57 Excellent Day Trips from Greensboro (Within a 2-Hour Drive)

Last Updated on February 27, 2021

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As huge fans of Gate City, we’ve enjoyed so many of the city’s best things to do, from its amazing restaurant scene to outdoor activities. However, those who also love this amazing city should know about all the options for day trips from Greensboro!

Thanks to its amazing location, you can easily access both Western and Eastern North Carolina and the center of NC from Greensboro. There are day trips for all sorts of people: nature lovers can hop on hiking trails that lead to waterfalls while foodies can visit some of the best wineries and vineyards. We know that just about everyone will love exploring our favorite small towns!

Greensboro is even within two hours of the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, one of North Carolina’s best scenic roads. We intend to go on and on about all the other possible day trips from Greensboro in this epic guide.

To help you plan your adventures, we’ve organized these day trips from Greensboro by distance and within the following sections:

  • 3 Guilford County Day Trips
  • 17 Outdoor Day Trips from Greensboro (State Parks and National Parks units nearby)
  • 9 Cities
  • 28 Small Towns

This post is part of our series covering day trips in North Carolina.

Day Trips from Greensboro

Note: For the purposes of this article, all outdoor day trips, cities, towns in each section will be grouped by the time it takes to reach from Greensboro, from closest to farthest away.

If two or more places take the same amount of time to reach, we will use distance in miles as a tiebreaker before moving on to our ABC skills.

Guilford County Day Trips from Greensboro

Before venturing too far away, these spots in Guilford County are only 20 minutes away from Greensboro, making for some wonderful day trips!

Old Mill of Guilford

15 miles | 20 minutes

You might see the Old Mill of Guilford while on the way to one of these day trips from Greensboro.

The first of our day trips from Greensboro is one we just happened to discover while driving through the area.

After driving past the Old Mill of Guilford that first time, we immediately decided to turn around and learn more up close. This historic grist mill dates all the way back to 1767 and remains beautiful and exquisitely photogenic on the outside.

However, step inside and you’ll see why folks don’t just come to the mill for its looks. The folks who run it continue to produce cornmeal, grits, flour, and a wide variety of mixes for pancakes, gingerbread, muffins, and more.

The mill’s store also sells a variety of products and crafts produced in North Carolina.

High Point

17 miles | 23 minutes

High Point is shared by three other counties in addition to Guilford and is within a 20-minute drive from Greensboro. Largely known as the “Furniture Capital of the World,” High Point also boasts some other interesting places beyond just its furniture attractions.

For starters, you should check out the John Coltrane Statue at S Hamilton St & Commerce Ave. It honors the home-grown legend who learned saxophone while living in High Point as a child.

High Point City Lake Park is another great spot to walk around, grab a paddleboat, and go for a train ride. If you visit High Point between mid-April and October, check out All-A-Flutter Farm. This working butterfly farm is a wonderful sight to see in person!

Haw River State Park

14 miles | 24 minutes

Established in 2005, Haw River is a relatively new state park. Previously used as a retreat for the Episcopal Diocese of NC, Haw River is now a nice getaway from the city. There are two ways to access this park: Iron Ore Belt and the Summit.

Conferences and retreats still happen at this park, but there are still lots of options if you’re looking to visit for just the day. Take a hike through a short boardwalk that splits off the Piedmont Loop Trail (1.4 miles). This boardwalk will take you through the park’s wetlands and to the Haw River’s headwaters.

You can also fish, picnic, or just relax at Haw River State Park, making this perfect for day trips from Greensboro without even leaving the county!

In case you think we left something out, check out our guide covering more things to do in Gate City. Now, it’s time to venture out to these excellent day trips from Greensboro, starting with our favorite outdoor spots!

Outdoor Day Trips from Greensboro

In this section, you’ll find a variety of outdoor fun. Many of these day trips from Greensboro have also appeared in our guide to the best hiking trails in North Carolina.

