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15 Greatest Day Journeys From Durham NC in 2023

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On this article, I’ll record 15 of the most effective day journeys from Durham, NC. I lately spent three stunning months in Durham and its surrounding areas and beloved my time there. There’s a lot to do and see, from important historic websites to glorious mountain hikes and river walks.

There are a lot of issues within the metropolis itself. Nonetheless, North Carolina means many different cities, and glorious alternatives are close by. Whilst you’re right here, remember to go to some unbelievable small cities and neighboring large cities throughout a visit to ‘Bull Metropolis.’

Whether or not you want seashores or mountains, oceans or lakes, historical past or distilleries, there’s an abundance of fantastic day excursions from Durham and plenty of enjoyable sights to maintain everyone occupied.

Greatest Day Journeys from Durham NC

I’ve compiled this record primarily based on among the glorious Durham day journeys I loved there. I did a little bit of every thing, from mountain climbing mountains to chilling by the ocean so I’m certain you’ll discover lots on this record that you just’ll love too.

1. Raleigh, NC

highway sign showing durham to the left and raleigh to the right

The primary of my day journeys from Durham needs to be a go to to the state capitol of North Carolina – Raleigh. It’s solely Half-hour away by automotive, however there are additionally good public transport connections between the 2 cities. It’s undoubtedly one of many extra accessible day journeys from Durham, NC.

Raleigh is a unbelievable metropolis in its personal proper, steeped in historical past and boasting a wonderful repute for meals, bars, and nightlife. A considerably increased inhabitants than Durham means Raleigh has far more of a big-city vibe, nevertheless it maintains a small southern metropolis’s hospitality and welcoming nature.

Raleigh is called ‘The Metropolis of the Oaks’ attributable to its many stunning oak timber that line its streets and parks. It’s additionally dwelling to fascinating museums and historic websites such because the NC Museum of Artwork and the 180-year-old North Carolina State Capitol constructing.

Location: 25 miles and 35 minutes southeast of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: In addition to driving your self, common buses and trains run between the 2 cities.
Should-Do Actions: I extremely suggest attending to know the Raleigh bar scene with the Trolley Pub Tour. Click on right here to seek out out extra about this enjoyable, pedal-powered exercise.
The place to Eat: Gravy – Extremely rated Italian/American delicacies in a relaxed and comfy setting. Click on right here for instructions.

2. Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, NC Riverwalk at Dusk

Among the best day journeys from Durham, NC, is to Wilmington, NC. It’s round 2.5 hours away by automotive and effectively definitely worth the journey. The historic downtown space with cobblestone streets, classic American storefronts, and buildings is like stepping again in time.

Located on the Cape Concern River is a superb 1.75-mile riverwalk often known as the Wilmington Riverwalk. It leads you alongside the banks, taking in quite a few parks and sights such because the USS North Carolina – a WW2 battleship on the river. The USS North Carolina is now an glorious museum and battle memorial.

You’ll discover many nice retailers, bars, and eating places in Wilmington. A stroll across the former Cotton Change constructing, now a purchasing and eating advanced, is an effective way to spend a couple of hours.

Location: 2.5 hours southwest of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive
Should-Do Actions: Constitution a sailboat and cruise alongside the Cape Concern River, take a ghost stroll by historic Wilmington, or stroll alongside the gorgeous Wilmington Riverwalk.
The place to Eat: The Fork ‘N’ Cork – Superior burgers and sandwiches in a unbelievable constructing. Click on right here for instructions.

3. Carolina Seaside

A pathway going to the beach of carolina

Simply quarter-hour from Wilmington is the gorgeous Carolina Seaside, considered one of my favourite day journeys from Durham, NC. This small seashore city is dwelling to stunning sandy seashores, the blue Atlantic Ocean, and a ton of cool bars and enjoyable issues to do.

The picket boardwalk alongside the seashore has swing seats to sit down for hours watching the waves. Many bars look out over the horizon with some providing nice pleased hour offers. In the course of the hotter months, a semi-permanent fairground with a large Ferris Wheel is about up proper within the heart of city.

Carolina Seaside is a good place to calm down and chill, however you may as well occasion right here. I like to recommend you do each!

