Summer is winding down. We know, we know. We are in denial too! If you aren’t ready to say goodbye just yet, check out some of our favorite last-minute weekend trips from Charlotte to help you savor all of the seconds of summer…
Your mind might automatically think beach or mountains when it comes to a weekend getaway, but don’t sleep on Greenville, SC. Recently voted the #1 Friendliest City in the U.S., Greenville prides itself on its southern hospitality. Its charming Main St. is award-winning and, while you are exploring downtown, don’t miss Reedy River Falls beneath the Liberty Bridge. How many towns have waterfalls running through their center city? So cool! Plus, Greenville also has a great emerging food scene. It was recently voted the #3 Top New Foodie City in America by People Magazine and is home to over 20 breweries.
Blowing Rock, NC
Less than 2 hours from Charlotte, Blowing Rock is always a favorite mountain escape to take in the fresh mountain air. No matter what season you choose to visit, there are always fun outdoor activities to do. From hiking up to the observation deck at its namesake Blowing Rock and snow skiing on Appalachian Ski Mountain to kayaking on the New River and driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway to see the leaves change, there is something for everyone. Plus, if your family is along for the ride, check out Tweetie Railroad, a Wild West-themed amusement park featuring a working historic steam locomotive.
North Carolina may be famous for a lot of things, but barbeque certainly tops the list for many people. The small town of Lexington, only an hour’s drive from Charlotte, proudly holds the title of “The Barbeque Capital of the World” with more than a dozen BBQ restaurants to choose from. There is even an annual barbeque festival every October filled with cooking competitions, concerts, and, of course, lots of food! Lexington is also home to Childress Vineyards, a weekend vacation destination in itself. The 70-acre vineyard offers plenty of space to roam while you sample from a selection of more than 30 wines including house blends, varietals, reserve wines, dessert wines, and the NC favorite – Muscadine wines.
Cashiers, NC and Highlands, NC
A little further southwest in the North Carolina mountains with a higher elevation, you will find the neighboring towns of Cashiers, NC and Highlands, NC nestled in the Nantahala National Forest. Combined, the two towns offer boutique shopping, luxe accommodations, golf, fine dining, and unmatched views. The perfect place to go if you are looking for a relaxing refresh in a postcard setting. And no trip is complete without a stop (or stay!) at the award-winning Old Edwards Inn and Spa, a beautiful historic resort with a full-service European-style spa.
Around 3 hours from Charlotte across the state line, you will find one of the Southeast’s biggest treasures, Charleston. Charleston’s historic district is second to none and brimming with charm thanks to its brightly-colored buildings, cobblestone streets, and horse-drawn carriages. Steeped in tradition, Charleston offers the best of the past and present and has even been voted the #1 City in the U.S. and Canada by Condé Nast Traveler. You can’t go wrong with a city that offers award-winning dining, shopping, and accommodations, all just steps from the coast!
Asheville isn’t just another picturesque mountain town. It has a unique vibe all its own that keeps us coming back time and time again. Locals have embraced the slogan “Keep Asheville Weird” and they have the right idea. You will find lots of eclectic shops, diverse restaurants, and a booming craft brewery scene. Plus, Asheville is also home to North Carolina’s most popular tourist attraction – the Biltmore Estate, the largest home in the U.S. with 175,000 square feet, 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces located on 8,000 acres.
The Crystal Coast, NC
The Crystal Coast is an 85-mile stretch of beaches also known as the Southern Outer Banks. The span of towns – including Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Cape Lookout, Emerald Isle, and Morehead City – offers lots of places to go and see but, let’s be honest, the biggest draw is the beach. Sandy shorelines and clear water set the stage for long walks, surfing, paddleboarding, world-class fishing, boating, and more. The south-facing beaches also put on a stunning show at both sunrise and sunset that you definitely want to catch.
Do you have a favorite weekend trip? Share your recommendations in the comments below. We are always up for a last-minute getaway!