Mayo River State Park

38 miles | 41 minutes

Mayo River State Park is the first of our outdoor day trips from Greensboro, up near the Virginia border. It’s a developing park and one we look forward to checking in on from time to time.

Fun things to do here include fishing and kicking back at one of their nice picnic spots, including a large shelter. The Mayo Mountain Loop and Mayo River TRACK trails make up the roughly 2.5 miles of walking paths found at Mayo River State Park.

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area

41 miles | 43 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Hillsborough Occoneechee Mountain

Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area is one of the lesser-known mountainous hikes near Durham and downtown Hillsborough. In fact, its 350-foot change in elevation makes Occoneechee Mountain one of the only true mountain peak overlooks in the Triangle.

To reach Overlook Trail, you can follow the 2.2-mile Mountain Loop. The peak isn’t the only highlight, though, as you’ll meander through the forest and along the Eno River.

Eno River State Park

49 miles | 49 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Eno River State Park Durham

Speaking of that estuary, Eno River State Park manages a big chunk of it along with some of the best hiking trails in the Triangle, if not all of North Carolina.

Over 27 miles of paths await. Our favorites include Buckquarter Creek, Cole Mill, and Cox Mountain. The latter starts with a cable suspension bridge that crosses the Eno and is one of the park’s most iconic places to visit.

Pilot Mountain State Park

50 miles | 50 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Pilot Mountain

Pilot Mountain State Park is always worth the drive, but plan ahead as its parking lots fill up quickly on weekends. People flock from all over to get a look at the amazing views from the top of the mountain.

Hiking the short Little Pinnacle Overlook Trail (0.1 miles) will take you to a beautiful look at Big Pinnacle. Check out some of the longer hikes, including the Mountain Trail (4.3 miles, Red Dots) that connects to Grindstone Trail (3 miles, Blue Dots). You can combine the two to make a roughly 6-mile loop.

Uwharrie National Forest

49 miles | 53 minutes

Only an hour away, Uwharrie National Forest is one of the best day trips from Greensboro for nature lovers.

Among the many things to do at Uwharrie include four-wheeling, horseback riding, hiking, trail running, mountain biking, and camping.

It’s a well-marked and well-maintained park with two lengthy trails: Uwharrie (20 miles) and Dutchman’s Creek (11.5 miles).

Jordan Lake State Recreation Area

59 miles | 1 hour

Fishing, boating, and marveling at the beautiful water are a few of the most popular things to do at Jordan Lake. Bald eagles also flock to Jordan by the dozens, with this lake supporting the largest concentration of our national symbol in the eastern US.

You can also hike here on the New Hope Trail, one of the most popular and challenging paths. Hikers and trail runners will see incredible views of Jordan Lake while enjoying the shady hardwood forest.

We included Jordan Lake among our favorite hiking trails near Raleigh and Durham.

Hanging Rock State Park

43 miles | 1 hour 1 minute

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Hanging Rock State Park

Hanging Rock State Park is a special place boasting stunning views of rolling mountains. Of course, you’ll need to hike for a bit to get to those views. Hanging Rock (1.3 miles) and Moore’s Wall Loop Trail (4.7 miles) are two of our favorite paths to get to the mountain.

There are also more than a few beautiful waterfalls at Hanging Rock. Lower Cascades is the most beautiful and, as a result, the most popular waterfall in the park.

William B. Umstead State Park

68 miles | 1 hour 4 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Umstead State Parkk Raleigh

William B. Umstead State Park is the perfect place to escape the busyness of I-40 and US-70, both of which provide access to the park. You can hike, bike, and ride a horse here. Packed with trails and green space, it’s hard to decide which trails we love most.

Sycamore (7.2 miles round trip) and Sal’s Branch (2.8 miles round trip) offer lovely, tree-covered walks.

Of course, everyone should know about the chainsaw art off the Multi-Use Trail. Here, a massive oak tree was transformed via chainsaws by Jerry Redi and Randy Boni of Smoky Mountain Art in October 2017. This chainsaw art is a must-see if you visit Umstead State Park!

