5 perfect weekend trip destinations within 3 hours of Charlotte

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Hikes among brightly colored fall trees. Hopping bar scenes. Coffee shops, boutiques, and bistros. Whether you’re looking for a nature-filled weekend getaway or to check out another city’s nightlife, driving just a few hours outside our city limits will get you just that.

Here are a few of our favorite weekend trip destinations you can reach from Charlotte in under three hours:



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Drive time from Uptown Charlotte: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Things to do: Home to the notoriously energetic Cameron stadium, one of the most exciting things to do in Durham is to catch a Duke basketball game. During the day, check out the university’s stunning Harry-Potter-esque library and the tranquil Duke Gardens. Then, head over to Raleigh for a DIY brewery crawl (Little City Brewing and Provisions Co. and Raleigh Brewing Company are musts).

Where to eat: Bida Manda, an airy, chic Laotian spot, is consistently considered one of the best restaurants in Raleigh.

Where to sip: A rustic bar housed in its namesake’s converted newspaper building, Raleigh Times Bar should be your first stop for a beer or cocktail on a night out. For fancier sips, check out underground, library-themed Watts & Ward around the corner.

Boone/Blowing Rock


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Drive time from Uptown Charlotte: 2 hours

Things to do: Take advantage of the fact that two of the best places to hike in all of North Carolina are easily within driving distance: Trek past natural waterfalls on the Glen Burney Trail or on the Cascades Trail. After, recharge at the Appalachian Mountain Brewery with a beer or two.

Where to eat: Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar serves top-notch contemporary American food in an sleek, modern setting.

Where to sip: Boone’s Lost Province Brewing Co. offers beers on draft, live music and a relaxed, upbeat atmosphere.



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Drive time from Uptown Charlotte: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Things to do: Charlotteans often head to the Asheville area in the fall to see the brilliant red-and-orange-colored views along the way, but there are plenty of other good reasons to make your way to Beer City. Hike nearby trails in the Blue Ridge Mountains, explore the many art galleries in the River Arts District, and tour the fabulous Biltmore, an 800-acre estate that features a winery, multiple restaurants and completely enchanting holiday decorations later in the year.

Where to eat: For awesome barbecue, grab some pulled pork or brisket at the popular local joint 12 Bones Smokehouse.

Where to sip: Aside from the perfectly crafted classic cocktails, Sovereign Remedies also has a great late-night food menu, including bites like crispy pig ears, ramen and grilled cheese.



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Drive time from Uptown Charlotte: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Things to do: Hit the quaint, historical downtown and tour Salem College’s campus, one the oldest women’s colleges in the country, originally founded in 1772. Curl up with a book in one of the town’s many coffee shops, like cozy Ardmore Coffee, or hang out for the afternoon at Wise Man Brewing tastings flights. For time spent outdoors, hike through beautiful Hanging Rock State Park.

Where to eat: Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro is a dreamy, date-night-perfect spot that serves some of the best shrimp and grits (made with prosciutto and sherry cream sauce) you’ll ever try.

Where to sip: Grab a drink at Vintage Sofa Bar, a cool, well-stocked bar that features—yup, you guessed it—a collection of elegant sofas to lounge on throughout its moody, industrial space.

Greenville, SC


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Drive time from Uptown Charlotte: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Things to do: Visit the Greenville County Museum of Art, which offers free admission, or the Greenville Zoo, home to African lions, orangutans, giraffes and more. Of course, for fresh air, you can always hike through nearby Caesar’s Head State Park, too.

Where to eat: The Trappe Door serves a slew of Belgian beers and sharp cocktails paired with tasty, comfort-meal bites like baked brie, buffalo fried oysters and steak frites.

Where to sip: Speakeasy Vault & Vator Cocktails has its own house rules, advising customers it won’t tolerate any orders that consist of cosmos, shots, bombs, light beer, or Red Bull. If you want to be served craft cocktails taken seriously, don’t skip V&V.


  1. Hi! Great article. It would be awesome to include hotel recommendations for each city and perks about the hotels.
    For example, the Cardinal Kimpton hotel in Winston Salem has wine and snacks, live music from 5-6:30, pet friendly, awesome game room with bowling, a full basketball court, shuffle board, etc. and the Katherine Brasserie, contemporary French American, 5 Star restaurant is in the hotel. The bar is also beautiful, great for sports watching.

  2. Rachel,

    You did not mention Spartanburg, SC, home of the Denny’s corporate headquarters. With a revitalized downtown, there is much to do theyre including going to the Denny’s corporate headquarters, which includes the Denny’s museum. The have a cafe theyre that serves all sorts of Denny’s dishes, some that haven’t been on the menu in a long long time! Definitely worth the 1.5 hour drive.


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