Charlotte is a wonderful town in North Carolina with plenty of exciting things to do. Sometimes though, it is great to get out of the city for the weekend and explore some surrounding areas. You can head to the mountains, and the beach, or visit new towns with even more museums, history, and culture! If you are looking for those perfect weekend trips not far from Charlotte North Carolina, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we have a thrilling list of 27 places surrounding Charlotte to visit and explore. Don’t go away!
Best Weekend Trips From Charlotte, NC
Ok, now let’s get to our list of 27 awesome weekend getaways from Charlotte NC.
1) Charleston, SC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 209 miles
Charleston, South Carolina is a little over a three-hour drive from Charlotte. It is located on South Carolina’s coast, where you will find wonderful waterfront and ocean views. The city is rich with deep Southern rich history and has beautiful cityscapes. Charleston is the oldest and the second largest city in SC, it’s full of wonderful history, and art museums.
Things to Do in Charleston
- Folly Beach- Folly Beach is just 12 miles from the heart of downtown Charleston. It is Charleston’s little slice of heaven. Folly Beach is a hotspot for fishing, surfing, and paddle boarding. It is also a great place to hold all kinds of events and enjoy all kinds of food.
- King St- King Street is one of downtown Charleston’s oldest, and most happening streets. For more than 300 years, King St has provided people with shopping, bars, restaurants, and hotels.
- Carriage Tour- Take a 1-hour horse & carriage sightseeing tour of Charleston. You will follow a scenic route through 30 blocks of this historic city district including many gardens, mansions, and churches.
2) Savannah, GA
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 252 miles
Savannah Georgia is a great weekend getaway, just a 4-hour drive from Charlotte, NC. Just over the border from South Carolina, Savannah is one of Georgia’s most popular coastal towns. Savannah is a charming Southern town, with lots of deep religious history and some of Georgia’s most beautiful architecture. Savannah has been dubbed “America’s First Planned City” as it was the first city planned and mapped into a grid. If you are looking for some amazing traditional Southern food, Savannah is one of the best places to go. Our favorite place for shrimp & grits is at the Boar’s Head Tavern. Highly recommend!
Things to Do In Savannah
- Historic River St- Historic River Street runs for more than a mile down Savannah’s river bank. Right in the historic district, River St is Savannah’s busiest and most popular street to explore. With cobblestones and architectural charm, River St is the place to go for all your shopping and dining needs.
- Forsyth Park- Forsyth Park is a large 30-acre city park in the historic district of Savannah. Take a stroll through the park and find the city’s famous fountain, usually lined with local artists and musicians. Bring your dog for a walk, or grab a blanket to sit on and have a picnic!
3) Asheville, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 130 miles
Asheville is one of North Carolinas most popular cities. Located in the state’s western Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s just a two-hour drive from Charlotte. Asheville is known for its vibrant art culture, and beautiful architectural history. Here, you can find some unique local shops, and see lots of live entertainment. It is a hub of North Carolina, bringing many people together from all walks of life. There is always plenty of fun to be had here for families or good nights out. Definitely add this to your list for awesome weekend getaways from Charlotte.
Things to Do in Asheville
- Biltmore Estate- You may have heard of America’s largest home, the Biltmore Estate. Situated on 8,000 acres, the 175,000-square-foot house has much to be explored. Here you can purchase guided historical tours of the home and the property, go hiking around the land, enjoy the wine, and see special art exhibits. To enjoy the entire estate and everything there is to offer, it would take well over a day, so this is an excellent weekend activity!
- The Omni Grove Park Inn- Built in 1913, the Omni Grove Park Inn is not only a great place to stay, but it is also a wonderful place to explore and enjoy. Located right on Sunset Mountain, this Inn will give you some of the best views of the Blue Ridge Mountains right from your room. If would you like to enjoy a beautiful view at dinner, check out their restaurant Sunset Terrace.
4) Myrtle Beach, SC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 175 miles
Just over 3 and a half hours from Charlotte, Myrtle Beach is a very popular beach destination that thousands of people enjoy every year! Right on the South Carolinas coast, Myrtle Beach has some of the best beaches, amazing restaurants, and lots of entertainment. The white sands expand for 60 miles, giving visitors all of the beach access dreams are made of. It’s a great place for a family vacation or a couple’s romantic weekend getaway.
