Weekend Getaways from Raleigh North Carolina
Need a getaway? Same!! I mean, who doesn’t love a weekend getaway? If you’re looking for somewhere new and different to explore, today I’m sharing some of the best weekend trips from Raleigh NC.
We’ve got ideas on the best things to do, tips, tricks and more for over twenty destinations within a five hour drive of Raleigh, North Carolina. Whether you’re looking for an active weekend, some time with the family, or a little rest and relaxation, there is literally somewhere for everyone!
In this post, we’ll cover over 20 ideas for east coast weekend getaways to inspire your next mini vacay. Not only are these some of the best weekend trips from Raleigh, but really in the general Mid-Atlantic east coast region of the USA.
- Wilmington, NC
- Charlotte, NC
- Richmond, VA
- Roanoke, VA
- Bald Head Island, NC
- Blue Ridge Parkway, NC
- Williamsburg, VA
- Wintergreen Mountain Resort, VA
- Outer Banks, NC
- Myrtle Beach, SC
- Charlottesville, VA
- Virginia Beach, VA
- Columbia, SC
- Asheville, NC
- Greenville, SC
- Massanutten Resort, VA
- Washington DC
- The Greenbrier Resort
- New River Gorge National Park, WV
- Charleston, SC
- Savannah, GA
- Gatlinburg, TN
So, the only question is…which of these weekend trips from Raleigh will you plan next?
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Weekend Trips from the Triangle within 3 hours:
If you’re looking for quick weekend getaways in NC from the Triangle area, here are some of our favorite vacation spots perfect for families, couples, or even to go solo! You can get to each of these weekend getaways in less than three hours drive time!
Wilmington, North Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to Wilmington is 2 hours 15 minutes drive time (144 miles)
While Wilmington is doable as a day trip from the Triangle area, we happen to think it’s one of the best weekend getaways in NC! You are definitely going to want more than just a day to explore this cute coastal town and area beaches.
Suggested activities in Wilmington:
- Hit up Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach
- Explore the downtown area and Riverwalk
- Grab a coffee at Bitty & Beau’s or Bespoke Coffee & Dry Goods
- Hop on the Ale-Trail- visit one or more of Wilmington’s 16 different breweries
- Get your history lesson at Fort Fisher, the Battleship North Carolina, Cape Fear Museum or Bellamy Mansion
- Visit Carolina Beach State Park, Stanley Rehder Carnivorous Garden, and Airlie Gardens
Suggested places to stay in Wilmington:
Depending on which area you want to be in, in Wrightsville Beach we like the Holiday Inn Resort or a VRBO vacation rental in Kure Beach. Downtown we like The Hive or The Courtyard Wilmington Downtown.
Wilmington is like our second home…so we have tons of info on the blog about the area! Read more in our detailed guides to Wilmington and Carolina Beach. Looking for romantic getaways from Raleigh? Wilmington is the perfect NC destination! Find out where to eat in Wilmington and then watch the sunset together!
Charlotte, North Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to Charlotte is 2 hours 20 minutes drive time (157 miles)
Also known as The Queen City, Charlotte is a vibrant city full of fun things to do and amazing places to eat! We love Charlotte as it is one of the easiest quick getaways in NC from Raleigh.
Suggested activities in Charlotte:
- See a NASCAR race or visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame
- US National Whitewater Center
- The Mint Museum
- Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens
- Get shopping at any of the super cute boutiques and local shops!
- Dive in to the newly exploding craft beer and brewery scene (there’s also several wineries nearby too!)
- Get your adrenaline pumping at Carowinds amusement park
Suggested places to stay in Charlotte:
Distance: Raleigh to Richmond is 2 hours 30 minutes drive time (161 miles)
From city life to fun outdoor activities to incredible bites, there is no doubt you’ll have plenty to do in Richmond! An easy weekend getaway from North Carolina, Richmond is also a great stop on any east coast road trip!
Suggested activities in Richmond:
- James River Park – get outside by biking, climbing, hiking and more!
- The Footbridge and Belle Isle
- Check out the amazing street art on the Canal Walk
- Explore all the Museums! We think the Poe Museum is super cool!
- Visit historical St. John’s Church
- Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Suggested places to stay in Richmond:
Let’s face it…a weekend getaway can still go awry without a little planning! Grab our FREE planning worksheet and road trip essentials checklist before you hit the road!