Location: 2-3 hours south-southwest of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive
Should-Do Actions: Spend time chilling on the gorgeous sandy seashore by the ocean, e book an island-hopping cruise, and hit the pleased hours on the boardwalk bars after a day of solar and sea.
The place to Eat: The Dive Meals & Spirits – Nice bar meals in an off-the-cuff dive bar setting. Click on right here for instructions.

4. Roxboro, NC

A retro theatre with empty seats

For those who like small southern cities in the US, Roxboro is the place for you. I discovered this place by way of a volunteer web site and ended up serving to a girl together with her gardening a couple of instances every week throughout my keep. It’s one of many extra leisurely day journeys from Durham by automotive, because it’s solely round 40 minutes away.

Roxboro is a cute little city that I acquired a kick out of. I beloved the previous slices of Americana that may be seen in every single place, from the classic homes and the retro theater to the old-school diners and cafes. It’s a neighborhood city the place everyone is aware of everyone, however I used to be at all times greeted warmly as an ‘out-of-towner.’

The Butcher’s Daughter Deli and Incorrigible Cafe are nice locations to eat lunch and are definitely worth the quick journey alone. For those who’re after a slice of small-town southern hospitality, head for a day in Roxboro.

Location: 40-50 minutes north of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive
Should-Do Actions: Take pleasure in strolling the streets of Roxboro and admire the classic Americana structure. Eat at one of many native diners, cafes, or delis.
The place to Eat: Incorrigible Cafe – Pleasant brunch and lunch spot with pleasant employees and distinctive sandwiches.

5. Danville, VA

A scenic view for Dan River

One of many extra enjoyable day journeys from Durham, NC, is to go throughout state traces into Virginia. Danville is a small city simply throughout the North Carolina state line with a historic downtown space on the Dan River. The journey there’s a pleasant drive by stunning countryside. It takes simply over an hour to succeed in from Durham.

There are a number of nice lunch spots and cafes the place you possibly can simply whereas away a day. The Dan Daniel Memorial Park is nice for mountain climbing trails or chilling by the river.

Ceasars Virginia opened in 2023 and is a big on line casino, and soon-to-be resort, in Danville. It’s one of many closest locations to Durham for a real on line casino expertise if slots, playing cards, and cube are your kind of factor.

Location: 1 hour quarter-hour north of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive is most simple. Greyhound buses will get you to Danville, however you’ll want to vary at Greensboro, which takes for much longer.
Should-Do Actions: Stroll alongside the river within the historic downtown district of Danville, dwelling to numerous well-preserved historic buildings and structure. For those who’re feeling fortunate, probability your arm at Ceasars, one of many closest casinos to Durham.
The place to Eat: Golden Leaf Bistro – Relaxed neighborhood restaurant serving a contemporary twist on American cooking. Click on right here for instructions.

6. Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill

One of many extra accessible day journeys from Durham by bus is a brief hop all the way down to Chapel Hill. The neighboring city to the south is simply 12 miles away, with common each day transport hyperlinks from Durham. Chapel Hill makes up the third area of the realm often known as the Analysis Triangle, together with Durham and Raleigh.

Chapel Hill is dwelling to the College of North Carolina, which considerably influences the city. The presence of the school campus brings a youthful vibrance and speaks to the artsy environment and focus of tradition that may be felt right here. There are a lot of artwork galleries, theaters, and music venues.

Franklin Road is the central hub of Chapel Hill and is a unbelievable place to hang around. There are a lot of bars, eating places, and cafes to be discovered right here, and it has an important social vibe.

Location: 12 miles south of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: Simply accessible by automotive or by bus
Should-Do Actions: Take pleasure in a day of consuming and consuming on Franklin Road, or absorb some tradition and go to the Ackland Artwork Museum.
The place to Eat: Blue’s on Franklin – Household-run restaurant serving excellent barbecue. Click on right here for instructions.

7. Asheville, NC

Skyline View with Green Space

Among the best weekend journeys from Durham, NC, is a journey west to Asheville. It’s 225 miles away and three.5 hours (on a superb day) by automotive, nevertheless it’s definitely worth the trek if in case you have the time.

Often called ‘Beer Metropolis USA‘ because of the variety of high quality craft breweries that function in Asheville, it’s turn into a hub for beer fanatics. It’s additionally a metropolis with a thriving arts and music scene; the River Arts District is thought for having a focus of artwork galleries and studios.