Things to Do in Myrtle Beach
- Brookgreen Gardens- Since 1931, Brookgreen Gardens has been a community cultural center. The gardens are a melting pot for unique art, history, and enchanting nature. On the 9,127 acres, you can take walks through the botanical gardens that bloom all year round, visit over 2,000 works of sculpture art, have guided historical tours of the property, or even visit the garden’s very own animal rehab facility.
- Skywheel- The skywheel, is much like a carnival ride, but without the speed or the flashing lights and blaring music. This observation wheel is a peaceful, and ever-so-beautiful way to sit back and relax as you are taken 200 feet in the air to see the views from the ocean and the city below. Any trip to Myrtle Beach should include a ride on the Skywheel.
5) Pigeon Forge, TN
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 202 miles
A gorgeous mountain town in Tennessee, Pigeon Forge is about 4 hours from Charlotte. Pigeon Forge is most known for being the home of Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s Appalachian-themed theme park. Here, there is also a strong musical background with lots of live entertainment, and of course, you can’t beat being surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains.
Things to Do in Pigeon Forge
- Dollywood- You can’t visit Pigeon Forge without taking a trip to Dollywood! Voted America’s number 1 theme park (and the most beautiful theme park) Dollywood has over 50 rides, 10 water rides, lots of live entertainment, and holiday-themed shows and events. On the park grounds, there are also gorgeous resorts and cabins to stay in.
- Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster- Built-in 2013, Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is America’s longest downhill track that rides you through the Great Smoky Mountains. This is an epic ride and one that you will never forget! Not only is it beautiful, but it is so much fun.
6) Gatlinburg, TN
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 196 miles
Gatlinburg is another stunning Eastern Tennessee town very close to Pigeon Forge and just about four hours from Charlotte. It is a gateway to the United States’ most visited national park, The Great Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg is an extremely friendly place and such a wonderful escape from a busy lifestyle.
Things to Do in Gatlinburg
- Great Smoky Mountains- The Great Smoky Mountains see around 12-14 million visitors every year, and for good reason! There are many spectacular hiking trails and some jaw-dropping views of America’s oldest mountain range. From camping to hiking, to fishing and swimming, the possibilities are endless on the 522,000-acre woodlands. The Great Smoky Mountains are what make Gatlinburg so beautiful, and what makes the area such a wonderful place to visit.
- Gatlinburg Skylift Park- Gatlinburg’s Skylift Park is an iconic experience and Gatlinburg’s longest-running attraction. At the park, you can take the famous Skylift, a chairlift ride taking you 1,800 feet above the Great Smoky Mountains. For the more daring, you can also walk across the Skybridge, a 700-foot-long bridge 1,800 feet in the air from the mountains. You won’t get views better than this!
7) Hilton Head Island, SC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 247 miles
Hilton Head Island is located in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina, and a four-hour drive from Charlotte. Hilton Head is the perfect little island and great for a family vacation. There are over 12 miles of beaches and some of the most pristine golf courses. It is commonly voted for being America’s favorite vacation spot. If you’re looking for a quieter beach vacation, Hilton Head is the spot for you.
Things to Do on Hilton Head Island
- Coastal Discovery Museum- On 68 acres, the whole family can come to enjoy and learn all about South Carolina’s Low-country. Learn about the history of Hilton Head and what life was like many years ago, or visit the salt marsh and learn about the plants and animals! With tours of the land, or the water, and many hands-on programs for everyone, there is no lack of excitement at the Coastal Discovery Museum.
Book a Daufuskie Island Guided History Tour from Hilton Head HERE.
Mostly a remote island and only accessible by boat.
8) Knoxville, TN
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 230 miles
From Charlotte, just about 4 hours, Knoxville, TN is located right on the Tennessee River in Eastern Tennessee. You probably know Knoxville for the University of Tennessee or its deep historical ties to the Revolutionary war. The market square is covered with beautiful 19th-century architecture and the museum of East Tennessee is filled with artifacts from the Civil war, along with lots of art and textiles. Knoxville is also home to James Whites fort, a cabin built by a revolutionary war captain, which is Knoxville’s first permanent building.
