Top 17 Road Trips From Charlotte, North Carolina

road trips from charlotte
| 8 min read

For a rapidly developing city in North Carolina, Charlotte is known for its greenery and breathtaking scenery. There are also plenty of places to eat, not to mention two-bedroom hotels in Charlotte for tourists to stay. If you’re looking for something more fancy, Airbnb mansions are also available. Although there are many things to do in Charlotte, you can also explore the places around the city that offer a great view and a fantastic experience when you are traveling by road. The cities and towns that are located within a three-hour distance from Charlotte offer a peaceful environment to the bikers, delicious food items, and many amazing views of the tropical flora and fauna. Considered to be an ideal destination for all travelers, you have many reasons to add this city to your travel bucket list. Here are the best road trips from Charlotte, NC.

1. Lake Norman

Lake Norman (North Carolina, USA) 2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user James St. John used under CC BY 2.0

Wake up from your comfortable bed in a townhome for rent in Charlotte and go on a fun road trip! Don’t miss out on visiting Lake Norman, 20 miles (32.19 kilometers) away which is less than an hour’s drive from Charlotte, North Carolina. Play in the water, go boating, try your hand at fishing, or simply wait for the beautiful view of the sunset. Lake Norman is North Carolina’s largest man-made lake and has been developed to be a hub of fun around the area. Shop in the gift shop for souvenirs before dining at one of the lakefront restaurants such as North Harbor Club.

Lake Norman

Website: Lake Norman

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2. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem Skyline
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ron Miguel used under CC BY 2.0

Known for its small-town charm, the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina is one of the most vibrant places to see near Charlotte, North Carolina. It takes a little more than an hour’s drive to get to the city from Charlotte, but the drive will definitely be worth it. One of the most unique things to do in the city is touring some of its most haunted sites! Learn why Körner’s Folly is considered one of America’s strangest homes or visit Old Salem.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Website: Winston-Salem, North Carolina

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3. Boone, North Carolina

Boone NC - King Street
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jeremy Mikkola used under CC BY 2.0

If you prefer shorter road trips that will allow you to explore your destination more, Boone is worth the two-hour drive from Charlotte. With a distance of approximately 100 miles (161 km), the town is smacked right in the famous Blue Ridge Mountains. While you enjoy your stay in Boone, you can check out its top points of interest, including Blue Ridge Parkway, Daniel Boone Native Gardens, and Tweetsie Railroad. Boone is also the host of Horn in the West, an outdoor amphitheater drama depicting the early days of the town during the British settlement in the Revolutionary War. Visiting this town is ideal for those who long to escape the bustle of Charlotte, even for just a weekend.

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4. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

01 Wide Angle Cropped and Reduced
Source: Photo by Flickr user Janet Donaldson used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Another road trip destination that isn’t too far from Charlotte is Pigeon Forge in Tennessee. The drive takes a little less than 4 hours with a distance of about 216 miles (347 km). Pigeon Forge is a fine destination, especially when you’re visiting with family, since it’s a vacation town with plenty of mountain-themed attractions, with the most popular being Dollywood, a theme park co-owned by singer Dolly Parton. This mountain resort city is a haven for enthusiasts of country music and Southern culture.

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5. Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta Streetcar
Source: Photo by Flickr user Central Atlanta P... used under CC BY 2.0

Itching to visit Georgia? With a distance of approximately 245 miles (394 km), Atlanta is just a 4-hour drive from Charlotte. Known for the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, this city offers plenty of things to do for all types of travelers. It is home to a diverse musical history and various sports teams such as the Hawks and Falcons. Its thriving economy and vibrant communities make it a great place not just for vacation but for calling it home too. Some other attractions that you should visit during your trip are Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, and High Museum of Art.

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6. Cherokee, North Carolina

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jan Kronsell used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Cherokee in North Carolina is another great destination coming from Charlotte. With a distance of around 167 miles (268 km), the drive will take 3 hours, passing by beautiful small towns like Columbus and Maggie Valley. This census-designated place is part of the homelands of the Cherokee people. It is a well-known tourist town since it’s located near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When you visit Cherokee, make sure that you see the following attractions: Cherokee Botanical Garden and Nature Trail, Oconaluftee Indian Village, and roadside spots like Santa’s Land, Cherokee Bear Zoo, and Chief Saunooke Bear Park.