Distance: Raleigh to Roanoke is 2 hours 50 minutes drive time (145 miles)
Roanoke is a great destination is you’re looking for a weekend trip from Raleigh. As part of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, this is a great starting point for an epic scenic drive or weekend getaway for beautiful fall foliage.
Suggested activities in Roanoke:
- Start or end your Blue Ridge Parkway road trip in Roanoke!
- Visit Mill Mountain and take in the epic views of the city (also don’t forget to get a photo of the famous Roanoke star!)
- Visit an apple orchard or local winery
- Find the “LOVEworks” sign- this is such a fun photo opp!
- Check out the Taubman Museum of Art
Suggested places to stay in Roanoke:
Bald Head Island, North Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to the Bald Head Island Ferry is 2 hours 45 minutes drive time (177 miles) plus a 20 minute ferry ride.
Warning! You might fall in love with this charming little North Carolina town where no cars are allowed and you have to get around via golf cart, bicycle, or on foot. Only accessible via ferry, Bald Head Island is one of the best weekend trips from Raleigh for rest and relaxation! (We also happen to think it’s one of the best romantic getaways near Raleigh!)
Suggested activities in Bald Head Island:
- Go to the top of Old Baldy
- Soak up some vitamin D and enjoy the pristine beaches
- Rent bicycles and explore!
- Get out on the water with a kayak or SUP tour or even a fishing excursion
- Indulge your sweet tooth with a famous ice cream sandwich from Nye’s!
Suggested places to stay on Bald Head Island:
There really aren’t any hotels on Bald Head Island. You’ll likely need to get a vacation rental. Pro Tip: Make sure your rental is actually on Bald Head Island. A lot of search results will show you Southport, Wilmington, Carolina Beach and further which are not exactly where you want to be!
Want more info? Check out our full guide to visiting Bald Head Island!
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to Blowing Rock is 3 hours drive time (184 miles)
Known as “America’s Favorite Drive”, the Blue Ridge Parkway spans 469 miles through North Carolina and Virginia. Lovely any time of year, it is definitely one of the more popular vacation spots near Raleigh for fall foliage! While there are endless places to stay, we like Blowing Rock in particular as a weekend getaway from Raleigh. We also happen to think it’s one of the best weekend trips from Raleigh NC we can think of!
Suggested activities on the Blue Ridge Parkway:
- Explore downtown, visit “the blowing rock”, and check out the fun shopping.
- Explore the nearby town of Boone, grab a bite at the Dan’l Boone Inn, and treat the kids at Tweetsie Railroad
- Check out Grandfather Mountain and Grandfather Vineyard & Winery
- Visit Linville Gorge and Falls
- Check out the many epic scenic viewpoints along the Blue Ridge Parkway- get out and hike if you can!
Suggested places to stay in Blowing Rock:
Weekend Trips from Raleigh within 4 hours:
We’re so lucky to have so many awesome vacation spots within an easy four hour drive of Raleigh, NC. From the mountains to the beaches, there’s something for everyone! History, outdoor fun, winter activities and more can be at your fingertips with any of these weekend trips from Raleigh NC!
Make sure to add any of these southern vacation spots to your USA bucket list! They’re worth it- trust us!
Distance: Raleigh to Williamsburg is 3 hours 15 minutes drive time (187 miles)
Step back in time into the world’s largest living history museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, where history is actually fun and educational!
Suggested activities in Williamsburg:
- Colonial Williamsburg: Walk down Gloucester St, visit the Governor’s Palace, and the George Wythe House
- Have an authentic colonial meal at the King’s Arms Tavern
- Try drinking chocolate at R. Charleton’s Coffeehouse
- Visit Historic Jamestown settlement and Yorktown
- Busch Gardens, Water Country USA, or Great Wolf Lodge
Suggested places to stay in Williamsburg:
Wintergreen Mountain Resort, Virginia
Distance: Raleigh to Wintergreen is 3 hours 20 minutes drive time (188 miles)
Wintergreen Mountain Resort is one of the best and most convenient winter weekend trips from Raleigh, NC! And although I always think of them as a winter destination, there are actually a ton of fun things to do year round.
Suggested activities at Wintergreen Mountain Resort:
- Winter fun: skiing, tubing, and snowboarding (If this is your first time, I highly recommend taking a lesson!) Not into snow sports? Just relax with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate by the fire!
- Hiking, swimming, tennis, golf, and even tubing during the summer!
- Hang out by the lake or the river and swim or try your hand at fly fishing
- Visit one of many nearby breweries, wineries, and even cideries!
- Visit the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains and get outside!
