North Carolina’s capital, Raleigh is a wonderful place to live, work and visit. The city boasts a wealth of parks, museums, unique outdoor experiences, vibrant art scenes and thrilling culinary diversity. Though there is no shortage of attractions in Raleigh, venturing out of the city for a weekend trip will expose you to a wealth of parks, coastal getaways, thrilling mountains and exciting outdoor experiences that you may not have known of if you didn’t cross the city borders. If you feel the agility to explore other attractions within North Carolina and which can be easily accessed from Raleigh, then scroll below to discover some of the top weekend trips from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Durham and Raleigh are separated by a distance of about 24.5 miles (39km) and you will need no more than one hour to get to Durham from Raleigh. The peaceful city of Durham holds some fascinating history about the United States, and it also has some of the most vibrant cultural scenes in both North and South Carolina. The highlights for a perfect weekend getaway would be visiting the Bennet Place State Historic Site to learn more insights about the last days of the Civil War. You should also not fail to visit Duke University, Nasher Museum of Art, Stagville Plantation, and the Falls Lake for an epic outdoor experience. Additionally, you can also book a comfy cabin near Raleigh for easy commute to these locations.
Asheboro is approximately 72 miles (115km) from Raleigh, and you may need about one and a half hours to reach it by road. The city has a fine blend of activities designed to meet the adventurous needs of all family members. A typical weekend will allow you enough time to sample most of the city’s top attractions, with the notable ones being a visit to the North Carolina Zoo where you will find over 16000 animals housed in habitats that represent their natural habitats. If you are feeling adventurous enough, you can plan to visit the Richland Creek Canopy Zipline Tour for a heart-stopping ride atop the trees.
To get to Wilmington from Raleigh for a weekend getaway, you will need about two hours to cover the 129 miles (207km) between the two cities. Wilmington is a gorgeous port city and the home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the state. For a weekend getaway, you can choose to spend time simply relaxing on the beaches, or you can go for a tour of the fascinating historic district where you will find lots of galleries, restaurants, and shops that will give you good use for your time during your stay. Remember, the Riverwalk has restaurants offering high quality dishes that you should never miss.
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Greensboro is 81 miles (130km) from Raleigh and you will not need more than one and a half hours to reach it from Raleigh. It is the third-largest city in North Carolina, and is well-known as the theatre capital of the state, primarily due to the presence of Triad Stage. This is a popular venue for eclectic performances of various forms and shapes, and since the performances are available throughout the year, the city is a nice weekend retreat if you love music and watching pure talent performing at their best.
5. Smithfield and Selma
Smithfield and Selma are less than 40 minutes away by car from Raleigh, and it is another great destination for a weekend getaway if you are tired of Raleigh. It is primarily a revered destination for foodies, especially barbeque enthusiasts. A walk down the stretch connecting Smithfield and Selma should never be overlooked unless you don’t want to indulge in some of the city’s best culinary delights such as whole roasted hogs prepared in a way that only NC’s natives know of.
6. Yadkin Valley
Yadkin Valley is about 180 miles (289km) away and you will need slightly over three hours to get to it from Raleigh. If you love wine, and you would love to tour some of the region’s best vineyards and wineries, then a weekend trip to this place will make all the sense when you are in Raleigh. It will also give you a chance to enjoy the ever beautiful sights of Yadkin River, not to mention the lots of hiking and other outdoor adventures available in the valley. Come evening, you are bound to fall in love with the soothing musical performances and the special events that have become regulars in the valley.
7. Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway is about 154 miles (247km) from Raleigh, and it should not take you more than three and a half hours to access it from Raleigh. This small, quiet city holds the title of “America’s Favorite Drive” and this is because of the more than 400-mile (643km) stretch along the extremely picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway. The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from this road are nothing but breathtaking. If you want a more intimate experience with this beautiful piece of nature during your weekend getaway, then you can go hiking or camping in the plethora of relaxing picnics in the area. While still in the region, you can check out the Folk Art Center, and the Museum of North Carolina Minerals for great insights about the state’s art & crafts and mineral history respectively.
8. The Baltimore Estate
To get to the Baltimore Estate from Raleigh, you will need to cover a distance of about 246 miles (395km) and this may take you up to four hours on the road. However, upon arrival, you will be glad that you made the trip. It is a sprawling 800-acre (3237ha) compound – the home to Vanderbilt Mansion, the largest private home in North America. The mansion has 250 rooms, with each room nearly choking with clothing, vintage antiques, and artworks. Only a part of the mansion is accessible to those who wish to explore this gigantic estate. There is so much to see and do in this estate that you may need a few more weekends to fully exhaust it.
9. Linville Gorge and Falls
Linville Gorge and Falls are approximately 229 miles (368km) from Raleigh and it may take you slightly over four hours to get there. Linville Gorge is fondly referred to as the Grand Canyon of the East. Other than being the home of the Pisgah National Forest, it is also the home to the famous Linville Falls, which, for you to access, you will have to embark on a hike through several trails. The Linville River is exceedingly beautiful, and it will be pure pleasure to stroll its banks while you enjoy the nice sceneries of the beautiful steep rock walls flanking it.
10. Outer Banks
Outer Banks is about 220 miles (354km) from Raleigh, and you can easily reach it in less than four hours. It is a coastal destination with stunningly beautiful towns with a plethora of exciting activities bound to make your weekend fly past without you noticing. Going for a drive along the Outer Banks Scenic Byway through the lost colonies will not only treat you to unforgettable sunsets but will also make you wish that you can make that place your home. While at it, don’t miss the Outer Banks History Center, and the living history museum at Roanoke Island.
Say no to boring weekends in Raleigh
Go through the above recommendations on the top weekend trips from Raleigh, North Carolina so that you don’t have to endure another boring weekend in Raleigh. You can also consider them for alternative trips while you use Raleigh as your base.
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