North Carolina is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse regions, from sandy beaches to majestic mountains. The state is home to some of the most beautiful, historic, and dynamic cities in the country. If you begin to feel cabin fever this winter, North Carolina boasts a wonderful assortment of winter day trips throughout the state.
Whether you live in North Carolina or one of its neighboring states, we’ve got great road trip inspiration for you. We’ve shared our favorite day trip ideas in various parts of the state.
Starting in the eastern North Carolina, Wilmington is a great spot for a winter day trip. If it’s a sunny day, explore the neighborhoods and beautiful natural surroundings in this historic city. Plus, there’s a two-mile Riverwalk that you won’t want to miss.
If you’re looking for some history, the Cape Fear Museum should be on your list. Founded in 1898, it’s the oldest history museum in the state and offers a fun way to learn about the region’s history. Another great stop in Wilmington is the Battleship North Carolina, which serves as a historical site and memorial to North Carolinians who died while fighting in World War II. Self-guided tours are available and much of the tour takes place on the ship (with proper public health precautions in place).
The Research Triangle, or known simply as the Triangle, is among the most vibrant regions in North Carolina. Home to an amazing set of universities and research institutes, this area includes Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. Not surprisingly, the Triangle boasts a lot of great museums, including the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Talk about a great place to explore!
If you’re looking for outdoor fun on your winter day trip, Pullen Park in Raleigh has over 66 acres and plenty of space to socially distance. Fun fact: it’s the first public park in the state and includes the fifth oldest operating amusement park in the country. Speaking about outdoor fun, the State Farmers Market in Raleigh is open daily and provides fresh, locally grown produce, meats, and cheeses from area farmers. A great place to refuel as you explore the region.
The Queen City is North Carolina’s largest metropolitan area and is a great destination for a winter day trip. Start in Camp North End, which is an incredible outdoor artistic hub. This winter-friendly community is wroth the trip! For sports enthusiasts, Charlotte boasts the U.S. National Whitewater Center and NASCAR Hall of Fame. The Whitewater Center offers a ton of outdoor activities in winter while the NASCAR Hall is a great indoor stop. Check out websites for both places because they encourage reservations in advance to help them ensure everyone’s safety and follow local COVID guidelines.
Only a 45-minute drive from Charlotte, you also can experience the scenic wonder of Lake Norman. Lake Norman is the largest man-made body of fresh water in North Carolina and offers a wide array of outdoor activities and plenty of options to turn a day trip into a weekend getaway.
We began our winter day trip ideas in the eastern part of the state and end in the west. Nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is known for its natural beauty and vibrant arts scene. Another scene that gets a lot of attention is all the breweries. Asheville has the distinction of boasting more breweries per capita than any other city in the U.S. You can enjoy over 100 local beers, so you’ve got lots of options. Speaking of what makes this area unique, you can’t forget about the Biltmore Estate. Built by the Vanderbilt family, this historic home and museum is iconic.
If you want a winter day trip that’s more focused on the mountains, Asheville’s got you covered as well. Enjoy incredible hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains with these five fabulous trails. Trust us, the views at the top are worth it!
At HHHunt, we believe it’s how you live that matters and we’re proud to be a part of the incredible state that is North Carolina. One of our corporate headquarters is based in Raleigh and we have five communities in the state. Find us at Abberly Woods in Charlotte, Abberly Green in Mooresville, Abberly Grove in Raleigh, and Abberly Place and Abberly Solaire in Garner.