Things to Do in Knoxville
- World’s Fair Park- In 1982, Knoxville was home to the World’s Fair. Today, the fairgrounds are a public park in downtown Knoxville. At the park, you can see the Sunsphere and the Tennessee Amphitheater, which are the two remaining structures from the original World Fair! The park holds many different events from benefits to fun runs and lots of live music and entertainment. Just recently, after years of no use, the observation deck of the Sunsphere is back open with a new look and 360-degree views of the entire park and downtown Knoxville.
Book A Taste of Knoxville Brew Hop. It’s a hop-on hop-off brewery transportation service that rides between breweries throughout the day
9) Roanoke, VA
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 197 miles
Overlooking the summit of Mill Mountain, Roanoke is a fantastic little mountain town in southwest Virginia. From Charlotte, it’s only about a 3-hour drive. Roanoke has been nicknamed the “Magic City”, as the world’s second-largest man-made star sits atop Mill Mountain and because it was one of the fastest growing urban cities in the South in the late 1800s.
Roanoke has a lot of deep history, going back to the time of the early English settlers. You may have heard of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, a colony of settlers that essentially went completely missing without a trace. Roanoke is a fun place to visit with lots of outdoor activities, and fascinating history that the whole family will enjoy.
Things to Do in Roanoke
- Mill Mountain Park- To view the star itself, visit Roanoke’s discovery center, or even just enjoy the park itself, Mill Mountain Park is an exciting place to be! There are 568 acres with over 10 miles of hiking trails, picnic tables and shelters, and a playground. Take the kids to the discovery center for hands-on learning activities, and afterward take a stroll through the 2.5-acre wildflower garden.
- Taubman Museum of Art- You’ve probably seen this museum from the outside in architecture books, it is a very popular museum due to its intelligent design and interesting shape. Inside holds a vast variety of art dating back 500 years to the present with pieces you won’t find anywhere else! Locals often say this is the best way for visitors to spend the afternoon.
Book a Food & Cultural Tour
What better way to see the city than through their food and culture!
BOOK YOUR LOCAL FOOD TOUR HERE
10) Raleigh, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 166 miles
The capital of North Carolina, Raleigh, is a little over 2 and half hours from Charlotte. Raleigh is most known for its universities, and large quantities of free museums. Often being referred to as the “Smithsonian of the South” one could spend an entire weekend just visiting the museums Raleigh has to offer. Raleigh is a vibrant and unique city, with lots of entertainment and enjoyable nightlife. Many say there is something special about Raleigh that sets it apart from other cities in the United States. You may just have to see it for yourself!
Things to Do in Raleigh
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences- This museum is the largest museum of its kind in North Carolina. The museum is the state’s oldest established museum and sees over 1.2 million people each year. With exhibits on the deep sea, space, the diversity of life, fossils, weather and so much more, there are things you’ve never seen before! The best part? The museum is free.
- North Carolina Museum of Art- Since the museum’s opening in 1952, the facility has been gathering some of the most exquisite art pieces. With things like 19th-century Renaissance paintings, Egyptian finery art, sculptures and vases from Greece and Rome, and lots of American contemporary art through the 18th-20th century, there is no lack of talent and history in these walls. This is another free museum that will keep you busy all day.
- North Carolina Museum of History- There is no doubt that the South and North Carolina themselves are filled with lots of fascinating history. At this museum of history, you can find more than 150,000 artifacts that go back six centuries! Admission is free, and you can easily spend a whole day walking amongst the old artifacts that tell stories from the past.
11) Atlanta, GA
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 244 miles
The capital of Georgia, Atlanta has played a major role in many moments of United States history. Close to 4 hours from Charlotte, it is a nice little road trip through the hills, and well worth the drive. Home to the busiest airport in the country, also home to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Site, and top-ranking aquariums and zoos.
Things to Do in Atlanta
- Georgia Aquarium- The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta is the nation’s largest aquarium and the third largest in the world. There are hundreds of species and thousands of animals in the seven galleries of the museum. From the smallest of fish, and jellyfish to sea lions, whales, and sharks, there is so much to see at the amazing aquarium! It is a great rainy day activity and so fun for everyone.
Secure an Atlanta CityPASS and not only get entrance to the Aquarium, but you can also visit the Zoo, World of Coca-Cola, and choose from some museums too! Great deal!!! Purchase your ticket HERE.
