Where to go for a three day get away within driving distance of North Carolina?
July 6, 2006 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Where to go for a three day get away within driving distance of North Carolina?

The Scenario: Family mini-vacation (July 21-23) that will be tons of fun within an automobile's reach of Chapel Hill, NC (reasonable driving time please). I'm sick of Myrtle Beach. What are some other places that prove to be exciting and enriching?

Also, suggestions on where to stay? (150 dollar a night range)

Thanks! I'll be happy to provide more info if needed.
posted by jne1813 to Travel & Transportation around North Carolina (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you are all up for a bit of hiking and are not afraid of heights or tight spaces I highly recommend Chimney Rock Park. My parents and I found our way there after attempts to get to the outter banks last year were ruined by the threat of a hurricaine.

It is one of the oddest places I've visited. It is a privately owned park and is expensive to get in. There are trails that go up to chimney rock and also an elevator. Their joke is that the ride up is free but you gotta buy something in the gift shop if you want a ride back down. A lot of the trails are really boardwalks mounted on the side of huge rock faces with a 2000 foot drop and winding creaking stairs. The Chimney Rock isn't even the best part and is only about half as high as the top of the falls you can hike to.

You could certainly spend a full day there but I don't know what else is in the area to do for the other days.
posted by J-Garr at 12:40 PM on July 6, 2006

Asheville. Or, if you want the Myrtle Beach experience in the mountains, try Gatlinburg. I actually really like Gatlinburg - for a day or two - but you must have a high tolerance for cheese; it's second only to South of the Border as a contender for Tackiest Place on Earth.
posted by mygothlaundry at 12:41 PM on July 6, 2006

Washington, DC is only 4.5 hours away!
posted by nflorin at 12:55 PM on July 6, 2006

I second Asheville. We stayed at the beautiful Richmond Hill Inn. You can go to the Biltmore . You're also not very far from Mt. Airey, which is not so great but it's what Mayberry was based on from the Andy Griffith show, I believe. Plus if you like looking at college campuses you're not too far from Davidson.
posted by clairezulkey at 1:01 PM on July 6, 2006

When I lived in Carrboro I took weekend trips to the outer banks, Charlestown (through South of the Border), and various Appalachian locales. You're in such a great location for short road trips! If you like BBQ you can take a road trip to all the great restaurants around you.

If your family enjoys camping, I highly suggest a trip to Hammocks Beach State Park, near Jacksonville. The campsites are only reached via canoe, kayak or ferry, and the campsites are on the beach a few yards from the ocean. Bring sunscreen.
posted by billtron at 1:49 PM on July 6, 2006

A third for Asheville! I'm from a tiny town about 5 minutes from there (Hendersonville, if you're interested - it's gorgeous and quaint, but not exactly exciting), and Asheville is one of my favorite places to explore.

It might be slightly out of your price range, but Blake House Inn is pretty amazing. Crooked Oak Mountain Inn might be closer to your price range, and is also gorgeous (watch for music on this site) - and is really close to downtown Asheville. These are both B&Bs, if you like that type of thing, and if I recall, both are kid friendly.
posted by mewithoutyou at 1:55 PM on July 6, 2006

Depends on what's reasonable driving time to you. Back when I lived in RDU, I went to:

Charleston SC. A very fine city to visit, with much to do.

The Charlottesville area. Mountains, probably a bit cooler and less populated than the mountains of western NC. Also historical stuff like Monticello.

DC and environs. Can combine w/ a stop at King's Dominion just north of Richmond.

NC mountains. I prefer the Boone/Blowing Rock area to the Smokies/Gatlinburg/Dollywood part of the world.

Maybe the mountains of southern VA, around Mt. Rogers. Go up through Mt. Airy and have a lunch of pork chop sammitches at the Snappy Lunch, then head up through the concrete lawn stuff wonderland of Cana and then up to the mountains. Pilot Mountain and Hanging Rock are also not to far from this route.

If you go to Asheville, stop by the zoo in Asheboro in one direction or t'other.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:49 PM on July 6, 2006

Charlotte, NC. A day at Carowinds, a day at Discovery Place with the kids. I've never failed to have fun at either (and I get to do just that one more time before I take off for AK in a couple weeks), from age seven to age twenty-seven.
posted by Cricket at 4:01 PM on July 6, 2006

Cataloochee Ranch, outside Maggie Valley, is fun if you like horses, mountains, hiking. There's a pool with a fantastic view. Meals are served family style and are included (breakfast and dinner) so keep that in mind when looking at prices. Cabins are rustic but comfortable.

We're going to Fontana Village next month, but I haven't been there before so I can't really recommend it yet. Looks like it will be fun, though.

(clairezulkey, Mt. Airy and Davidson are both actually pretty far from Asheville - several hours' drive.)
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:40 PM on July 6, 2006

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