For those who like the good outside, Asheville gives unbelievable mountain climbing alternatives, in addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway, typically known as ‘America’s Favorite Drive.’ The 469-mile parkway runs partly by Asheville and gives breathtaking views of the pure magnificence and a few unbelievable scenic overlooks of Linville Falls – a multi-tiered waterfall.

Location: 225 miles east of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive is undoubtedly essentially the most accessible. A Greyhound bus will get you there with a connection, nevertheless it takes for much longer.
Should-Do Actions: Take a guided mountain climbing tour of three waterfalls alongside the gorgeous Blue Ridge Parkway trails. Click on right here to e book your guided hike. Take a night-time ghost stroll by town, and naturally, when in Beer Metropolis, get your beer on!
The place to Eat: Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen – All-day southern consolation meals with thrilling twists. Click on right here for instructions.

8. Falls Lake

Falls Lake in North Carolina in early autumn

Just a few nice day journeys round Durham will be discovered at Falls Lake. Look no additional when you like chilling out on a seashore, toes within the water fashion. Falls Lake gives a number of important leisure areas inside a 20-30-minute drive from Durham.

My favourite factor to do at Falls Lake is to go to Sandling Seaside. Lounging by the superbly maintained sandy seashores and clear water is a unbelievable method to spend a sunny day. There are quite a few areas shaded by the timber, ample picnic benches, and everlasting barbecue stations.

Simple parking and glorious clear bathroom amenities are bonuses. The seashores round Falls Lake can get busy on weekends, so I counsel heading out early. The admittance price is $5-$7 per automotive (cheaper if in case you have seniors with you) and is accessible seven days every week from Labor Day to Memorial Day, excluding weekends in April, Could, and September.

Location: 25-Half-hour to the east of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive solely, because it’s fairly rural when you get to the lake.
Should-Do Actions: Catch some rays on the seashore, take a swim in Falls Lake, and spend a day trying over some stunning surroundings.
The place to Eat: Take your individual meals as there’s nothing in the best way of eating places on the lake. Be aware – alcohol is strictly prohibited.

9. Charlotte, NC

City view of Charlotte NC

Amtrak gives some nice day journeys from Durham, NC, by prepare. Charlotte, NC, is barely a 2.5-hour rail journey away and is one other vibrant metropolis price trying out in North Carolina. It’s significantly extra cosmopolitan than Durham, with a bustling downtown space (often known as Uptown) stuffed with tall skyscrapers and towering buildings.

Charlotte is the second largest banking metropolis within the US primarily based on belongings, however this doesn’t imply it’s all enterprise. With a inhabitants near 1 million, it’s a metropolis stuffed with nice bars, eating places, and plenty of issues to maintain you occupied. South Finish is famend for having a number of glorious craft beer breweries.

Location: 2.5 hours to the west of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive or prepare is equally as fast and straightforward.
Should-Do Actions: Take a look at this glorious brewery tour, stroll by the bustling streets of Uptown, and discover Charlotte’s wealthy historical past by way of a guided golf buggy tour.
The place to Eat: Potbelly – Superior sandwich store in Uptown.

10. Eno River State Park

Hanging bridge at Eno River State Park

Eno River State Park is likely one of the finest locations to go to close to Durham. It’s solely 11 miles outdoors town and is a phenomenal a part of North Carolina with many leisure alternatives to bask in.

The 4319-acre park sits alongside its namesake river – The Eno – and is dwelling to a few of my favourite mountain climbing trails in Durham. 5 entry areas have options that embody twenty-four miles of trails, leisure areas, and historic constructions.

The Holden Mill Path leads alongside the river and by the stays of a Nineteenth-century gristmill on a 3.85-mile trek. It’s an effective way so as to add a slice of Durham historical past to your hike, making it one of many finest issues to do in Durham.

Location: 11 miles north-northwest of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive.
Should-Do Actions: Take pleasure in any variety of the good mountain climbing trails, swim within the river (when you’re visiting within the hotter months), or spend a day enjoyable by the banks of the Eno River.
The place to Eat: Take pleasure in your individual picnic at any benches and leisure huts round Eno River State Park.

11. Outer Banks

Outer banks of NC viewing the dock

4 hours to the east of Durham is a 200-mile stretch of barrier islands often known as the Outer Banks. The peninsula sits alongside a big chunk of the NC coast and has huge expanses of open beachfront going through the Atlantic Ocean.

