If you’ve known me for a while, you know that I’ve always been a fan of the weekend getaway. Thursday nights I pack my bags, and when 5 p.m. hits on Friday, my husband and I hit the road for a change of scenery.
Since this whole pandemic has made folks hesitant to fly on a plane (myself included), nearby road trips are a great way to scratch that travel itch for the foreseeable future.
Ready to hit the road? I’m sharing my favorite weekend getaways from Raleigh that are just a short drive from the City of Oaks.
Just under two hours from Raleigh, Winston-Salem is a small but charming city that’s on its way up. I spent a weekend there just before the coronavirus pandemic hit and I was pleasantly surprised!
From the cobblestone streets of Old Salem to the vibrant downtown arts district, there’s plenty to do over a weekend in the Camel City. Breweries, funky stores and coffee shops, and art installations are all within walking distance of each other downtown.
Don’t leave without visiting Earl’s Whiskey Bar! Enjoy live music there at night or pop in for this mouth-watering fried chicken biscuit for brunch.
It’s a bit of a hike from Raleigh for a weekend, but if you can swing a half day on a Friday, Charleston is the ultimate charming weekend getaway.
Want a taste of the beach? Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, and Kiawah Island are just a short drive or ferry ride away from downtown Charleston. If you really want to go all out on the water, book this houseboat Airbnb!
Don’t leave without snapping a photo of the homes on Rainbow Row, the most colorful street in the Southeast!
Greensboro is another small city in North Carolina that so many people have been sleeping on! A short 1 hour and 15 minute drive down I-40 will get you there fast after work on a Friday to start your weekend getaway.
Kick your Saturday off with a massive biscuit brunch at Smith Street Diner. Then, head to the International Civil Rights Center & Museum to see the exact lunch counter where four NC A&T students sparked a nationwide push for racial equality in 1960.
Visit the Crooked Tail Cat Café, go on a self-guided mural hunt (there are SO many!) and head downtown after dark for a vibrant nightlife scene on South Elm Street.
Don’t leave without getting a pint at Pig Pounder Brewery. The interior decor and wall art alone is enough of a reason to visit this unique brewery!
Looking for more of a remote getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life? Asheville is a small city in the mountains of western North Carolina with a vibrant arts and craft brewery scene.
The Biltmore Estate is a must-see mansion when in Asheville, especially in the fall or around the holidays. After you hit the Biltmore or breweries, visit the Japenese-inspired Shoji Spa nestled in the trees. You can rent a private salt hot tub for an hour or two and enjoy wine while you soak. I’ve heard it’s divine!
Don’t leave without completing a hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Feeling ambitious? Drive an hour outside of Asheville to hike Mount Mitchell, the highest summit east of the Mississippi.
Known as the Queen City, Charlotte is just far away enough to feel like a true weekend getaway from Raleigh.
By day, take a walk through the charming Fourth Ward neighborhood to see some seriously stunning Victorian homes. Head to Inizio Pizza for lunch and wash it down with a craft beer from one of the many breweries in the NoDa area.
At night, head to the Epicentre in Uptown Charlotte, an urban area full of bustling bars, restaurants, and dance clubs. Put on your dancing shoes and head to the outdoor stage and dance floor at Rooftop 210. Not much of a dancer? Book a historic ghost tour on a segway or on foot.
Don’t leave without taking in the city view at Nuvole 22, a 22-story high rooftop bar in the heart of Charlotte.
I hope that this list of weekend getaways from Raleigh inspires you to get out there and explore more of the Southeast. Let me know where you’re most excited visit in the comments!
If you get through this list, don’t worry – there are more! Richmond, Wilmington, Charlottesville, and Roanoke or on my must-visit list so stay tuned.