4 road trips you can take from Charlotte, North Carolina

May 7, 2022

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There’s a lot to love about Charlotte, North Carolina. While I no longer live there, I was always finding new hidden gems when I did call the city home.

Summertime is a fantastic time for a road trip, with the windows down for some fresh air and your favorite Spotify playlist turned up. Today, I’m walking through four underrated spots within a four-hour drive from Charlotte.

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1. Looking for a mountain escape? Try Boone, North Carolina

Driving time: Two hours

(sshepard/Getty Images)
You’ll get a 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Mile High Swinging Bridge in Boone, North Carolina. (Photo by sshepard/Getty Images)

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.

You can go hiking, kayaking, fishing and zip lining. I especially love float trips with friends in the summer. Boone is also home to Grandfather Mountain and Mile High Swinging Bridge — the highest suspension footbridge in America.

Boone is also a great spot in the fall and winter. Toward the end of September and into October, the leaves in the mountains turn beautiful shades of yellow, orange and red. Since it’s in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s also perfect for skiers and snowboarders looking for a closer getaway than western spots like Vail.

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

Driving time: Three and a half hours

Johnnie Mercer's pier in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. (Photo by Chad_Talton / Getty Images)
One of my favorite beaches within driving distance of Charlotte is Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. (Photo by Chad_Talton/Getty Images)

When you think of Carolina beaches, your first thought is probably Myrtle Beach. Or, if you watch as much Netflix as I did throughout the pandemic, the Outer Banks. While those are popular spots, I’ve always been a bigger fan of Wrightsville Beach. The water is cleaner and the 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. However, 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, docked along the Cape Fear River.

Pack a small cooler with fruit, sandwiches and ice-cold drinks, and spend a long weekend enjoying the sunshine and waves.

3. Interested in unique breweries? Hit up Asheville, North Carolina

Driving time: Two hours and 15 minutes

(Photo by Caitlin Riddell/The Points Guy)
The Omni Grove Park Inn. (Photo by Caitlin Riddell/The Points Guy)

Fun fact: Asheville has the most breweries per capita in the U.S. However, this mountain 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 — high praise coming from someone who doesn’t even like beer that much).

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. While there’s now a White Duck Taco Shop location in Charlotte, I still highly recommend stopping at the downtown Asheville location.

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

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

Driving time: Three hours and 45 minutes

(Photo by CynthiaAnnF/Getty Images)
With over 24 golf courses from which to choose, Hilton Head is the perfect spot for a quick round. (Photo by CynthiaAnnF/Getty Images)

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 several family-friendly parks, playgrounds and beaches. Renting bikes and kayaks are also popular ways to explore the island and its waterways.

Hilton Head is also the most points-friendly destination on this list. The Marriott Hilton Head or Westin Hilton Head Resort and Spa are both bookable with Marriott Bonvoy points. There’s also Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, though it’s typically harder to find availability.

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

Bottom line

All of these spots are great options for a nearby getaway if you live in Charlotte or the surrounding areas. I no longer live in the area, but I still plan to revisit a few of these spots in the next year when I’m in North Carolina for a visit.

Want to take one of these road trips yourself? Just make sure that you’re using a great credit card for gas and maximizing your hotel or Airbnb bookings.

Featured photo by Sean Pavone/Getty Images.

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