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7. Greenville, South Carolina

Old Cigar Warehouse, Greenville, SC
Source: Photo by Flickr user Nicolas Henderson used under CC BY 2.0

One other quick road trip from Charlotte is Greenville in South Carolina. There’s a 103-mile (165 km) distance between the 2 cities and the drive will take about an hour and 45 minutes. Greenville is home to a thriving arts scene, and if you’re an enthusiast, the drive is going to be worth it. Museums like Greenville Country Museum of Art, where works by Georgia O’Keeffe and Jackson Pollock are displayed, and Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery are located in the city. Greenville sure has a vibrant community that will make your trip a memorable one.

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8. Richmond, Virginia

Skyline Richmond Virginia
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jim used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re a history enthusiast, particularly of the American Revolution and the Civil War, Richmond in Virginia is a great destination for your next road trip. The distance from Charlotte is around 290 miles (466 km) and the travel time is about 4.5 hours. Richmond is home to famous sites like St. John’s Church, Virginia Museum of History & Culture, and the multi-museum American Civil War Museum. The city also has a thriving nightlife scene and plenty of family-friendly things to do.

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9. Cedar Key, Florida

Cedar Key FL beach01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ebyabe used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Cedar Key is a city that is located in the northwest coastal region of Florida, Mexico. The city is known for its tropical fauna and the presence of National Wildlife Refuge. It is about 514 miles (827 kilometers) from Charlotte and takes about 8 to 9 hours to reach by road. If you like fishing, then you must visit this place and relax during your vacations. You will also like the peaceful atmosphere that this place offers and get to enjoy the golf carts. Not to forget about the nightlife this place offers too, you can have a couple of drinks with your family and friends on the beaches.

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10. Cold Spring, New York

Main Street, Cold Spring NY
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel Case used under CC BY-SA 3.0

For all those travelers who love to travel by road, it’s a brilliant opportunity for them to visit Cold Spring once in their lifetime. The drive from Charlotte to Cold Spring covers many beautiful sceneries and has breathtaking views of the forests. The distance is estimated to be around 674 miles (1085 kilometers) from Charlotte. Cold Spring is a small village in Putnam Country, New York. The city offers the best food that you would have never tasted in your life. It also has a picturesque preserve that can make your drive more exciting. Besides, you can visit Stroll Dockside Park, Hudson Hil’s, Hike Breakneck Ridge, Kayak the Hudson, and many more relevant places. Also, don’t forget to have a brick oven pizza and a glass of wine at Riverview Restaurant

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11. Mooresville, Alabama

Mooresville, Alabama post office Highsmith 02
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Carol M. Highsmith used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Going on a driving vacation near Charlotte, NC? Mooresville is one of the most interesting towns around Charlotte, North Carolina, and is located in Limestone County, Alabama. The city intersects the Interstate 565 and the Interstate 65. The town is about 429 miles (690 kilometers) away from Charlotte and takes about 8 hours for you to reach by road. Although the journey of 8 hours from Charlotte to Mooresville will be an unforgettable experience for you, the journey can be tiring at times if you don’t take proper breaks in between. The town offers a great view to the travelers. You will witness luscious greenery, and beautiful gardens surrounding it. The history of the place can be determined from the dated Brick Church, which was established in the year 1839. It has a few beautiful wooden hand paintings that can blow your mind off. So, when you are visiting this city, don’t forget to buy a few organic eggs at the 1818 Farms.

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12. Ithaca, New York

Buttermilk Falls, Ithaca
Source: Goodfreephotos

Ithaca is a small city that is located in New York, USA. It is located about 679 miles (1093 kilometers) away from Charlotte and takes about 11 hours for you to reach the city by road. The experience of driving such a long distance from Charlotte is incredible. There are many things that you can do in Ithaca, as it is home to art lovers. You can visit the Ithaca Falls, Sciencenter, Stewart Park, the Ithaca Farmers Market, and many more places within a short duration of time. Also, don’t forget to visit the ZaZa’s Cucina restaurant, Le Café Cent-Dix restaurant, and the Maxie’s Supper Club & Oyster Bar in Ithaca.