12) Williamsburg, VA
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 336 miles
Williamsburg is a well-loved city in Virginia that was the capital of the Virginia Colony from 1699-1780. Williamsburg was extremely important during the American Revolution, and much of the town honors the history and its roots to this day. It is a great place to visit year-round but is extremely fun during the holiday season as there are many holiday-themed activities and lights. It is about a 5-hour drive from Charlotte, so it would make a great vacation destination, especially for the holidays.
Things to Do in Williamsburg
- Busch Gardens- Busch Gardens is one of Virginia’s most exciting attractions. All year round come visit the park and experience any of the 53 rides, including eight roller coasters, live entertainment, animal shows, shopping, restaurants, and kid-friendly games and events. The best time to visit the park is during the holidays, around Halloween, and during the summer to experience Water Country USA. If you are in the area, you don’t want to miss a Busch Garden trip!
13) Damascus, VA
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 139 miles
Damascus is a very small town, just under 3 hours away from Charlotte, on the Tennessee Virginia border. Although small, it is a very popular town for being the “Trail Town” of America! There are seven nationally known trails, including the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Creeper Trail, that cross through Damascus. Beyond that, there are many many more miles of trails in the area that outdoor enthusiasts love. For quaint small-town vibes and some amazing outdoor adventures, Damascus is a wonderful option for your weekend getaway from Charlotte.
Things to Do in Damascus
- Virginia Creeper Trail- This is a widely popular multi-day hiking trail that starts in Abington, VA, and ends in Whitetop, VA, running through Damascus (the halfway point). The trail is 35 miles in total and is considered a moderate hike due to the elevation changes. It is a popular biking trail. The bike route goes from Whitetop to Damascus in about 2.5-3 hours, and is called “The Best Bike Route in America”.
14) The Great Smoky Mountain National Park
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 151 miles
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as I mentioned above, is the most popular and most visited national park in the country! The drive from Charlotte is about 3 hours and is the perfect little getaway for the family. The Great Smoky Mountains have a special feel about them, being the oldest mountain range in the United States, they have a rich biodiversity, and some of the most amazing views you may ever see. With lots of camping, swimming, hiking, fishing, and other outdoor activities, there is lots to do and lots to see on the 522,419 acres. The Great Smoky Mountains are so large, you will probably need to make several North Carolina weekend trips to enjoy it all.
Things to Do in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
- Cherokee, NC- Cherokee, NC is full of amazing outdoor activities, like hiking, and waterfalls. The town itself has preserved much of the 18th-century Cherokee lifestyles that you can view today in live demonstrations and hands-on learning activities.
- Blue Ridge Parkway– The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile drive that links you from the Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains. The drive is a little over 10 hours and is one of the most scenic and impressive drives in the country. With lots of stops, waterfalls, swimming holes, and camping along the way, there is so much to explore!
- Cades Cove, TN- One of the most popular areas within the national park is Cades Cove. Once home to many early settlers, today visitors can see preserved historic cabins, churches, and grain mills that still stand today.
- Clingmans Dome- At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the mountain’s highest point. It is a seven-mile drive to the end of Clingmans Dome, with many scenic pullouts along the way. The road ends in a parking area, where there is a half-mile trail leading to the summit. It is a steep, but paved trail and leads you to the most spectacular views.
15) Greensville, SC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 101 miles
Just under 2 hours from Charlotte, Greensville is a cultural and entertainment hub in South Carolina. The Greensville Museum of Art holds several centuries of art from Southern artists over the years. It is a larger city but has so much to see and lots of indoor and outdoor activities. If you are looking for places to visit within two hours of Charlotte, this is just over.
Things to Do in Greensville
- Falls Park on the Reedy- Ranked one of the nation’s top parks, Greensville’s park is a 32-acre park that runs right next to downtown Greensville. Come see the falls park waterfall, enchanting at night as it lit up with lights, and walk along the park’s nice paths. The grass is green, and it’s a great place to walk your dog, jog, or play with the kids.
- Greensville Zoo- Opened in 1960, Greensville has been loved by residents and visitors for many years. On 14 acres, you can see all kinds of exotic animals that are being well cared for by the zoo and its workers. There are educational zoo visits, the zoo at night trips, and the zoo for tots trips so the whole family can enjoy the trip!