Industrial fishing was the outstanding supply of earnings on the Island for a lot of many years, however the miles of lovely seashores have led to a booming tourism business in current instances. There are glorious water sports activities actions, similar to kayaking and paddle-boarding, all around the Outer Banks.

I like the historical past of the realm and a few iconic places are effectively price visiting. The Wright brothers trialed their first flight at Kill Satan Hill in 1903. It was additionally the final stand of the pirate Blackbeard, who was shipwrecked and killed at Ocracoke in 1718.

Location: Round 4 hours to the east of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive
Should-Do Actions: Discover among the historic spots on the Island, take a 2-hour wild horse tour of the Outer Banks by 4WD truck, or go kayaking by Kitty Hawk Nature Reserve.
The place to Eat: Black Pelican – located in a Nineteenth-century constructing with ocean views and nice seafood. Click on right here for instructions.

12. Bryson Metropolis, NC

A smoky mountain of bryson city NC

Bryson Metropolis is a phenomenal place to go to within the Nice Smoky Mountains. As day journeys from Durham go, you’ll wish to spend the night time and even the weekend visiting Bryson Metropolis, because it’s a 4-hour drive from Bull Metropolis. However the mountain climbing right here is unbelievable, and the surroundings is among the finest you’ll discover in North Carolina.

If mountain climbing isn’t your factor, take a prepare journey up the Nice Smoky Mountains – the views are breathtaking. The city can also be a hub for fishing fanatics, with alternatives for fly fishing alongside the Nantahala River. The river can also be a preferred spot for white-water rafting and kayaking adventures.

The small-town vibe of Bryson Metropolis, combined with the gorgeous surroundings and quite a few leisure actions, is effectively price a day journey from Durham. When you’ve got time, I like to recommend you even make a weekend of it.

Location: 4 – 4.5 hours west of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive
Should-Do Actions: Take a prepare journey by the gorgeous Nice Smoky Mountains, or go white-water rafting on the Nantahala River.
The place to Eat: Everett Road Diner – An incredible traditional American diner. Click on right here for instructions.

13. The Yadkin Valley Wine Area

Grape vineyard in yadkin valley NC

It’s apparent why this one made the record! Just a few hours from Durham is the Yadkin Valley wine area, the primary federally permitted American Viticultural Space. It’s mentioned that the soil right here is just like that of Tuscany and that the local weather mimics wine-growing areas in France, that means the Yadkin Valley produces some distinctive European-style wines.

Wine tourism is a large a part of the Yadkin Valley’s attraction, with over 40 wineries within the area. Guests can discover the picturesque vineyards, benefit from the surroundings, and style the numerous wines. Plenty of the wineries even have eating places or picnic areas too.

Divine Llama Vineyards is a reasonably distinctive place the place you possibly can take a wine tour and go Llama trekking. What’s to not love?

Location: 2.5 hours west of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By Automotive
Should-Do Actions: Go to as many vineyards as time permits, benefit from the stunning surroundings, and pattern some glorious wine. Go llama trekking and wine tasting at Divine Llama Vineyards.
The place to Eat: Tumbleweeds Steakhouse – Relaxed restaurant with nice steaks.

14. Richmond, VA

Richmond Virginia night City skyline along the james river

It’s fairly straightforward to tick off two state capitols in someday. In addition to Raleigh, Richmond (the State Capitol of Virginia) is only some hours’ drive from Durham.

Richmond performed a big position in American historical past because the capital of the Confederacy in the course of the American Civil Conflict. The town has quite a few historic websites and museums, together with the compelling American Civil Conflict Museum. The Virginia State Capitol constructing, designed by Thomas Jefferson, is one other iconic historic website price a go to.

In addition to loads of historical past, Richmond has an important arts and tradition scene, too. The Virginia Museum of Positive Arts is likely one of the largest and most complete artwork museums within the US. The town additionally boasts a full of life music and theater scene, with quite a few reside music venues and theaters internet hosting performances year-round.

Location: 2.5 hours northeast of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive is most accessible, however Greyhound buses go direct from Durham with quite a few each day companies. Amtrak may even get you there, however with a connection that takes considerably longer.
Should-Do Actions: Go to the Virginia Museum of Positive Arts and The Virginia State Capitol constructing, take a meals tour of the Arts District, or take a guided strolling tour of Downtown Richmond to be taught in regards to the metropolis’s historical past.
The place to Eat: The Patio Thai Restaurant – Wonderful Pad Thai in a comfortable setting with a beautiful patio. Click on right here for instructions.

