Greatest day journeys and trip spots from Raleigh, Durham NC

One of many best possible perks of dwelling within the Triangle is the proximity to tremendous cool locations which might be not the Triangle.

Dwelling within the Triangle locations you (roughly) in the midst of the state, between the coast and the mountains.

From Raleigh, you’re solely 131 miles from Wrightsville Seashore and 188 miles from Boone. You possibly can go away residence early within the morning, dip your toes within the ocean or swish down the slopes of a ski mountain, and be again in your personal mattress the identical evening (however we do suggest longer journeys, at any time when attainable).

In reality, proper off the bat we’re going to level you to N&O reporter Martha Quillin’s 2022 NC summer season journey collection, Cruising Throughout Carolina.

We’ll go into extra element in regards to the NC coast and mountains under, however listed here are only a few different doable day journeys from the Triangle:

  • Hanging Rock State Park: 123 miles from Raleigh — mountaineering trails, waterfalls and extra.
  • Beaufort (pronounced BO-fort): 156 miles from Raleigh — a quaint, historic waterfront city.
  • Wilmington: 129 miles from Raleigh — riverfront eating places and a battleship.
  • Pinehurst/Southern Pines: 70 miles from Raleigh — a golfer’s paradise.
  • Seagrove: 85 miles from Raleigh — generally known as the handmade pottery capital of the U.S.
  • New Bern: 118 miles from Raleigh — NC’s first capitol (go to Tryon Palace). Enjoyable reality: It’s additionally the birthplace of Pepsi.

NC has among the finest seashores within the US

North Carolina has among the best possible seashores within the nation (let’s not rely Hawaii as a result of that’s a stacked deck). In reality, US Information & World Report ranked NC’s Outer Banks #9 within the nation of their most up-to-date Greatest US Seashores record — and so they counted Hawaii.

Let’s get our bearings. The NC coast is roughly divided into three areas: the Outer Banks within the north, the “Crystal Coast” seashores within the center, and the southern seashores.

The Outer Banks (generally abbreviated to OBX) not solely delivers among the most stunning seashores, however among the most attention-grabbing place names: Nags Head, Kill Satan Hills, Ocracoke, Duck, Hatteras Island, Rodanthe (Ro-DAN-thee), Salvo and Corolla.

A brief Outer Banks bucket record:

  • See the wild Spanish mustangs, most outstanding on Corolla. Look and {photograph} all you need, however don’t contact, feed or work together with the wild horses!! We’re lifeless critical about this.
  • Go to the long-lasting Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton.
  • Try the Wright Brothers Nationwide Memorial at Kitty Hawk. North Carolina is First in Flight, don’t take heed to what anybody from Ohio tells you.
  • Go hang-gliding off Jockey’s Ridge.
The solar units behind the Cape Hatteras Mild Station in Buxton Thursday, Might 19, 2022. Travis Lengthy [email protected]

Tip #1: If you happen to can’t perceive the locals on Ocracoke Island, it’s as a result of they’re primarily talking a special language. The Ocracoke Brogue is a dialect spoken solely on this distant island, a singular accent relationship again to the 1600s that’s derived from Irish and Scottish colonists. The brogue isn’t as frequent because it as soon as was (on account of residents marrying mainlanders, generally known as “dingbats,” and elevating kids who don’t converse the identical means), so it’s disappearing. You possibly can study extra in NC State College professor Walt Wolfram’s e book “Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks.”

Tip #2: Watch the Netflix collection “Outer Banks” for outlandish teen drama, however not for realism. There isn’t a ferry from OBX to Chapel Hill.

Wrightsville Seashore, one of many extra southern seashores, might be the closest seaside getaway from Raleigh. It’s near Wilmington and in addition Carolina Seashore, which has the very best donuts within the state (Britt’s Donuts on the boardwalk). After your donuts, it’s only a couple extra miles to Fort Fisher, which has a state aquarium and a Civil Warfare-era historic web site. Be aware: A tremendous aquarium is situated in Pine Knoll Shores close to Atlantic Seashore, extra within the middle a part of the coast.

Bald Head Island, south of Wrightsville Seashore, is a particular place. Accessible solely by a 20-minute ferry experience from Southport (which you also needs to spend a while in) and there are not any vehicles allowed on the island (aside from emergency autos). You’ll get round by bicycle or golf cart.

Sundown Seashore is the southernmost NC seaside, sitting simply on the South Carolina border.

Seashells litter the shoreline of the Cape Hatteras Nationwide Seashore close to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Thursday, Might 19 2022. Travis Lengthy [email protected]

N&O Reporter Korie Dean has extra data in regards to the coast in her Information to NC Seashores (

Spend time within the NC mountains

There’s a lot to do within the Blue Ridge and Nice Smoky mountains areas that you simply’ll have to plan a number of journeys.