16) Cary, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 160 miles
Cary is North Carolina’s seventh-largest city, so you can imagine there are lots of things going on here! Cary is just under a 3-hour drive from Charlotte, and is perfect for a weekend trip, or even a day trip! It’s currently one of the fastest-growing towns in the South and has some of the most versatile restaurants, local shops, and entertainment around. Not the mention, the wide variety of outdoor activities there as well.
Things to Do in Cary
- The Umstead Hotel- The Umstead Hotel is a luxury resort located on acres of lakeside property right in Cary. At the Umstead, there are lovely spa accommodations, and delicious dining options, and the rooms themselves are comfortable with gorgeous views. This is a popular place for weddings or business meetings. If you need a 5-star place to stay the next time you’re in Cary, The Umstead Hotel should be at the top of your list!
- Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve- Lined with creeks, and filled with trees, Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve is 140 acres of well-kept forest land, right in Cary! This is one of the nature preserves in North Carolina, and it’s an important location due to its diverse ecosystem. There are a few very nice walking/hiking trails that follow around the preserve and are great for a half-day trip.
17) Wilmington, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 201 miles
Wilmington, NC has exploded in popularity over the past 10 years. It’s known for its beautiful clean beaches, delicious seafood restaurants with locally caught fish, and its rising beer scene. It’s a charming town, with a big-city feel, and the Southern hospitality is here to stay! Wilmington is a great location to have on your beach getaways vacation list. The drive is about 3.5 hours away from Charlotte.
Things to Do in Wilmington
- Wrightsville Beach- Named one of the South’s best beaches, Wrightsville Beach is just 15 minutes from downtown Wilmington. It’s known for its pristine waters and picturesque setting. If you are looking for a spacious beach, with a more upscale vibe, then this is the perfect place to come. Parasailing, windsurfing, and swimming are popular activities at this beach.
- Explore the waters around Wrightsville Beach, you can choose to go fishing, crabbing, island hopping or all of the above with this amazing tour! BOOK IT HERE TODAY!
- Explore the waters around Wrightsville Beach, you can choose to go fishing, crabbing, island hopping or all of the above with this amazing tour! BOOK IT HERE TODAY!
- Airlie Gardens- Right in Wilmington, there is a 67-acre public park, run by a non-profit organization. Walk around and learn about classic Southern horticulture, with great learning programs and beautiful plants and trees!
- Half-Day E-Bike Tour of Wilmington’s History, Haunts & Breweries. Experience historic sites, sample some amazing craft beer, and learn some amazing history, all while taking it easy on an e-bike! This is a VERY popular tour and books up! SIGN UP HERE.
18) Asheboro, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 85 miles
Just an hour and a half from Charlotte, Asheboro is the perfect weekend day trip. It is the proud home of the North Carolina Zoo, and the town itself is perfectly quaint with a good Southern atmosphere.
Things to Do in Asheboro
- North Carolina Zoo- Nestled on over 2,000 acres, the North Carolina Zoo is the world’s largest natural zoo habitat. At the zoo, there are 1,800 animals, and 250 different species, representing primarily Africa and North America. With just about any animal you can think of, and lots of tours and learning experiences, you can spend a whole day just exploring and visiting the creatures!
- Pisgah Covered Bridge- The Pisgah covered bridge is one of just two remaining covered bridges in North Carolina. The bridge was built in 1911 for just $40 and is 54 feet long. It makes a direct connection over the West Fork Branch of the Little River. It was used often for horse and wagon travel and is a fascinating structure to visit and take pictures of today. The walk around the bridge is very short, at about 0.2 miles, and only takes 5 minutes to complete the walk. There are other hikes in the area to do if you’re looking for more walking, and there are lots of trees and places to sit and have a picnic right by the bridge.
19) Winston-Salem, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 80 miles
The tobacco capital of the country, Winston-Salem is North Carolinas second largest city and just over 2 hours from Charlotte. However, it’s not just the tobacco capital! Winston-Salem is the birthplace of Krispy Kreme and Texas Petes Hot Sauce. Many call Winston-Salem a foodie hotspot. It’s an exciting place to take the family to walk around the town, learn about its interesting history, and try some wonderful foods. Add this to your weekend getaways from Charlotte, NC if you love food.
