Are you seeing your friends and family post their incredible vacation photos on social media and feeling the urge to get away, too? But when you’re tight on vacation days, or vacation funds, that can be a challenge. Or maybe you’ve already had your vacation, but still feel the need to get away? No worries though -- that’s the perfect opportunity for a day trip! Here’s our favorite Day Trips in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia!
Whether you’re looking for the perfect view, a chance to reconnect with nature, or some iconic tourism at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville is a great destination choice. Simply taking a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a day trip in itself, but don’t forget the shopping and dining, and wineries and breweries, if you’d rather take your trip off of the open road.
Not for those afraid of heights, Chimney Rock will provide you with all the expansive views you can wish for. Hiking trails abound, ranging from easy to moderately strenuous. Be sure to take in the flora, fauna, and wildlife, too, while you are here! This day trip destination is more than 535 million years in the making!
Home of Dirty Dancing – need we say more? (Planning a trip in August, check out the Dirty Dancing Festival.) But there is much more to Lake Lure, including fishing, parks, rocking climbing and bouldering, and golf! It is here that a river, streams and waterfalls converge to create this 720 acre lake and resort area.
Want to step back in time? Dreaming of a simpler time? Go back to Mayberry, literally. Mount Airy was where icon Andy Griffith grew up, and a stroll down a street in his hometown makes you feel like you’re walking through Mayberry. While here, you’re close to the Yadkin Valley wine country, Pilot Mountain, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Bald Head Island
If the idea of finding a destination that is inaccessible by car is appealing, Bald Head Island is your place. This island just off of Wilmington offers 14 miles of pristine beaches, golfing, and a maritime forest. Be sure to check out the historical tour while you are there. Bald Head Island played a part in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War!
All of Charleston is a great destination, but Battery Park is a definite must-visit spot. Right on the waterfront, visitors enjoy the beautiful Charlestonian architecture, majestic oak trees and iconic Palmetto trees, cannons, gazebos and statues. While you’re here, you can enjoy gorgeous views of Fort Sumter, Castle Pinckney, and Sullivan Island Lighthouse.
This historic fishing village is just 10 miles away from the busy hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach, but it feels like a different world here. Loved by naturalists as much by fishermen, Murrells Inlet is a place to relax and unwind. Antiques and art lovers will find their passions here, too, as will history buffs (think Native American tribes, Spanish explorers and English colonists).
Huntington Beach State Park
This pristine and wide open beach is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Palmetto State. If you want more than just sandy beaches and ocean swims, check out Atalaya and Brookgreen Gardens while you are here.
Kings Mountain State Park
This park combines history and nature into one great destination. Enjoy miles of trails through the forest, two fishing lakes, and then stop over at the Kings Mountain National Military Park, which was a Revolutionary War site.
Hilton Head Island
Affectionately referred to as America’s favorite island, enjoy 12 miles of gorgeous beaches in this Low Country retreat. Want to get active? Choose from 24 world class golf courses, 350 tennis courts, a horseback ride through a forest preserve, or a bike ride through moss-draped trails, for starters. Be sure not to miss the Harbour Town Lighthouse and Museum.
Monticello Wine Trail
Known as the birthplace of American Wine, Monticello Wine Trail should be on the bucket list of all wine enthusiasts. There are over 30 member wineries located on the wine trail. If you like history as much as your wine, you’ll love knowing that Thomas Jefferson’s vision for American winemaking near his mountaintop home of Monticello is the history to these vineyards.
Whether you are looking for a history fix, or a more adventurous day trip with zip lining, Williamsburg is a great place to visit. Hiking, fishing, golfing, shopping, arts – check and check. It’s all part of a trip to Williamsburg. There’s even a Williamsburg Tasting Trail featuring wine and micro-brewed beers here!
This serene beach location provides visitors unspoiled views of all that nature offers, including wild ponies roaming free on the coast. Chincoteague Island is not only Virginia’s only resort island, but it is also the gateway to Assateague Island, home of the Chincoteague Wild Ponies.
This narrow peninsula between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean features 70 miles of shoreline! In addition to visiting Chincoteague (see above), this barrier island is also home to Tangier Island – another island accessible only by ferry cruise! Be sure to enjoy some fresh oysters while you visit!
Our only underground day trip destination, Luray Caverns is also notable as being 4,000,000 centuries in the making. (Wow, we had to double check that fact!) It is the largest and most popular caverns on the East Coast. It is a world-renowned U.S. national landmark.
We’d love to hear your favorite day trip destinations in the Carolinas and Virginia! Share them with us in the comments below!