15 Finest Day Journeys From Durham NC in 2023

On this article, I’ll listing 15 of one of the best day journeys from Durham, NC. I not too long ago spent three stunning months in Durham and its surrounding areas and liked my time there. There’s a lot to do and see, from vital historic websites to wonderful mountain hikes and river walks.

There are lots of issues within the metropolis itself. Nonetheless, North Carolina means many different cities, and wonderful alternatives are close by. When 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 lots of enjoyable points of interest to maintain everyone occupied.

Finest Day Journeys from Durham NC

I’ve compiled this listing based mostly on a few of the wonderful Durham day journeys I loved there. I did a little bit of all the things, from climbing mountains to chilling by the ocean so I’m certain you’ll discover a lot on this listing 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 must be a go to to the state capitol of North Carolina – Raleigh. It’s solely Half-hour away by automobile, 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 implausible metropolis in its personal proper, steeped in historical past and boasting a wonderful repute for meals, bars, and nightlife. A considerably greater inhabitants than Durham means Raleigh has rather more of a big-city vibe, but it surely maintains a small southern metropolis’s hospitality and welcoming nature.

Raleigh is named ‘The Metropolis of the Oaks’ on account of its many stunning oak timber that line its streets and parks. It’s additionally house to attention-grabbing 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 advocate 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 finest day journeys from Durham, NC, is to Wilmington, NC. It’s round 2.5 hours away by automobile and nicely well 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 Worry River is a wonderful 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 wonderful museum and battle memorial.

You’ll discover many nice retailers, bars, and eating places in Wilmington. A stroll across the former Cotton Alternate constructing, now a procuring and eating complicated, is a good way to spend a number of hours.

Location: 2.5 hours southwest of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automobile
Should-Do Actions: Constitution a sailboat and cruise alongside the Cape Worry River, take a ghost stroll via historic Wilmington, or stroll alongside the gorgeous Wilmington Riverwalk.
The place to Eat: The Fork ‘N’ Cork – Superior burgers and sandwiches in a implausible 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 beautiful Carolina Seaside, certainly one of my favourite day journeys from Durham, NC. This small seashore city is house 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 take a seat for hours watching the waves. Many bars look out over the horizon with some providing nice comfortable hour offers. Throughout the hotter months, a semi-permanent fairground with an enormous 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 celebration 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 automobile
Should-Do Actions: Spend time chilling on the gorgeous sandy seashore by the ocean, e-book an island-hopping cruise, and hit the comfortable 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

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

Roxboro is a cute little city that I received a kick out of. I liked the previous slices of Americana that may be seen in all places, 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 well worth the brief journey alone. Should you’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 automobile
Should-Do Actions: Get pleasure from 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 move 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 via stunning countryside. It takes simply over an hour to achieve from Durham.

There are a number of nice lunch spots and cafes the place you may simply whereas away a day. The Dan Daniel Memorial Park is nice for 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 automobile is most easy. 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, house to numerous well-preserved historic buildings and structure. Should you’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 day by 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 house 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 lots of artwork galleries, theaters, and music venues.

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

Location: 12 miles south of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: Simply accessible by automobile or by bus
Should-Do Actions: Get pleasure from a day of consuming and consuming on Franklin Road, or take in 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 finest weekend journeys from Durham, NC, is a journey west to Asheville. It’s 225 miles away and three.5 hours (on day) by automobile, but it surely’s well worth the trek when you’ve got the time.

Referred to as ‘Beer Metropolis USA‘ as a result of variety of high quality craft breweries that function in Asheville, it’s change into a hub for beer fans. 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.

Should you like the nice open air, Asheville affords implausible climbing alternatives, in addition to the Blue Ridge Parkway, usually referred to as ‘America’s Favorite Drive.’ The 469-mile parkway runs partly via Asheville and affords breathtaking views of the pure magnificence and a few implausible scenic overlooks of Linville Falls – a multi-tiered waterfall.

Location: 225 miles east of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automobile is undoubtedly probably the most accessible. A Greyhound bus will get you there with a connection, but it surely takes for much longer.
Should-Do Actions: Take a guided climbing tour of three waterfalls alongside the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway trails. Click on right here to e-book your guided hike. Take a night-time ghost stroll via the 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

A couple of nice day journeys round Durham could be discovered at Falls Lake. Look no additional in case you like chilling out on a seashore, toes within the water type. Falls Lake affords a number of vital 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 implausible option 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 wonderful clear bathroom amenities are bonuses. The seashores round Falls Lake can get busy on weekends, so I counsel heading out early. The admittance payment is $5-$7 per automobile (cheaper when you’ve got seniors with you) and is accessible seven days per 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 automobile 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 personal meals as there’s nothing in the way in which of eating places on the lake. Be aware – alcohol is strictly prohibited.

9. Charlotte, NC

City view of Charlotte NC

Amtrak affords some nice day journeys from Durham, NC, by prepare. Charlotte, NC, is just a 2.5-hour rail journey away and is one other vibrant metropolis value testing 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 greatest banking metropolis within the US based mostly 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 lots of issues to maintain you occupied. South Finish is famend for having a number of wonderful craft beer breweries.

