Updated: Jul 4
One of the things I loved most about living in Charlotte, NC is the accessibility to so many other cities! Charlotte is nestled between the beach, the mountains, large(r) cities, and more! While there is so much to do in Charlotte (see full guide HERE), it's also fun to explore outside of the city! You've got everything you could ever want and need within a 4 hour drive from Charlotte! Some places are perfect for a quick day trip while others are great for a weekend getaway. You can access all of the best sites in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia - that's four states in driving distance!!
PS: Check out my Amazon shopping list for all road trip necessities HERE!
Check out my list of best Road Trips From Charlotte, NC below!
(in order from closest to furthest by miles)
1. Belmont, NC
12 miles // 20 Minutes
Belmont, NC is just 12 miles north of Uptown Charlotte. This makes it an easy drive for a spontaneous afternoon activity. In Belmont, you van visit the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. For a tasty meal, try Nellie's Southern Kitchen - you won't be disappointed with their pimento cheese!
12 miles // 25 Minutes
Having an amusement park so close by gives you the perfect all-day activity for a summer weekend. When I lived in Charlotte, I would purchase the Carowinds Annual Pass and visit the Water Park 2-3 times a summer, Scarowinds in October, and Festival of Lights in December - plus, I'd visit the regular park whenever I wanted! Since it's just a 25 minute drive from uptown Charlotte, you can be spontaneous!
3. Hounds Drive In Theatre
38 miles // 40 minutes
Visit Hounds Drive-In Theatre just 40 minutes outside of Charlotte. Movies start at dusk and feature your favorite classics. At only $20 per car, this is a great date night or family fun activity to do. Plus, it's not too far away from the city so you'll be able to drive and back after one movie!
4. York, SC
35 miles // 55 minutes
This mountain town is full of fresh grown produce and farms that offer U-Pick throughout the fall and summer. My favorites are below!
Windy Hill Orchards (Fall): Apple picking is fun, but when you have Hard Apple Cider to pair it with, it's even MORE fun. Windy Hill Orchards features their own Hard Cider that is absolutely delicious. Visit Windy Hill Orchards, located in York, SC, on a weekend to have live music, food trucks, and more!
Bush-n-Vine (Summer/Fall): Bush-n-Vine farm offers so many options for U-Pick: pumpkins, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and blackberries!! Each crop has a different month so it's open for a longer season
5. Winston Salem, NC
78 miles // 1 hour and 15 minutes
Winston Salem is an artsy city with over 15 different museums to explore. There are over 45 wineries, 12 golf courses, 80 different recreational parks, 4 historic gardens, and more! Check out the college sports (Winston-Salem State University Rams or Wake Forest University Demon Deacons).
6. Getaway Tiny Cabin
89 miles // 1 hour and 30 minutes
Getaway is a Tiny House Cabin with locations sprinkled around the USA. There is one 90 minutes outside of Charlotte that offers a perfect weekend retreat. Escape into nature for a few days. Your Tiny Cabin has a bed, small kitchen, toilet, shower, campsite, and more. They provide you with a lock box for your phone to truly escape (if interested). This is the best spot to be one with nature and truly leave your worries at home. BONUS: Dogs are welcome!
7. Columbia, SC
93 miles // 1 hour and 30 minutes
Columbia, SC is the capitol of South Carolina and offers a wide range of activities! I lived here for 4 years during college and loved to explore this dynamic city. Fair warning - it is HOT in the summer. Check out a few favorites below:
Riverbanks Zoo located in Columbia, SC is a great place for a day trip. There are over 300 different animal exhibits here featuring everything from lions, to tigers, to bears (oh my!).
University of South Carolina is a beautiful campus to walk around and have a picnic. Check out one of their many sporting events too to get the full USC spirit!
8. Lake Lure, NC
92 miles // 1 hour and 45 minutes
Where are all my Dirty Dancing fans at?! The classic romance movie, Dirty Dancing, was filmed here in Lake Lure. There is even an annual festival each September to celebrate the movie! Be sure to check out some of the sites where the movie was filmed!
Not into Dirty Dancing? No worries - there is still so much Lake Lure has to offer! Drive up to Chimney Rock for the best panorama of Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can also visit a Train Museum, 4 Different Golf Courses, or explore the lake.