We’ll hit the highlights right here, however for extra element, be sure you try this NC Mountains Information by reporter Kimberly Cataudella (

  • Asheville: This fashionable vacationer vacation spot has some wonderful retailers and eating places (and if you happen to recall from Week 5, a number of breweries!), plus one of many state’s prime sights: The Biltmore Property, a exceptional French Renaissance fortress constructed by George Vanderbilt in 1890. Spring and Christmas are the height visiting occasions. For a very particular go to, e book a room on the historic Grove Park Inn, which allegedly (no, for actual) has a ghost.
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway: The Nationwide Park Service calls this “America’s favourite drive,” with 469 miles to view rugged mountain ranges and pastoral landscapes from Rockfish Hole, Va. to Cherokee, NC. You could even see some bears.
  • Grandfather Mountain: Some of the scenic spots within the state, with a mile-high swinging bridge (the best suspension footbridge within the U.S.) for the courageous.
  • Cherokee: Be taught extra about Cherokee historical past and tradition at Oconaluftee Indian Village, however find time for mountaineering and fishing, and perhaps a visit to the on line casino.
  • Tweetsie Railroad: An old-school, Wild West journey theme park between Boone and Blowing Rock with historic steam-engine practice rides, together with a fall favourite, the Ghost Prepare. The open-air locomotive rides are “interactive,” which means: keep in your toes — there are bandits in them thar hills.
  • Whitewater rafting: A number of nice choices for whitewater rafting and tubing, together with the Nantahala River, the Nolichucky River and the French Broad.
  • Snow snowboarding: Snow snowboarding (and snowboarding) in NC isn’t going to be like snowboarding out west or within the northeast, however it’s nonetheless fairly nice — particularly contemplating it’s only a brief highway journey away. Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain and Appalachian Ski Mountain are among the hottest ski resorts in NC.
  • Appalachian Path: If you happen to’re not prepared for the two,193.1-mile through-hike (Georgia to Maine) you possibly can nonetheless hike the elements of The Path that undergo NC. Based on the AT Conservancy, there are 95.7 miles of the App Path in NC, however The Path runs alongside the NC/Tennessee border for 224.7 extra miles. The perfect sections to hike vary from the Max Patch Bald at Scorching Springs (lower than 2 miles) to the Nice Smoky Mountains traverse close to Fontana Dam and Davenport Hole (72 miles). 
Photographers crowd a rock above the Linn Cove Viaduct to shoot the autumn colours alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway at Grandfather Mountain. Information & Observer file photograph Information & Observer file photograph

Charlotte’s obtained quite a bit

Raleigh’s pleasant rival is the Queen Metropolis to the southwest, and because the most populous metropolis within the state, it has quite a bit to supply (actually, it’s official slogan is “Charlotte’s obtained quite a bit”). From the place we sit, among the principal causes to hit up Charlotte are:

  • The Carolina Panthers, to see NFL motion in particular person.
  • The Charlotte Hornets, for NBA video games.
  • The NASCAR Corridor of Fame + races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • IKEA, for all of your Swedish furnishings and meatball wants.
  • And Carowinds, a world-class amusement park with the Fury 325 curler coaster, thought-about “the quickest and tallest giga coaster on this planet” (that evaluation is from the Theme Park Heart web site — you received’t discover me anyplace close to that factor).

You possibly can even take the Amtrak practice to Charlotte, and skip the interstate site visitors complications. The Piedmont runs from Raleigh to Charlotte day by day.

From Triangle to Triad

Let’s not neglect in regards to the Triad, the area made up of Greensboro, Excessive Level and Winston-Salem. The Triad is nearer to the Triangle than Charlotte, making day journeys very doable.

Greensboro: Greensboro was the location of a historic sit-in at an all-white Woolworth’s lunch counter by 4 NC A&T faculty college students on Feb. 1, 1960. That downtown Woolworth’s constructing is now residence to the Worldwide Civil Rights Heart & Museum, with the precise lunch counter restored and positioned in its authentic location inside. You actually need to see that. Keep in mind, Greensboro is on the Amtrak route.

Excessive Level: Want furnishings? Unassuming Excessive Level simply occurs to be the furnishings capital of the world. Town hosts two furnishings trade commerce reveals annually, and boasts tens of millions of sq. ft of retail commerce and furnishings showrooms. As with Greensboro, it’s on the Amtrak route.

Winston-Salem: You possibly can’t take the Amtrak to Winston-Salem, however it’s nonetheless definitely worth the drive. First in your record needs to be a go to to Previous Salem. The favored historic web site and museum tells the story of Moravian, Black and Indigenous folks within the South. We don’t wish to scale back the significance of Previous Salem to cookies, however significantly, the Moravian cookies are <chef’s kiss>. Winston-Salem additionally has a minor league baseball staff (cool mascot: The Sprint), and it’s solely a 25-minute drive all the way down to Lexington, to pattern a few of that Lexington-style western NC barbecue in particular person. Specialists suggest Lexington Barbecue and B-B-Q Heart.

Learn extra about life within the Triangle

You could find different installments in our Triangle Dwelling collection — about meals, climate, transportation, NC tradition and extra — at