The end of summer is quickly approaching, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t time for one last epic summer trip. There are so many amazing places near Charlotte that make a great day trip for the whole family. Take a Saturday or Sunday to go explore! If you are the daring type, play hookie from work one day to take one of these five out-of-this-world summer day trips and close out your summer with some awesome memories.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Visit DuPont State Forest to see some of the best waterfalls in North Carolina.
DuPont State Forest is located near Asheville, between the cities of Hendersonville and Brevard. About a two and a half hour drive from Charlotte, this location makes a great weekend day trip.
When you visit DuPont State Forest, you will be amazed by the beautiful waterfalls you encounter.
Sprawling over 10,400 acres, this state forest offers visitors amazing hiking trails that guide you by at least four major waterfalls and many creeks and streams. There are picnic areas along the way which make for great scenic lunch spots, and there is even a trail that winds by a lake and a pasture where horses feed on the property.
When you visit Dupont State Forest, the falls and the greenery will take your breath away and you will lose yourself in the magic of the natural beauties of this North Carolina forest.
2. Explore downtown Greenville, South Carolina.
Greenville, South Carolina is only about an hour and a half away from Charlotte. Downtown Greenville is an awesome little spot where you can find great restaurants, shops, and a cute little downtown park all within a few blocks of each other.
Stroll down Main Street and stop in a sidewalk cafe for a cup of coffee or a local Greenville restaurant to grab a bite. Then wander further into town where you will come across a great little park with beautiful scenery.
Falls Park begins right on Main Street and invites visitors to enjoy paved trails, lots of greenery and flowers, and even a small waterfall feature which can be seen from the downtown area.
If it's a nice day in Greenville, you are sure to see many locals enjoying the park, either walking through, reading on the grassy knoll, or enjoying a picnic lunch with friends. Downtown Greenville is quaint, quiet, and charming, so if you are looking for a new city to explore you must make a day trip here.
3. Take a walk on the wild side at the North Carolina State Zoo.
The North Carolina Zoo is located in Asheboro, which is about an hour and a half away from Charlotte. The zoo is a great day trip for the entire family, as you will see many amazing animals, reptiles, and amphibians. The zoo is known for its themed exhibits, like the Africa exhibit where you will see animals like elephants, lions, and giraffes. In the Aviary exhibit, you will see many exotic birds, tropical plants, and flowers. The North American exhibit features polar bears, tigers, and more!
The zoo is a great place for kids who will be amazed by all the animals they get to see!
You will also find other attraction to keep the kids busy, like face painting and caricature drawings, a kids play zone, Dino Island, a carousel, and tons of restaurants and snacks along the way. If you have a family of animal lovers, you must make a trip out to the North Carolina Zoo before summer's end.
4. Spend the day at Carowinds Theme Park.
For the thrill-seekers out there, Carowinds Theme Park is the place for you! Located on the state lines of North Carolina and South Carolina, Carowinds is Charlotte's only theme park and a major day trip destination.
Carowinds spans 398 acres and offers visitors tons of choices in rides, entertainment, and dining.
Complete with roller coasters, thrill rides, family rides, and kids rides, there is something for everyone at this theme park. Carowinds also has an entire area devoted to splash rides and water slides, so when you visit this summer, make sure you pack a bathing suit so you can enjoy the water park! Carowinds is a great place for families and thrill seekers, and is only about 30 minutes from Center City, Charlotte!
5. Visit one of North Carolina's Vineyards.
Charlotte is located a little over an hour from the Yadkin Valley region of North Carolina, which is home to more than 35 wineries and vineyards! If you enjoy wine tasting, you must head out to the Yadkin Valley Wineries for a day.
Not only do these wineries have amazing views and beautiful scenery, but they serve some of the best North Carolina wines you will find.
You can book formal tours that hit many of the wineries in the Yadkin Valley, or you can plan your own trip and choose to visit the wineries that seem interesting to you. This definitely makes for a relaxing and scenic road trip for those who consider themselves wine connoisseurs!
Did you take any amazing day trips this summer? Tell us where you went (and loved) in the comments!