In addition to the many local attractions that the Triangle has to offer, there are several that make a terrific weekend getaway. All listed below are less than a 5 hour drive from most areas of the Triangle and can be fully enjoyed with a one or two night stay.
Wilmington is a short two hour drive from Raleigh and is surrounded by some of the best beaches on the east coast. It is also home to the NC Azalea Festival held in April and Riverfest typically held at the end of September. Other attractions include the battleship North Carolina, the brand new Front Street Farmers Market and the nearby NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Just to the south of Wilmington you will find the Brunswick County beaches.
If altitude affects attitude, then the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains will elevate your mood. So will the sights and sounds of this western North Carolina city located some 4 hours to the west of raleigh. Attractions include The Biltmore House or perhaps you enjoy whitewater rafting. Every fall, the beautiful colors of the changing leaves attract thousands of visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway .
THE OUTER BANKS, NC
Play on the beach, fish in the surf, visit shops and over 200 restaurants, most featuring fresh seafood. You'll want to visit the Wright Brothers Memorial commemorating the world's first powered flight and Jockey's Ridge State Park, home of the largest sand dune on the east coast. If lighthouses are your thing, there are several to visit, many of which you can climb including the world famous Cape Hatteras lighthouse. Travel time to the Outer Banks is just shy of four hours from Raleigh. My personal opinion is that the best time to visit is right after afte Labor day weekend when the weather and surf are the warmest and the summer crowds have diminished.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC
Although named the "Golf Destination of the Year" in 2002 with 117 available courses to play on, sand & surf remain the #1 attraction. Entertainment, restaurants and shopping abound in this southern resort city. Travel time from Raleigh is 3 1/2 hours.
Experience a fun mixture of past and present in this coastal city touted as "Where History Lives". The city offers in addition to touring homes, gardens and historic places, plenty of dining and entertainment choices. Attractions include The South Carolina Aquarium, Battery Park waterfront, Fort Sumter and the aircraft carrier Yorktown. Travel time to Charleston is a little over 4 hours.
Sightseeing our nation's capital never gets old. If you can avoid the rush hour, downtown Washington is less than a 4 1/2 hour drive. Having lived in the DC area, I would strongly suggest using the Metrorail subway system to get around. It is clean and very efficient with stops at all the major sites. For a special trip, you need to schedule a visit in April when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
LIKE TO SNOW SKI? Despite being in the south, North Carolina offers some great snow skiing opportunities. These areas also offer summer opportunities as well. Most North Carolina ski resorts are less than a 4 hour drive from Raleigh.
NORTH CAROLINA ZOO Located about 75 miles west of Raleigh in Asheboro, The NC Zoo is nationally recognized as one of the nation s finest zoos. It was the first American zoo designed from its inception around the "natural habitat" philosophy--presenting animals and plants in exhibits that closely resemble the habitats in which they would be found in the wild.
NORTH CAROLINA STATE PARKS A good guide to all the state parks, some of which are very close and others which may require a stay over to fully enjoy them.