Our guide details exactly how to find this awesome attraction.

Falls Lake State Recreation Area

66 miles | 1 hour 11 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Falls Lake Dam
Falls Lake Dam on the other side.

We love coming to Falls Lake for a look at the beautiful water before hopping on a trail. You can also enjoy fishing, boating, and swimming here.

Trails range from short and easy to lengthy and challenging. For example, you have the easy Rolling View Kids TRACK Trail (0.75 miles) to the Falls Lake Trail which runs for 50 miles along the shore.

Mountain biking at Falls Lake also varies in difficulty. There are a few intermediate loops (Inner, Outer, and West) while more serious riders can test their mettle on the advanced South Loop.

At Falls Lake Dam, you can start the 27.5-mile Neuse River Greenway. It’s one of the most scenic points of that trail.

Morrow Mountain State Park

67 miles | 1 hour 15 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Morrow Mountain State Park

Some may disagree, but we think Morrow Mountain State Park is an underrated destination that is always worth mentioning among day trips from Greensboro. Many people are unaware of this park, because it’s so far east of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For starters, we love the relatively quick drive to the top. From there, awesome views and 15 miles of hiking trails await. Two of the most popular hikes include Fall Mountain Trail (4 miles) and the Mountain Loop Trail (.8 miles).

Raven Rock State Park

77 miles | 1 hour 17 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Raven Rock State Park

Raven Rock State Park’s 4,684 acres is bisected by the Cape Fear River. Raven Rock also sits along a fall zone, adding to its unique geological landscape.

This park, located near Lillington, boasts a nice mix of easy flat loops and longer, more difficult hikes.

For THE view, start with the Raven Rock Loop Trail. It’s about 2.5 miles long and leads to an overlook that stands atop the mighty Cape Fear River. The view is better in the winter when much of the tree-cover is gone. It’s still nice year-round, however, if you simply want to enjoy the river and its surroundings.

Of course, you must also head down to the riverbank for a look at the actual Raven Rock that towers above.

Lake Norman State Park

82 miles | 1 hour 22 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Lake Norman State Park

Many folks (including NASCAR celebs and Michael Jordan) love the 520 miles of shoreline at Lake Norman, North Carolina’s largest man-made lake. There are plenty of places to launch your boat and enjoy a day out.

Don’t worry if you did not bring a boat, though: there are multiple boat rental companies operating here.

Lake Norman sits near quite a few towns and cities, though we find the state park side easiest to access from Mooresville or Statesville! There, you’ll find 30+ trails, camping, boating, and a beautiful sandy beach for swimming. 

Lake Norman is very popular among day trips from Charlotte, too!

Carvers Creek State Park

84 miles | 1 hour 25 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Carvers Creek State Park

When in the Fayetteville area, we love spending our time outdoors. The Cumberland County seat and its neighbor Spring Lake share one of our absolute favorites, also known as Carvers Creek State Park!

Depending on which access you choose, there are multiple options. The Long Valley Farm Access leads to the former historic retreat of the Rockefeller family. You’ll also pass a 100-acre millpond along the way.

From the Sandhills Access, you can stroll along the Longleaf Pine Trail and stop off at the pond, which is about a mile from the parking lot.

The Blue Ridge Parkway

85 miles | 1 hour 27 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Cascades Jeffress Park Blue Ridge Parkway
The Cascades at EB Jeffress.

Greensboro is also within a decent drive from some great Blue Ridge Parkway stops. Cumberland Knob (Milepost 217.5) is only 1 hour and 28 minutes away, up near the Virginia border.

This is a relic of a Blue Ridge Parkway history, as the road’s first day of construction started here on September 11, 1935. A picnic area and the easy Cumberland Knob Trail await.

Keep driving south to the Little Glade Mill Pond (MP 230) and take a look at the top of Stone Mountain’s dome from an overlook (MP 232.5).

