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10 Day Trips From Raleigh for a Fun Escape

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Every once in a while, everyone needs a mini vacay. To help you out, we’ve rounded up the best day trips from Raleigh!

It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking to soak up some sun, catch waves, hike a mountain, or sip on a glass of rosé because we’ve got weekend plans for everyone. Pack your sunnies and sunscreen and get ready for an adventure—no PTO required!

Nestled in the southern Outer Banks, Atlantic Beach is the perfect getaway beach. Just a short 3-hour drive away, this beach is both quaint and visitor-friendly. Stroll the boardwalk, grab lunch at The Pier House Restaurant, and sip a beer at The Tackle Box Tavern. This island is perfect for friends, families, or even a solo trip! 

For more information, visit the town of Atlantic Beach’s website.

Throw on your bathing suit and head to Pisgah National Forest to experience this natural water slide. Sliding Rock is a 60-foot mountain water slide that ends with an 8-foot deep pool of water. And don’t worry, during the summertime, there are lifeguards on duty. 

While you’re there, drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway for some stunning views of the NC mountains! Or bring your camping gear and spend the night at one of the campgrounds.

For more information, visit the Sliding Rock’s website.

So you’ve heard of NC wine, but did you know you could enjoy a glass while making new furry friends? Sample Divine Llama’s large selection of wines and then head over to the llama farm. Be sure to check out their website to see what food truck will be hanging out at the vineyard during your visit! And don’t forget to purchase a bottle of your fave wine to bring home!

This day trip is both delicious and the perfect photo op! How many times do you have a chance to take a photo with a llama?!

📍 4126 Divine Llama Ln

For more information, visit Divine Llama Vineyard’s website.

A little closer to home, spend the day at Jordan Lake! This 14,000 acre reservoir is perfect for anyone outdoorsy. Whether you’re into hiking, boating, fishing, or even bird watching, Jordan Lake is the perfect escape from city life. You can even pitch a tent at one of the campgrounds to keep the fun going through the night!

For more information, visit Jordan Lake’s website.

Pack your beach chair and a cooler and get ready to relax. With a wide beach and calm surf, Oak Island is perfect for families looking for a little fun in the sun. Pack a lunch or try one of the many tasty restos on the island. And no trip to Oak Island is complete without visiting the Oak Island Lighthouse

For more information, visit Oak Island’s website.

Dive in headfirst at one of Falls Lake’s sandy swimming beaches! Falls Lake has all the fun of the beach without as long of the drive. Or maybe you’re more of a fisherman? This lake is home to bass, bluegill, catfish, and crappie just waiting for your line. And of course, there’s boating, hiking, and biking trails, as well as picnic areas! Falls Lake is the ultimate getaway for you and your family!

📍 13300 Creedmoor Rd

For more information, visit Falls Lake’s website.

If you’re looking for something a little more laidback and natural, visit Ocracoke. This island features 16 miles of undeveloped coastline perfect for a secluded, quiet escape. Ocracoke is all about getting back to nature and enjoying. the natural beauty of the NC coast. Relaxation begins the moment you board the ferry!

For more information, visit Ocracoke’s website.

Lace-up your hiking boots and lose yourself in the beauty of Hanging Rock State Park. A day in the park is the ultimate outdoor getaway. The park features over 20 miles of hiking, lakes for swimming and canoeing, over 8 miles of mountain biking trails, plus lots of rock climbing opportunities! Feel like staying off the grid a little while longer? Stay in one of the vacation cabins or bring a tent!

📍 1790 Hanging Rock Rd

For more information, visit the Hanging Rock State Park website.

With over 350 miles of shoreline, Lake Gaston is the full lake experience. The lake is stocked with game fish like striped bass, sunfish, several varieties of catfish, and event chain pickerel, so it’s no wonder Lake Gaston is a fisherman’s paradise! Plus, you can take part in water sports (like tubing and wakeboarding) which are always popular on the lake! And if you don’t want to be on the water all day, the lake is near great golfing and tons of restaurants and shopping!

For more information, visit Lake Gaston’s website.

Just a straight shot down I-40 is everyone’s fave day trip. Just a two-hour drive away, Wilmington offers a lot for day-trippers! With a vibrant riverfront, scenic riverwalk, and beaches, Wilmington is great for anyone looking to soak up the sun and still have access to tons of restaurants, shops, and attractions. Visit the Battleship North Carolina, check out the Fort Fisher Aquarium, or dine at locally-owned restos. There are so many things to do that no two trips to Wilmington are the same!

For more information, visit Wilmington’s website.

Tag Us In Your Adventures!

For more things to do in Raleigh follow us on InstagramFacebookPinterestYouTube, and TikTok and don’t forget to download our app! And be sure to tag us in your adventure shots @StuffToDoInRaleigh!

Anna Brescia

Anna Brescia

Anna is a blogger for UNATION and author of the Stuff to Do in Raleigh City Guide. For more insight on the best events and things to do in the Raleigh area, download the UNATION app and follow @StufftoDoinRaleigh on Instagram and Facebook.

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