Things to Do in Winston-Salem
- North Carolina BBQ Trail- If you didn’t know, North Carolina is the birthplace of BBQ sauce. It is where the first recipe for BBQ sauce came from in the 1930s, in Lexington North Carolina. Residents of North Carolina take their BBQ very seriously, and when traveling through the state you might hear about the historic BBQ trail. As you cross the state there are many restaurants you can stop at to try all the different varieties of BBQ sauce. Right in Winston-Salem, you will find some amazing BBQ spots like Little Richards and Real Q. If you are a BBQ lover, this is something right up your alley!
- Historic Bethabara Park- This park holds the last remaining historic houses that were first built in Winston-Salem by the Moravian community back in 1753. The park today teaches about the history of the area with living demonstrations of how the Moravians cooked, built their houses and made their tools, ate their food, and how they lived their lives. There are many tours available to see, and lots of historical events that are great fun.
20) Hot Springs, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 165 miles
Hot Springs is a very small town in the mountains of North Carolina, very close to the Tennessee border. The town is mainly known for its amazing natural hot springs, which you can visit at the Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Apart from the springs, there are many wonderful hiking trails, and other outdoor activities you can enjoy in the area. The drive is just under 3 hours from Charlotte.
21) Lake Norman
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 20 miles
Lake Norman is North Carolinas largest man-made body of water. The lake features 520 miles of shoreline, it’s known as the “inland sea” because of how large it is. Lake Norman is widely popular for boating, fishing, and jet skiing. There are many hotels and restaurants surrounding the lake so you can have a peaceful and relaxing lake vacation!
Things to Do in Lake Norman
- Mooresville- Mooresville is an ever-growing city that is located in the northeastern area of the lake. Mooresville offers boat rentals to take on Lake Norman and is a popular place for families to find lodging while visiting the area.
- Davidson- Davidson is a much smaller town near the eastern side of Lake Norman. The town is quaint, suburban, and full of Southern charm with a lovely downtown and delicious restaurants. Make sure to check out Kindred restaurant if you are in town!
- Cornelius- Cornelius is located along Lake Norman, and is right below Davidson. Cornelius offers boat rentals, jet ski rentals, and lodging for lake visitors. You will find popular lakefront restaurants here like Hello Sailor here. Downtown, you can find great restaurants and a good handful of breweries to enjoy.
- Huntersville- One of the closest cities to Charlotte in the Lake Norman area, but if you are looking to get away for a day, this is a great place to come for some fun. Check out our article on all the things you can do in Huntersville, NC.
- Lake Norman State Park- Lake Norman’s state park is 1,942 acres on the northern shoreline. At the state park, you can find free day-use areas for picnics or birthday parties, and many hiking trails, and you can also find a large number of well-maintained campsites. Some of the campsites have hookups for RVs and all campsites are dog friendly. This area isn’t far from Charlotte at all and is a great way to escape city life and get out into nature! It’s a simple option for day trips from Charlotte NC.
22) Chattanooga, TN
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 340 miles
Chattanooga is a city in southeastern Tennessee right along the Tennessee River. Nestled right in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, Chattanooga has some great scenery. The city is famous for Civil War battlefield sites, history museums, and live events like the Riverbend Festival. The Appalachian Trail brings many hikers to town to rest up while passing through. About 5 and a half hours from Charlotte, this would be a fun road trip destination. This option is one of our longest from Charlotte, North Carolina so you might want to make this one a long weekend trip.
Things to Do in Chattanooga
- Ruby Falls- Ruby Falls is an incredibly stunning place. There is nothing in the world like it and it brings thousands of visitors each year! The falls are a series of underground waterfalls totaling 145 feet. Deep within Lookout Mountain, Leo Lambert discovered the falls in 1928 and named them after his wife. A year later, he opened it for the public to enjoy. Walking tours and lantern tours are offered for spectators to descend 260 feet into the mountain to witness the falls falling from above.
- Raccoon Mountain and Caverns- In the 1920’s farmers had exposed limestone to eventually find a cave in Mount Aetna right in Chattanooga. The caves are wide and expansive with large rooms full of beautiful cave goodies. The land of the caves has wonderful campsites, cabins, and RV sites that are open year-round. Take a cave tour and explore the depths of the Earth, and come back up to spend the weekend enjoying a great campground!
23) Bryson City, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 179 miles
A little over a 3-hour drive from Charlotte, Bryson City is a beautiful humbling town right at the mouth of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s surrounded by beautiful fields of wildflowers, streams, waterfalls, and thick forests. The area is popular for whitewater rafting, fishing, swimming, and hiking, and the town has great breweries and a lovely small-town feel. You can even take a scenic train ride around the area!