Suggested places to stay in Wintergreen:
Outer Banks of North Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to Nags Head is 3 hours 20 minutes drive time (211 miles)
Simply put, we think the Outer Banks is one of the best weekend getaways in NC. Strong statement, maybe? But honestly, there are so many fun things to do year round in the Outer Banks, you just can’t go wrong with a weekend trip here.
Suggested activities in the Outer Banks:
- See the wild horses of Corolla- truly a unique thing to do in NC!
- Visit Jockey’s Ridge- the tallest living sand dune system on the east coast!
- Get your history lesson at the Wright Brother’s Memorial or go see The Lost Colony performance and explore the grounds.
- Go lighthouse hunting for any of the five area lighthouses!
- Visit the NC Aquarium and explore the ever so charming town of Manteo
- Enjoy the beautiful beaches and sound! Go surfing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, rent jet skis, boats, parasailing, hang gliding, and more!
- Try your hand at fishing. Whether you’re a first timer or more seasoned, there are fishing opportunities galore! Book a private deep sea fishing charter or grab your own gear and fish at the beach or off of the popular Jenette’s Pier.
Suggested places to stay in the Outer Banks:
The Outer Banks consists of ten different small towns and spans over 175 miles of North Carolina coastline and barrier islands. We usually stay in Duck or Nags Head, but have stayed all over. While there aren’t too many hotels along the OBX, we do recommend the Hilton Garden Inn if a hotel is your preference. Otherwise, most people stay in vacation homes like these. We also recommend The Saturday House Airbnb!
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to Myrtle Beach is 3 hours 20 minutes drive time (197 miles)
One of the best weekend trips from Raleigh for some fun in the sun, Myrtle Beach is actually a great year round destination. It’s one of those places people either love or hate, but there’s no denying, there’s a lot to do in Myrtle Beach!
Suggested activities in Myrtle Beach:
- Go to dinner and a show! Medieval Times and Pirate’s Voyage are both fun options for all ages!
- Go shopping!! Endless shopping options from Christmas shops to outlet malls to boutique stores galore!
- Golf! Whether you’re into real golf or miniature golf- this is the golf capital of the world.
- Brookgreen Gardens- a can’t miss attraction in Myrtle Beach…beautiful year round!
- Get your beach on! Whether you like to splash in the waves or just search for seashells, enjoy Myrtle Beach’s 60 miles of gorgeous coastline.
- Check out the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and take a ride in the climate controlled Sky Wheel!
Suggested places to stay in Myrtle Beach:
Read our full guide to the best things to do in Myrtle Beach!
Distance: Raleigh to Charlottesville is 3 hours 30 minutes drive time (179 miles)
Home to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville is a super fun town and a perfect weekend getaway from NC! Whether you’re looking to soak up some of the local history or get outside, this is an easy weekend trip from Raleigh NC!
Suggested activities in Charlottesville:
- Get a history lesson by visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (If that’s not enough history for you, visit James Monroe’s Highland which is close by too!)
- Get schooled at the University of Virginia- we love checking out college campuses when we travel!
- Explore the Historic Downtown Mall – a fun spot for dining, shopping and entertainment in Charlottesville
- If you’re a Dave Matthews fan (like us!), grab a bit to eat at Miller’s Downtown, the restaurant where Dave worked and the band was formed!
- Grab a bagel from Bodo’s! YUMMM
- Get outside and explore the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah National Park
Suggested places to stay in Charlottesville:
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Distance: Raleigh to Virginia Beach is 3 hours 30 minutes drive time (216 miles)
Virginia Beach is a great spot for a weekend trip to the beach! A great destination if you’re looking for some fun in the sun and time outdoors. But don’t worry, there are still fun things to do in the area even if you’re visiting during the off season too!
Suggested activities in Virginia Beach:
- Go to the beach! While you’re at it, visit the Virginia Beach Boardwalk too. Looking for a quieter option? Go to Sandbridge Beach.
- Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge
- Check out the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
- Explore First Landing State Park- rent jet skis, paddle boards, kayaks, boats and more!
- Get your adrenaline fix at The Adventure Park
- Check out Cape Henry Lighthouse
Suggested places to stay in Virginia Beach:
Popular places to stay in Virginia Beach include the Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront and The Historic Cavalier Resort. Of course we also recommend vacation home rentals when staying at the beach- we’ve had the most luck with VRBO!
We love a beach vacation! Need some more inspo? Read our full guide to the best family friendly beaches up and down the east coast!