15. Cary, NC

A bicycle trail in the park

Cary is likely one of the most charming day journeys from Durham, NC. It persistently ranks as one of many finest locations to reside in america and is thought for its low crime charges, in depth greenway system, and well-maintained parks and leisure areas. Positioned simply 20 miles south of Durham, it’s a prime place to go to for a day journey.

The Cary Arts Heart is a hub for a lot of cultural actions within the city, internet hosting artwork exhibitions, theater productions, and music live shows. Cary can also be dwelling to the Koka Sales space Amphitheatre, a 7000-capacity out of doors venue that repeatedly brings touring performers and bands to Cary.

The Fred G. Bond Metro Park is a good place to spend a couple of hours enjoyable. It options a phenomenal lake the place you possibly can go paddle boating/boarding and fishing. There are additionally some good playgrounds, picnic areas, and mountain climbing trails. On a pleasant day, there’s nowhere higher to be.

Location: 20 miles south-southeast of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automotive is best however there are common bus companies, in addition to Amtrak trains to and from Durham that get you there simply as shortly.
Should-Do Actions: Head all the way down to Fred G. Bond Metro Park for a soothing afternoon or to hike some trails, go to the Koka Sales space Amphitheatre to look at a live performance, or go to the Cary Arts Heart.
The place to Eat: Academy Road Bistro – Trendy bistro-style restaurant serving a contemporary twist on conventional American dishes. Click on right here for instructions.

Day Journeys Round Durham: FAQs

Listed here are some solutions to generally requested questions on day journeys from Durham, NC:

What’s the hottest day journey from Durham?

There are a number of nice day journeys from Durham, however a visit to Carolina Seaside and Wilmington is the most well-liked. It’s a 2.5-hour drive southeast, and you’ll find your self sitting on the gorgeous Carolina Seaside in a cool city on the Atlantic Ocean. Wilmington is near the seashore and is a good metropolis stuffed with tradition and historical past, I like spending the day right here.

What number of days do you want in Durham?

Ten days to 2 weeks for a trip would provide you with sufficient time to discover Durham and the encompassing areas. There are a lot of glorious day journeys from Durham, NC, so it’s an important place to make use of as a hub for exploring extra of North Carolina.

What are the most effective day journeys from Durham with a automotive?

You could possibly discover most of the glorious day journeys from Durham with a automotive. Historic Wilmington and Carolina Seaside are simply 2.5 hours away. Charlotte is a vibrant metropolis, a couple of hours within the different course.

Two state capitols are inside attain, too, with Raleigh (NC) shut by and Richmond (VA) a 2.5-hour drive away. You could possibly shortly tick off each on the identical day with a automotive.

What are the most effective day journeys from Durham by prepare?

There’s an Amtrak station within the heart of Durham, so day journeys from Durham by prepare are simply attainable. A visit to Charlotte, NC, can be an important possibility as common each day trains run between the cities. Charlotte is a bustling, vibrant metropolis price a go to and is simply 2.5-3 hours away by way of prepare.

What’s the most stunning place close to Durham?

Eno River State Park could be very near Durham and is a stunningly stunning a part of North Carolina. With mountain climbing trails, leisure areas, water sports activities prospects, swimming spots, and historic ruins, a visit to Eno River State Park is an effective way to spend a day. It’s among the finest day journeys from Durham, NC and I extremely suggest including it to your itinerary.

How far is Chapel Hill from Durham NC?

Chapel Hill is round 12 miles to the South of Durham and is likely one of the finest day journeys from Durham you can take. The colourful metropolis has a ton of tradition and historical past and a very good scholar vibe. It’s the dwelling of the College of North Carolina.

In Conclusion

There are a lot of nice day journeys from Durham, and it’s a wonderful location to go to and use as a hub for exploring extra of North Carolina. Although having a automotive could also be essential for visiting among the locations in my prime 15, there’s nonetheless a big variety of prime spots that may be accessed by way of bus, prepare, and even taxi with relative ease.

Durham is located in a phenomenal a part of the world and has lots to supply in its personal proper. However the benefit of getting so many nice day journeys shut by is a large attraction. You’ll discover loads of day journeys from Durham, NC, to fill your journey schedule shortly.

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