Things to Do in Bryson City
- Smoky Mountains Trains Museum- The Smoky Mountains Trains Museum has an impressive collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars, accessories, and a fully stocked gift store. Through the museum, book a scenic train ride through the Western North Carolina hills in a number of their exclusive trains. During the holidays, join the fun for a Polar Express ride!
- Darnell Farms- In the beautiful valley along the Tuckasegee River, Darnell Farms sits on 100 acres. This is a second-generation family farm, that the public is welcome to visit, learn and explore. The farm grows a wide variety of vegetables, nuts and seeds, meat and dairy products, and herbs. The farm holds fun summer and fall festivals, corn mazes, and hayrides that are great for the whole family! Be sure to take home some delicious farm fresh produce on your way out. If you want to find camping nearby, across the street check out Grumpy Bear Campground.
24) New River Gorge National Park, WV
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 231 miles
The New River Gorge National Park is part of a preserve to protect and maintain the New River Gorge in southern West Virginia. With 70,000 acres of nature, this is one of West Virginia’s most photographed areas! You can find the iconic steel arch bridge here, take a whitewater rafting trip, go climbing, or spend the weekend camping. About 3 1/2 hours from Charlotte, this is a great place to bring the family for some outdoor adventures.
Things to Do in New River Gorge National Park
- Sandstone Falls- These falls are the largest falls on New River. They span an area of 1500 feet wide, and drop 10-25 feet. These falls are largely photographed because of their unique layout, they are truly something special. At the bottom of the falls, you can find popular swimming and fishing areas.
- New River Gorge Bridge- It is currently the longest single-span steel arch bridge in the United States and the third-highest bridge in the country, you can only drive across it however, they do have guided tours on the catwalk of the bridge underneath. Each year they also have a large festival called Bridge Day, where base jumpers get their chance to fly 876 feet into the Gorge below.
- Babcock State Park- A 17-minute drive from New River Gorge, you will come across Babcock State Park. The park is a little over 4,000 acres of wooded scenery in Fayette County, West Virginia. Inside Babcock State Park you will find miles of beautiful hiking trails, streams, and the famous attraction Glade Creek Grist Mill.
- Grandview- 1400 feet above the river, Grandview has the best views of the entire park. Visitors love coming here during the spring to see the mountains covered with wildflowers, and during the fall to see the hills lit up with vibrant foliage.
25) Blowing Rock, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 94 miles
Just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock is a small village in western North Carolina. It is named after The Blowing Rock, a huge cliff 4,000 above sea level, overhanging Johns River Gorge. The Cherokee and Catawba Native Americans were the first to settle on the land, and they have many legends about the oddly shaped rock formations and answers to the strange weather patterns that occur in the area.
Today, Blowing Rock has little local shops, quaint hotels and lodges to stay in, and lots of outdoor activities available in the area. It is a very popular place during the holiday season for the ski resorts nearby and the abundance of Christmas Tree farms in the area.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Blowing Rock, The Chetola Resort is perfect, click here to book your stay.
Things to Do in Blowing Rock
- The Blowing Rock- A trip to Blowing Rock, wouldn’t be complete without visiting the legendary overhang. It is one of North Carolinas most underrated attractions, and though the hike is a bit challenging, it is well worth it. The rock is most notably a place where you can witness the snow falling upside down, as the rock walls form a flume that causes the winds to sweep with such force, that it carries light objects (such as snow) upwards. An enchanting place, with beautiful views, Blowing Rock is an exciting place to visit.
- Grandfather Mountain- Grandfather Mountain is the highest peak on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains. At Grandfather Mountain you can walk across America’s largest suspension bridge above the treetops, see wildlife habitats (including bears, bald eagles, elk, otters, and more), visit the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, take beautifully scenic hikes, and dine at Mildred’s Grill at the end of the day. There are lots of daily learning programs available, adult field courses, a gift shop, and so much more! This is perfect for nature lovers!
- Tweetsie Railroad- Located between Boone and Blowing Rock, Tweetsie Railroad is a family-fun heritage railroad museum. There are fun rides and games for people of all ages, live entertainment, a deer zoo, shops, and restaurants. This is a great place for people of all ages to have fun! It is also a very fun place during the holiday season where the park turns into a winter wonderland. There will be over 1 million lights, Christmas shows, holiday rides, and meetings with Santa.