Asheville, North Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to Asheville is 3 hours 40 minutes drive time (237 miles)
Asheville is our favorite western NC town!! Such a fun and hipster vibe, awesome outdoor activities, and a great foodie scene, we cannot get enough of Asheville! (Pssst…We also highly recommend Asheville if you’re looking for romantic getaways near Raleigh!)
Suggested activities in Asheville:
- Visit The Biltmore Estate! You don’t want to miss this one!
- French Broad Chocolate Lounge
- The Pinball Museum
- Western NC Nature Center
- Go hiking! Some of our fave hikes nearby are Craggy Pinnacle, Catawba Falls, and Chimney Rock State Park.
- EAT & DRINK! Seriously…Asheville has so many great restaurants and breweries. Our personal fave is Biscuit Head.
Suggested places to stay in Asheville:
Columbia, South Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to Columbia is 3 hours 40 minutes drive time (242 miles)
Another of our favorite college towns, Columbia, SC is a fun and vibrant city with a ton of southern charm. We personally have visited several times as a home base for a visit to Augusta, Georgia to see a practice round at the Masters Golf Tournament. Columbia SC has tons of family friendly things to do and is a perfect weekend getaway from Raleigh.
Suggested activities in Columbia:
- Riverbanks Zoo & Botanical Gardens – a smaller zoo that packs a big punch is a beautiful setting.
- Explore the University of South Carolina
- Visit the South Carolina State House & State Museum
- Take the kids to EdVenture Children’s Museum – trust me, they won’t want to leave!
- Visit the Columbia Museum of Art
- Get active along the Columbia Canal & Riverfront
- Check out one of the world’s largest deciduous forests at Congaree National Park!
- And don’t miss the world’s largest fire hydrant at Busted Plug Plaza!
Suggested places to stay in Columbia:
Greenville, South Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to Greenville is 4 hours (249 miles)
Greenville, SC is one of those cities that has really gained a lot of popularity over the last few years- it was even voted one of the “top small towns in America”! With a beautiful and walkable downtown area, there are a lot of fun things to do making it an awesome weekend trip from NC!
Suggested activities in Greenville
- Eat! Greenville has an incredible foodie scene. Check out Bacon Brothers Public House, Grill Marks, Soby’s, and Maple Street Biscuit Company to name a few.
- Walk around and explore Falls Park on the Reedy in downtown Greenville
- Grab coffee at Spill the Beans
- Rent bikes and ride the Swamp Rabbit Trail
- Grab a craft beer at Birds Fly South or Swamp Rabbit Brewery
- Go beyond the city and explore Paris Mountain State Park, Pretty Place, and Traveler’s Rest.
Suggested places to stay in Greenville:
Weekend Trips from NC within 5 hours:
Everyone’s tolerance for drive time is different. We personally are willing to drive five hours for a fun weekend getaway so we have included several options of weekend trips from Raleigh that are within five hour road trip.
Be sure to grab our road trip essentials checklist before heading out!
Massanutten Resort, Virginia
Distance: 4 hours and 10 minutes drive time (231 miles)
Looking for a fun mountain getaway from NC? Massanutten is a popular choice for families because of the abundance of activities and of course, the waterpark!
Suggested activities at Massanutten Resort:
- Doesn’t matter what time of year you visit since they have an indoor and outdoor waterpark to enjoy!
- Swim, fish, hike, horseback rides, mini golf, bumper cars, and more! Heck you can even take a carriage ride.
- Canoe, kayak, or tube the Shenandoah River
- Do all the winter things: skiing, snow boarding, tubing, ice skating, and more!
- Relax at the onsite spa
- Try your hand at a game of golf at one of the two 18 hole courses
Suggested places to stay near Massanutten:
Distance: Raleigh to Washington DC is 4 hours 15 minutes drive time (269 miles)
Washington DC is a must visit and belongs on every bucket list! So why not make it into a weekend getaway? Perfect for families and more, this is an easy weekend trip from Raleigh that everyone should do!
Suggested activities in Washington DC:
- Visit the White House and Capitol Building
- Visit the National Monuments and Memorials
- Visit the National Zoo
- Try a Georgetown cupcake- I mean, you just have to!
- Catch the cherry blossoms if you’re visiting during springtime.
- Grab brunch at Founding Farmers- you won’t regret it!
- Check out the ever changing art scene!