Location: 2.5 hours to the west of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automobile or prepare is equally as fast and straightforward.
Should-Do Actions: Try this wonderful brewery tour, stroll via the bustling streets of Uptown, and discover Charlotte’s wealthy historical past through 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 among the greatest locations to go to close to Durham. It’s solely 11 miles exterior the town and is a phenomenal a part of North Carolina with many leisure alternatives to take pleasure in.

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

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 a good way so as to add a slice of Durham historical past to your hike, making it one of many greatest issues to do in Durham.

Location: 11 miles north-northwest of Durham. Click on right here for instructions.
Getting There: By automobile.
Should-Do Actions: Get pleasure from any variety of the nice climbing trails, swim within the river (in case you’re visiting within the hotter months), or spend a day stress-free by the banks of the Eno River.
The place to Eat: Get pleasure from your personal 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.

Business fishing was the outstanding supply of revenue on the Island for a lot of a long time, however the miles of gorgeous seashores have led to a booming tourism business in current instances. There are wonderful water sports activities actions, resembling kayaking and paddle-boarding, everywhere in the Outer Banks.

I really like the historical past of the realm and a few iconic areas are nicely value 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 automobile
Should-Do Actions: Discover a few of the historic spots on the Island, take a 2-hour wild horse tour of the Outer Banks by 4WD truck, or go kayaking via 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 need to spend the evening and even the weekend visiting Bryson Metropolis, because it’s a 4-hour drive from Bull Metropolis. However the climbing right here is implausible, and the surroundings is a few of the greatest you’ll discover in North Carolina.

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

The small-town vibe of Bryson Metropolis, combined with the beautiful surroundings and quite a few leisure actions, is nicely value a day journey from Durham. In case you have 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 automobile
Should-Do Actions: Take a prepare journey via 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 listing! A couple of hours from Durham is the Yadkin Valley wine area, the primary federally accredited American Viticultural Space. It’s stated that the soil right here is just like that of Tuscany and that the local weather mimics wine-growing areas in France, which means the Yadkin Valley produces some distinctive European-style wines.

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

Divine Llama Vineyards is a fairly distinctive place the place you may 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 Automobile
Should-Do Actions: Go to as many vineyards as time permits, benefit from the stunning surroundings, and pattern some wonderful 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 in the future. 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 through the American Civil Battle. The town has quite a few historic websites and museums, together with the compelling American Civil Battle Museum. The Virginia State Capitol constructing, designed by Thomas Jefferson, is one other iconic historic website value a go to.

In addition to loads of historical past, Richmond has an incredible arts and tradition scene, too. The Virginia Museum of Superb Arts is among 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 dwell 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 automobile is most accessible, however Greyhound buses go direct from Durham with quite a few day by day companies. Amtrak will even get you there, however with a connection that takes considerably longer.
Should-Do Actions: Go to the Virginia Museum of Superb 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 study 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 stunning patio. Click on right here for instructions.

15. Cary, NC

A bicycle trail in the park

Cary is among the most charming day journeys from Durham, NC. It constantly ranks as one of many greatest locations to dwell in the US and is thought for its low crime charges, intensive greenway system, and well-maintained parks and leisure areas. Situated simply 20 miles south of Durham, it’s a high 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 concert events. Cary can also be house to the Koka Sales space Amphitheatre, a 7000-capacity outside venue that frequently brings touring performers and bands to Cary.

The Fred G. Bond Metro Park is a good place to spend a number of hours stress-free. It options a phenomenal lake the place you may go paddle boating/boarding and fishing. There are additionally some good playgrounds, picnic areas, and 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 automobile is best however there are common bus companies, in addition to Amtrak trains to and from Durham that get you there simply as rapidly.
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 below 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 really like spending the day right here.

What number of days do you want in Durham?

Ten days to 2 weeks for a trip would offer you sufficient time to discover Durham and the encircling areas. There are lots of wonderful day journeys from Durham, NC, so it’s an incredible place to make use of as a hub for exploring extra of North Carolina.

What are one of the best day journeys from Durham with a automobile?

You may discover most of the wonderful day journeys from Durham with a automobile. Historic Wilmington and Carolina Seaside are simply 2.5 hours away. Charlotte is a vibrant metropolis, a number of hours within the different route.

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

What are one of the best 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 doable. A visit to Charlotte, NC, could be an incredible choice as common day by day trains run between the cities. Charlotte is a bustling, vibrant metropolis value a go to and is simply 2.5-3 hours away through 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 climbing trails, leisure areas, water sports activities potentialities, swimming spots, and historic ruins, a visit to Eno River State Park is a good way to spend a day. It’s probably the greatest day journeys from Durham, NC and I extremely advocate 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 among the greatest day journeys from Durham which you could take. The colourful metropolis has a ton of tradition and historical past and a very good scholar vibe. It’s the house of the College of North Carolina.

In Conclusion

There are lots of nice day journeys from Durham, and it’s a superb location to go to and use as a hub for exploring extra of North Carolina. Although having a automobile could also be mandatory for visiting a few of the locations in my high 15, there’s nonetheless a big variety of high spots that may be accessed through bus, prepare, and even taxi with relative ease.

Durham is located in a phenomenal a part of the world and has a lot 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 rapidly.

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