I think Charlotte is a pretty great place to live. Regardless of the fact that I grew up here, it’s got many great perks. Not only is it centrally located (and equipped with an international airport), but Charlotte has seen an economic boom lately that doesn’t appear to be slowing down. We have a number of amazing museums, too many breweries to count, and professional sports teams (Go Panthers!). Add in the great concerts we get (Mumford & Sons, Fleetwood Mac, etc.) and the ideal weather (except in the middle of the summer - it is so hot and humid!), and Charlotte really does have a lot. The restaurant scene isn’t too bad either! While I love living here, I also love to get away for a quick weekend. Luckily, because of Charlotte’s location, there are numerous options to do so! Here are my top five weekend trips to take from Charlotte:
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” - John Muir.
I don’t think I could have said it better myself! While every now and then Charlotte can have a cold winter, we tend to have more mild winters more often than not. Asheville is about 2.5 hours away, and offers the perfect escape for cooler temperatures. Most popular during the fall (when the leaves are changing), Asheville and the surrounding areas also offer great skiing during the winter. While I’ve never been skiing (I know, I need to learn!), I really love going up to the mountains when the leaves are changing! I’ve been to the Biltmore before during their Christmas season, and it’s truly magical. I highly suggest visiting! Even if you can’t make it during the Christmas season, the Biltmore Estate is an incredible place to visit all throughout the year. It’s crazy to think that a family actually lived there! Boone is also about 2.5 hours away, and is the home to Appalachian State University. There's a main street with cute shops and restaurants, and beautiful Linville isn't too far away!
Go Dawgs! Okay, so it’s no secret that I’m a huge UGA fan, hence my love of Athens. Just over 3 hours away, Athens offers that small town charm but has great amenities. I credit Athens with turning me into a major foodie. When I wasn’t studying or attending football games, I was taking in the great restaurants Athens had to offer. Since my time there, the food (and beverage) scene has continued to grow! A few of my favorite restaurants include Five and Ten, Last Resort Grill, Taqueria del Sol, and the Grit. Recently, Creature Comfort joined Terrapin in the brewery scene. Whenever I can get my hands on a Tropicalia, I’m a happy girl! While it’s a ton of fun to visit Athens during football season, it can be extremely expensive (and crowded) to do so. If there’s a home game, hotels require a full weekend stay, with rooms ranging from $250 - $600 per night. If you’re not a die hard UGA fan and would just like to visit Athens, aim for the spring season. Less crowds, pleasant weather, and you still get to experience the college town charm!
I’ve always said that if I didn’t live in Charlotte, I’d either live in London or Charleston. While London is a bit of a stretch, Charleston is definitely a more reasonable possibility. Again, as a foodie, I love the diversity Charleston’s restaurant scene has to offer. From traditional Southern cuisine to modern Mexican, Charleston seems to have it all. Major tourist spots include Rainbow Row, local plantations, the City Market, shopping on King Street, and much more. While you’re in Charleston, it’s worth visiting a few of the surrounding beaches. Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s are my favorites, but there’s also Folly Beach, Edisto, and Kiawah Island.
A little bit further from Charlotte than Charleston, Savannah offers a similar weekend away. History, charm, and great food are all available in Savannah. My favorite spot in Savannah is The Paris Market - you’ll feel transported to Paris the minute you step inside! The main beach close to Savannah is Tybee Island - just a quick drive from downtown Savannah!
About 1.5 hours from Charlotte, Winston-Salem is a bit off the map. While you could make a full weekend out of visiting Winston-Salem, I tend to do a day trip to visit friends. The main attraction in Winston-Salem is the history of the city, which is actually a product of the merging of Winston and Salem in 1913. Winston dates back to 1849, while Salem dates back quite further to 1753. Today, the food scene is expanding, and Winston-Salem has quickly joined the ranks of local towns worth a visit.
Other cities close to Charlotte include Augusta, Georgia, Columbia, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia (a little over 4 hours away, I think Atlanta really requires a full weekend to visit!).