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13. Boca Grande Beach, Florida

Boca Grande FL CH and NR depot04
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ebyabe used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the best places to visit near Charlotte, NC, is Boca Grande. It is a village located on Gasparilla Island, Florida, United States of America. The island is an essential part of Charlotte and Lee counties and is also a place for many residents contributing their best to the island. The island is located about 26 miles (42 kilometers) away from Charlotte and takes about 40 minutes to an hour to reach by road. If you are driving to Bora Grande, don’t forget to visit Boca Grande Beach, Cayo Costa State Park, Gasparilla Island State Park, Boca Grande Bike Trail, Boca Grande Historical Society and Museum, Gasparilla Island Lighthouse, Boca Grande Farm & Fish Market, and the Smart Studio. Also, make sure that you have some delicious fish food items that most of the restaurants offer on this island.

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14. Mountain Brook, Alabama

Old Mill in Mountain Brook, Alabama
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Robert Donovan used under CC BY 2.0

Mountain Brook is a city located in the Alabama region, USA. It is the place that is also known to be the home to Birmingham Zoo and many beautiful botanical gardens. It takes about 7 hours for you to reach Mountain Brook from Charlotte and about 387 miles (623 kilometers) to cover by road. There are many things that you can do in Mountain Brook, Alabama. You can visit places such as the Owens Pond, Park at Overton, Oak Mountain State Park, Birmingham Botanical Gardens, and Birmingham Zoo. Also, you can enjoy some delicious food items at Gilchrist, cocktails at Grand Bohemian Hotel, Church Street Coffee Shop, and many more places.

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15. Fort Payne, Alabama

Fort Payne, AL, USA - panoramio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rick Shu used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Fort Payne is a well-known tourist destination that is located in Alabama, USA. It is located about 346 miles (557 kilometers) away from Charlotte and takes about 6 hours for you to reach Fort Payne by road. According to surveys, it takes about USD 26 to 50 for you to refill the gas if you drive from Charlotte. There are many exotic places that you can visit in Fort Payne. You can enjoy visiting Little River Canyon National Preserve, DeSoto State Park, Little River Canyon Center, Marthas Falls, Alabama Fan Club and Museum, Alabama Walking Park, Big Mill Antique Mall, and Fort Payne Depot Museum. Considered to be an ideal destination for all travelers, you can easily explore its beauty by driving to this place at any given time during the year.

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16. Fernandina Beach, Florida

Amelia Island Fernandina Beach
Source: Photo by user TimothyJ used under CC BY 2.0

Go to a beach near Charlotte, North Carolina, for a fun beach day! It is located in Nassau Country, USA, and is also known for Amelia Island’s beauty. It will take about 6 hours to cover 373 miles (600 kilometers) from Charlotte to reach Fernandina Beach and have a great time. As you will be driving from Charlotte, you will improve your connection with nature as you will come across some beautiful beaches and tropical flora and fauna, that will just keep you wonderstruck. Also, you will have a great time enjoying the fish items and having a drink at Fernandina Beach.

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17. Eufaula, Alabama

MacMonnie's Fountain Eufaula Alabama
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user SaveRivers used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Eufaula is a city that is located in Alabama, USA, and is also known to be the largest city in the country of Barbour. This city is about 400 miles (643.7 kilometers) away from Charlotte and will take 7 hours for you to reach to Eufaula by road. Known to be one of the ideal destinations for all tourists, you can visit the Walter F. George Lake, Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge, Fendall Hall, The Tree, Seth Lore and Irwinton Historic District, and Florence Marina State Park. Also, enjoy the best fish items at prominent restaurants.

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Drive safe and enjoy every moment

Making the most out of the drive from Charlotte to different places should be your main motive. These are the ideal road trips from Charlotte, North Carolina, that you can plan, especially during the summers or winters. It’s also essential to carry the necessary things with you that will help you in making your drive comfortable and easy. Have a great time driving around the best places from Charlotte.

For more adventures, check out some day trips from Charlotte as well.

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Frequently asked questions about road trips from Charlotte, North Carolina

1. Which road trips from Charlotte are suitable for couples?

A couple on vacation would definitely enjoy a romantic lakefront dinner in one of the restaurants at Lake Norman while enjoying the sunset. Driving to Cold Spring, New York is also filled with romantic backdrops and stunning forest views.

2. Which road trips from Charlotte are ideal for weekend getaways with the family?

There’s plenty to do around Charlotte! You can go to Birmingham Zoo in Mountain Brook, Alabama, or have a fun beach day at Fernandina Beach, Florida. Winston-Salem, North Carolina, also offers fun haunted tours!

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Hi, I am Anurag Paul Gummadi, residing in Bangalore, India.

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