26) Fayetteville, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 132 miles
2.5 hours from Charlotte, and only an hour from Raleigh is Fayetteville, NC. Fayetteville is right next to Fort Bragg, one of the largest military installations in the world and the town is home to The Airborne and Special Operations Museum. With lots of military history, and great learning programs for kids, families love Fayetteville. Downtown Fayetteville has lots of shops, restaurants, and great places to stay and spend the weekend.
Things to Do in Fayetteville
- Cape Fear Botanical Garden- Just 2 miles from downtown Fayetteville is the Cape Fear Botanical Garden. On 80 acres, and right next to the river the botanical gardens are flourishing with flowers that bloom all year round. Bring your kids to visit the children’s garden! This is a great spot to come and relax and refresh, and there are also lots of events and learning programs held here as well. If you are in the area during the holiday season, be sure to visit Cape Fear Botanical Garden to witness the Holiday Lights at the Garden, the beautiful light show that happens in December each year.
- The Airborne and Special Operations Museum- In 2000, the United States Army Museum Enterprise opened this museum in hopes to preserve and teach the public about the heritage of the US Army Airborne and Special Operations Forces. Exhibits and artifacts in the museum date back to the 1940s, and honor the nation’s soldiers from the past and the present. This is a great museum to bring the family to pay respects and learn more about the nation’s Army.
27) Beech Mountain, NC
Distance from Charlotte, NC: 125 miles
Beech Mountain is largely known for the popular ski resort “Beech Mountain Resort”. Only 2 and a half hours from Charlotte, Beech Mountain is some of the best skiing you can find in North Carolina. Beech Mountain resort has tons of hiking trails, 360-degree views of the mountains, and waterfalls. It isn’t just a winter resort either! Many fun summer outdoor activities are part of the mountain as well, which makes Beech Mountain a great place to visit all year long. Beech Mountain is the perfect mountain getaway!
Things to Do in Beech Mountain
- Skiing in Winter- Beech Mountain is known for having some of the best skiing in North Carolina. There are 95 skiable acres on the mountain, reaching peaks of 5,506 feet high.
- Summer Activities- Wondering what happens to the mountain during the summer? Well, all those ski trails are turned into mountain biking trails! Not only that, but at the base of the mountain, you can enjoy fun games of disc golf, set out to hike the mountain, take scenic lift rides, and enjoy live events.
What Are The Closest Beaches near Charlotte, NC?
You actually have many options so let’s list them out for you, the closest beaches to Charlotte, NC include Ocean Isle, NC which is about 3 hrs and 22 mins from Charlotte. Sunset Beach, NC which is about 3 hrs and 22 mins from Charlotte. Folly Beach, SC is about 3 hrs and 30 mins from Charlotte, NC. Charlotte NC to Myrtle Beach, SC is about 3 hrs and 32 mins. Wrightsville Beach, NC which is about 3 hrs and 36 mins from Charlotte. Then you also have Hilton Head Island in SC which is 3 hrs and 52 mins from Charlotte, NC. Add beach weekends to your list for an amazing weekend getaway from Charlotte.
Where Can I Go For A Long Drive Near Charlotte?
Some great options to get out and drive would include getting up to the Blue Ridge Mountains and driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, there are many ways to access it, you can drive to the Asheville area and access it in just over 2 hrs.
If you want to stay a little closer to Charlotte, you could take a drive to Crowders Mountain State Park which is less than a 40 min drive from Charlotte. Hanging Rock Scenic Byway would also be a great option, this is a beautiful drive to view Hanging Rock and end up near Pilot Mountain State Park and Mount Airy. These are some great options if you are not looking to take a full weekend trip from Charlotte.
From every direction, there are so many places not far from Charlotte that have any activity imaginable! You can find all sorts of museums and zoos, learn about all the history that built the southern states, take boat tours or tours of cities, and eat delicious food wherever you go. If you were looking for a fun weekend getaway from Charlotte, hopefully now you have lots of ideas! Now get out there and pick one of the awesome weekend getaways from Charlotte to travel to! You can always come back to this list for any last-minute weekend getaways from Charlotte too!