With a beautiful coast, bustling cities, and huge mountain ranges, NC has a little something wonderful for everyone. Whether you’re a foodie, shopper, surfer, or adrenaline junkie, you’ll have a blast on any of these North Carolina day trips.
Asheville truly has something for every traveler from the most mellow tourist to the wildest adventure seeker:
- Kayaking, mountain biking, and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains (or hammocking, if that’s more your speed)
- Thriving arts and music scenes
- Award-winning local breweries
- Tours across the Biltmore Estate for history buffs
Keep an eye out for local events as well. With it’s buzzing downtown scene and local college, Asheville loves to throw a good festival almost every weekend. You’ll be hard-pressed not to find something to suit your fancy in this beautiful NC town.
The North Carolina Zoo
Go wild at the world’s largest natural habitat zoo in Asheboro, NC. With over 1,600 animals and more than 3,000 exotic plants across 500 acres, you’re sure to find your new favorite animal. Plus, with summer’s sunny weather, most of the animals will be out and about.
Not an animal lover? No worries! The NC Zoo also offers an Art in the Park art exhibit, ropes courses, playgrounds, shopping, paddle boat tours, and live music events.
Sliding Rock, Brevard
For you adventure seekers out there, Brevard’s Sliding Rock waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest is a perfect summer getaway. Skip the waterpark lines (well, there’s usually still a line, but it’s smaller, faster, and out in the great NC mountains, so it’s worth the wait!), and get a thrill out of this all natural 60-foot slide. The 8-foot pool at the bottom of Sliding Rock offers fun break from the NC heat.
U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte
This 1,300-acre park encompasses the world’s largest man-made whitewater river, where visitors can kayak or whitewater raft on class II-IV rapids. The center also includes part of NC’s Catawba River, where guests can flatwater kayak.
Bonus: The U.S. National Whitewater Center even has something for guests who’d rather stay dry during their visit. You can plan on rock climbing, swinging and leaping through various rope courses, hiking, biking, and even ziplining! If you can’t get enough adventure out of that, they even have 100-foot high jumps available.
Wilmington offers the thriving downtown scene of city life right alongside the relaxing, mellow vibes of the salt life. Can’t decide what’s more appealing? Do it all! Wrightsville Beach is only a 20 minute drive from the heart of downtown Wilmington.
Head on over to Wrightsville Beach in the morning (but be warned, parking is scarce by 10 a.m.) and unwind on NC’s beautiful coast. In the evening, checkout local shops, delicious restaurants, and take a stroll along Wilmington’s famous River Walk. Whatever your scene, you’ll find something to love in Wilmington.
Bonus: If you need to escape the heat but don’t want to stray too far from the sea, the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher is about a 30 minute drive from downtown.
Day trips are a great way to getaway and spice up your summer. Beat the heat and keep your car running smoothly with these car care tips to battle NC’s muggy summer weather.