- Visit the National Harbor or hang out at the new Wharf
- Get outside! Check out some of the local parks or rent a kayak and explore the Potomac River
- Pay your respects at Arlington National Cemetery- this is a stop you won’t ever forget. And if you have time, definitely consider exploring the fun town of Arlington too!
Suggested places to stay in Washington DC:
So many great places to stay in the DC area depending on your budget. Need budget friendly? Check out the Residence Inn Washington DC (so you can walk or take the metro most places!). Luxury but still family friendly? Check out the Willard Intercontinental Washington.
The Greenbrier Resort, West Virginia
Distance: Raleigh to The Greenbrier is 4 hours 20 minutes drive time (228miles)
Also known as “America’s Resort”, the Greenbrier is a weekend getaway made easy! Get pampered, step back in time, and enjoy the endless activities at The Greenbrier Resort.
Suggested activities at The Greenbrier Resort:
- Maximize your R & R with a trip to the on site spa
- Make time for afternoon tea- it’s a must!
- Check out any of the five world class golf courses.
- Keep busy with the many activities from swimming, tennis, horse back riding, escape rooms, carriage rides, pickle ball, shopping, and more. Be sure to check the daily schedule.
- Indulge your cravings at the amazing restaurants!
Suggested places to stay at The Greenbrier:
The Greenbrier! Duh!
New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia
Distance: Raleigh to New River Gorge National Park is 4 hours 15 minutes drive time (252 miles)
If a visit to the nation’s newest National Park isn’t on your radar, it should be!
Suggested activities at New River Gorge National Park:
- Try the world famous white water rafting
- Hike, rappel, and even climb inside the park!
- If you’re into fall foliage, this is another great option, but make sure to check out the New River Gorge Bridge any time of year!
- Try mountain biking since this is one of the few national parks to allow it!
- Find some yummy food options (like The Cathedral Cafe) and explore the adorable town of Fayetteville
- Check out nearby Summersville Lake
- Be sure to stop by the Visitor’s Center, grab a Junior Ranger Badge if you have littles, and of course always remember to Leave No Trace
Suggested places to stay near New River Gorge National Park:
Charleston, South Carolina
Distance: Raleigh to Charleston is 4 hours 20 minutes drive time (295 miles)
Charleston is the ultimate weekend getaway to me!! It is just one of those towns I can’t get enough of! Whether it’s a romantic getaway for two or a whole family weekend, I just love it!
Suggested activities in Charleston:
- Explore the City Market, Waterfront Park, and Downtown Charleston
- Eat at SNOB, Callie’s Little Biscuit, Husk, or High Cotton
- Immerse yourself in history at Fort Sumter and Patriot’s Point
- Take a carriage tour!
- Check out the SC Aquarium
- Stand in awe of the Angel Oak Tree- one of the nation’s oldest living organisms!
- Soak up the sun and play at one of several beautiful area beaches
Suggested places to stay in Charleston:
Visiting Charleston with your family? Read our guide to Charleston with kids!
Distance: Raleigh to Savannah is 5 hours drive time (338 miles)
Suggested activities in Savannah:
Suggested places to stay in Savannah:
Really get an authentic experience and stay in a historic home while visiting Savannah. Looking for a traditional hotel? For an entirely upscale and unique experience, try the Mansion on Forsyth Park. For more of a resort feel, try the JW Marriott Savannah Plant Riverside. For a budget friendly option, try the Fairfield Inn Savannah Downtown.
Distance: Raleigh to Gatlinburg is 5 hours drive time (316 miles)
The Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area have a ton of things to do! Slow down and escape into nature or jam pack your itinerary full of fun activities, there is literally something for everyone here. This area is a little further away for a weekend getaway, yet still worth the drive if you’re up for it!
Suggested activities in Gatlinburg:
- Get lost in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (well…please don’t really get lost! LOL). Go hiking, chase waterfalls, and
- Go to Dollywood!!
- Do the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud- fun entertainment for the whole family
- Visit Anakeesta – an outdoor family these park for all ages! Don’t forget to cross the longest pedestrian suspension bridge at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park.
- Catch views at the Gatlinburg Space Needle
Suggested places to stay in Gatlinburg:
If you love road tripping like we do, check out our guide to road trips in the southeast USA. Many of these southern destinations are perfect additions to your next road trip!
Whether you’re looking to have a quiet weekend away from all the normal day to day hustle and bustle or you’re looking for an adventure, there are some pretty epic weekend trips from NC here to choose from! Now all you have to do is sit down, take a look at your calendar, and start planning! Which of these weekend getaways will you choose as your first mini vacation?