Doughton Park is accessible via a series of stops (MP 238 to 241) with Brinegar Cabin, a campground, and picnic area (all around MP 239) among the brightest highlights of things to do.

EB Jeffress Park (MP 272.5) is 1 hour and 45 minutes away from Greensboro. The mile-long Cascades Trail loop will lead you to the side-view of a beautiful waterfall, one of our favorites in the High Country.

Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve

82 miles | 1 hour 29 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Weymouth Woods

Located near Southern Pines, Weymouth Woods boasts many trails that interweave with one another around the Weymouth Tract. This is where you’ll find the Visitor Center.

You can make a nice 1.5-mile loop by combining Pine Barrens with Gum Swamp, though there are more options to create longer hikes if you wish to do so.

Two additional tracts await at Weymouth Woods. Paint Hill has 1.3 miles of trails, and the Round Timber Trail at Boyd will take you to the oldest known living longleaf pine tree.

Stone Mountain State Park

90 miles | 1 hour 30 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Stone Mountain State Park

Of all the day trips from Greensboro, Stone Mountain State Park is probably our favorite. Shared by both Wilkes and Alleghany counties, Stone Mountain State Park is known for more than a few fun things to see.

Hiking around the Stone Mountain Loop Trail is the most popular. You’ll get a variety of looks at (and from) that massive exposed granite dome, for starters.

The 200-foot Stone Mountain Falls is one of a few waterfalls in the park and is a remarkable sight to see in-person. In addition to Stone Mountain Falls, there are also more than 22 miles of trails at this state park that lead to other waterfalls, remains of old stills, and great spots for trout fishing! 

Crowders Mountain State Park

115 miles | 1 hour 46 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Crowders Mountain State Park

Crowders Mountain State Park in Gaston County sits on the outskirts of Gastonia. Here, take a walk on one of the 16 different hiking trails, around the lake, along a creek, or up to one of the park’s two peaks: Crowders Mountain and The Pinnacle.

On clear days, you can even see Charlotte’s skyline from the top of Crowders Mountain, which can be reached after following Crowders Trail for 2.5 miles.

The highest peak at this state park is reachable via Pinnacle Trail (2 miles). This is also the highest point in all of Gaston County, at 1,705 feet.

Day Trips from Greensboro (Cities)

Gate City is also close to so many of North Carolina’s largest cities. Pick and choose from at least a few of these larger day trips from Greensboro and take some time to peruse some wonderful small towns afterward!

Winston-Salem

29 miles | 32 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Winston Salem

Winston-Salem is a no-brainer for day trips from Greensboro! Many folks visit Old Salem first for a taste of early America and the Moravians who established this interesting place. You can even learn a bit of NC Black history at St Philips Moravian Church.

Winston-Salem also is home to so many amazing restaurants and innovative breweries that you’ll need more than just one day trip from Greensboro to investigate them all!

Foothills Brewing is one of our favorite spots for NC beer. Their downtown tasting room welcomes all visitors to come and try their special creations, as well as the delicious food coming out of their kitchen.

You can always extend your stay at a place like The Cardinal Hotel or another one of Winston-Salem’s awesome historic hotels.

Chapel Hill

50 miles | 52 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Botanical Garden Chapel Hill
NC Botanical Garden.

Chapel Hill is the first Research Triangle city we’ll cover. While it’s smaller than Raleigh, Durham, and Cary, it’s still full of fun things to do. Outdoor options include strolls on Franklin Street and through UNC’s gorgeous campus, visits to the NC Botanical Garden (one of NC’s most beautiful), and treks through Carolina North Forest.

Speaking of Franklin Street: this famed street caters to all people, not just UNC students, faculty, and the few folks not affiliated with the university. Wonderful restaurants like Crooks Corner and Top of the Hill attract tourists and visitors from all over. Top of the Hill also has a distillery just down the street that makes some of the tastiest spirits in North Carolina.

