4 road trips you can take from Charlotte, North Carolina


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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

There is a lot to love about Charlotte, North Carolina. I’ve lived here for a few years now, and I’m always finding new hidden gems.

Later this summer, I am moving, which means I don’t have much time left to explore all the places in and around the Charlotte area. I’m excited for a new adventure in a new city, but I will miss some of the destinations that are such a close drive from here. Before I officially pack up and move, I’m hoping to explore more of the places near home I’ve yet to see and revisit my favorite spots.

Today, I’m walking through four underrated spots within a four-hour drive from Charlotte.

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Looking for a mountain escape? Try Boone, North Carolina

Driving time: Two hours

If you’re looking for a mountain getaway, Boone is an excellent choice. It’s a short two-hour drive from Charlotte, and it has pretty much everything you could want from a quiet weekend getaway.

During the summertime, you can go hiking, kayaking, fishing, ziplining. Boone is also home to Grandfather Mountain and Mile High Swinging Bridge — the highest suspension footbridge in America.

But in my opinion, it’s best in the winter. It’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains, perfect for skiers and snowboarders looking for a closer getaway than western spots like Vail.

Need a relaxing beach weekend? Check out Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Driving time: Three and a half hours

When you think of Carolina beaches, your first thought is probably Myrtle Beach — or, if you watched as much Netflix in 2020 as I did, the Outer Banks. And while those are a popular spots, I’ve always been a bigger fan of Wrightsville Beach. The water is cleaner and beaches a little less crowded than Myrtle, and it’s a much closer drive than the Outer Banks.

There are plenty of places to rent right on the beach. But with Wilmington just a few miles away and plenty of public access points, you can also find lodging in town without sacrificing beach access.

Those interested in WWII history can also explore the Battleship North Carolina, which is docked along the Cape Fear River.

Interested in unique breweries? Hit up Asheville, North Carolina

Driving time: Two hours and 15 minutes

Fun fact: Asheville has the most breweries per capita in the United States. But the small town has a lot more to offer than just the great beer scene (though if you’re in town, I highly recommend getting a flight at Wicked Weed Brewing).

You’ll find plenty of unique shops to visit downtown — including one of my favorite independent book stores, Firestorm Books & Coffee. If you’re into art, the River Arts District houses artist studios in former factory buildings while downtown is home to beautiful architecture and plenty of galleries to visit. And anyone who loves tacos has to try out White Duck Tacos while there.

Asheville is also where to find the Biltmore Estate, the historic family home of the Vanderbilts. The 8,000-acre house and grounds offers a full-day, or more, of fun, including a winery, gardens, historical sites, a spa and a village to explore.

Want to play a round? Visit Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Driving time: Three hours and 45 minutes

Another coastal getaway on this list is Hilton Head Island, home to more than two dozen championship golf courses. Casual golfers can play a round, amateurs looking to improve their swing can check out a class, and PGA fans can time a trip to watch a tournament.

Of course, there’s more than just golfing at Hilton Head. There are a number of family-friendly parks, playgrounds and beaches. Renting bikes and kayaks is also popular to explore the island and its waterways.

Hilton Head is also the most points-friendly destination on this list. You can stay at the Marriott Hilton Head or Westin Hilton Head Resort and Spa for just 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per standard night. There’s also Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, though it’s typically hard to find availability.

Related: Hilton Head for families: What to see and where to stay 

Bottom line

All of these spots are on my destination list for 2021 before I move. And all of the places I don’t get a chance to visit (or revisit) before I go will be well worth the weekend getaway the next time I’m in Charlotte.

Roadtrips are high on my list for 2021 travel — windows down with my Spotify playlist turned up sounds like heaven after a year spent indoors. Just make sure that you’re using a great credit card for gas and maximizing your hotel or Airbnb bookings.

Featured image by Sean Pavone/Getty Images

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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