and also Raleigh) and the mountains. I'm from New York so I kinda like the mountains of NC because it reminds me of New York. It's really pretty but you're quite a ride away from the beach. The cool thing about NC is that you still get the seasons although winter is pretty short. Not sure about the car scene but I'm sure some folks here could give you some input. I was thinking about retirement there at some point.