9. Sky Top Orchards
103 miles // 1 hour and 45 minutes
Sky Top Orchards is a beautiful place to go apple picking with a view of the Pisgah National Forrest. Apple Season is in the fall, so you'll be surrounded by the changing leaves of the forests around you. Along with apple picking, be sure to try some of their fresh food! The hot apple cider donuts are a must! Kids will also enjoy tractor rides, feeding the ducks, and more.
10. Boone, NC
117 miles // 2 hours
Boone is the perfect place for outdoor lovers. I love this full guide to Boone, NC.
During the winter season, folks flock to Boone to enjoy the snow covered mountains and participate in the snow sports. You can ski, snowboard, or sled here in Boone all winter long!
The summer here is just as fun though with white water rafting and hiking trails galore! My favorite hike is the Mile High Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain!
11. Asheville, NC
128 miles / 2 hours and 20 minutes
The number one most popular road trip destination from Charlotte, NC is Asheville, NC and it is easy to see why!! Asheville is a beautiful mountain town that features tons of local breweries, artsy shops, and the infamous Biltmore Estate. The Biltmore Estate is a breathtaking historic home with their own winery, garden, and more! You could spend the entire weekend just at the Biltmore enjoying the wines and garden or venture into downtown Asheville for a fun, hip vibe.
12. Raleigh, NC
165 miles // 2 hours and 37 minutes
Looking to escape to another populated city? City to city road trips are just as fun! Raleigh takes the lead for the most concerts in North Carolina. On top of that, there are over 25 local breweries all over Raleigh. The DMC in Raleigh has complied a list of the top 30 attractions here in Raleigh - check it out here!
13. Hot Springs, NC
165 miles // 2 hours and 45 minutes
Looking for a relaxing mountain getaway? Look no further. Hot Springs, NC features 12 different natural hot mineral waters for the ultimate relaxation getaway.
If that doesn't convince you to visit Hot Springs, maybe the hundreds of hiking trails, beautiful mountain views, horseback riding, or white water rafting will tempt you! No matter what activity you choose here in Hot Springs, you won't be disappointed.
Related Post: Road Trip Travel Essentials
14. Myrtle Beach, SC
175 miles // 3 hours and 28 minutes
The Carolina's have deemed Myrtle Beach "Dirty Myrtle" but don't let that stop you from visiting. Myrtle Beach is a classic beach town with resorts all along the ocean. It's a fairly cheap city so you won't have to break the bank on this beach vacay.
15. Wilmington, NC
200 miles // 3 hours and 25 minutes
Ah, there's nothing better than a beach getaway. Wilmington is the best of both worlds because it offers amazing beach access with a fun town that still offers a lot to do. My personal favorite thing to do is a Self-Guided One Tree Hill Tour to see all the filming locations from the TV Show. Growing up, I was obsessed with One Tree Hill so it was amazing to see it come to life right in front of me.
16. Pigeon Forge, TN
203 miles // 3 hours and 50 minutes
Pigeon Forge is a tourist destination with hundreds of options! Visit Dollywood, The Titanic Museum, race go-karts, try white water rafting, sip on moonshine, ... the list just goes on and on. This tourist destination is in the mountains which makes for a fun escape from the city.
17. Charleston, SC
208 miles // 3 hours and 14 minutes
I moved from Charleston, SC to Charlotte, NC so I have a connection and love for both cities. Charleston, SC is the most historic and charming southern city in the USA. It's easy to spend a weekend (or a full week) exploring Charleston's history and culture. My full Charleston, SC guide is here.
18. Atlanta, GA
245 miles // 3 hours and 55 minutes
Many people compare Charlotte to Atlanta and say it's a smaller, better version of Atlanta with less traffic. That may be true, but Atlanta still takes the cake for largest city with the most to do! Explore my Guide to Atlanta, Georgia here.
Bonus: There is a fun scavenger hunt in Atlanta for the Tiny Doors (full post here) - how many can you find?
19. Nags Head Island
365 miles // 5 hours and 35 minutes
Okay, this is a long drive but hear my out. Nags Head Island is located in the central Outer Banks area. It's a beach lovers paradise with white sand and ocean waves. But that's not all - explore the light house or Jennette's Pier. The official Outer Banks website has all of the details on what to do and best tips for Nags Head Island.
These are just a handful of options that are in driving distance of Charlotte, NC. The list is truly endless with so many great options for anyone. Hikes, beaches, and cities are all plentiful and within a 4 hour drive. So, what are you waiting for? Plan your next weekend road trip!
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