More delicious Chapel Hill eats include the awesome burgers at Al’s Burger Shack and the amazing Southern eats at Mama Dip’s over on Rosemary St!

Note: Stay tuned for an upcoming guide to Chapel Hill Restaurants.

Durham

54 miles | 53 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Durham American Tobacco Campus
American Tobacco Campus.

We mentioned Eno River State Park already and thought you should know about additional outdoor spots in Durham like Duke Forest and Brumley Nature Preserve.

Head over to Duke University’s West Campus and walk around Sarah P. Duke Gardens. Another wonderful landmark is Duke Chapel at the center of campus, a truly stunning building from both inside and out.

A mix of indoor and outdoor excitement awaits at the Museum of Life and Science, one of our favorite things to do with kids in Durham. You can go on your own, though!

Of course, there are some pretty fun things to do in and around downtown. You can chill out with a beer or two at Fullsteam, our favorite brewery in Durham, or relax in The Durham Hotel.

The city’s food scene is filled with great international restaurants and casual places to eat, including some amazing pizza joints, so be sure to bring your appetite on your day trip to Durham!

Extend your day trip into a longer journey with one of these Durham Airbnbs.

Cary

71 miles | 1 hour 8 minutes

Cary is one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the US, with plenty of things to do on your first few day trips from Greensboro.

Cary is spread out with plenty of fun places to explore. Begin your exploration of this city by walking around downtown shops and eateries.

Some spots to check out include La Farm Bakery, Bond Brothers Beer Company, and Taipei 101. The iconic Ashworth Drugs is home to an old-fashioned soda fountain…and hot dogs, too!

One of Umstead State Park‘s entrances (Reedy Creek) is in Cary, too. However, the outdoor fun doesn’t stop there, because Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve is a wonderful place to visit. There, you’ll find a rare collection of hemlock trees typically found in Western North Carolina.

If you’re feeling a winter visit, the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival is a must-see, as it occurs every year in Cary between November and January.

Concord

72 miles | 1 hour 13 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Charlotte Motor Speedway
zMax!

Concord is one of the first places that come up when asked about day trips from Charlotte. If you’re in Greensboro, you’re also in luck because it’s just over an hour away.

Concord is largely known as the home of Charlotte Motor Speedway and zMax Dragway. People come from all over to catch races throughout most of the year.

More family-friendly attractions include Great Wolf Lodge Water Park and SEA LIFE. And when you want to get outside for a bit, check out the paths and scenery at Frank Liske Park and the historic Reed Gold Mine.

For lovers of craft beer, head over to Cabarrus Brewing. If you’re into spirits, we recommend embarking on an adventure and touring a real whiskey prison at Southern Grace in Mount Pleasant.

Raleigh

77 miles | 1 hour 15 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Raleigh Museum of Art Park
NC Museum of Art Park.

Throughout the year, we love digging into all the fun things to do in Raleigh. You’ll spend a lot of time exploring parks from Umstead State Park and the ones surrounding Shelley Lake and Lake Johnson.

Of course, you should also know about Dorothea Dix Park and Pullen Park, especially if you bought kids. Each summer, Dix Park transforms into one of the state’s most beautiful sunflower fields.

Many of these fun activities are featured in our guide of free things to do in Raleigh, too!

The best restaurants in Raleigh are scattered around, but we think you should make at least one visit to James Beard Award winner Ashley Christensen’s Beasley’s Chicken + Honey at least once, located downtown. Raleigh also has an awesome brew scene that can be explored further through the Raleigh Beer Garden’s Guinness World Record-winning selection of drinks.

Check out these cool Airbnbs in Raleigh if you’re looking to stay longer on your day trips from Greensboro!

Charlotte

93 miles | 1 hour 26 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Charlotte

Charlotte is NC’s largest city, and it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’re going to need more than a day here.

The city’s neighborhoods are packed with awesome restaurants, breweries, and more. There are also tons of lighter food options, as we covered in our guide to Charlotte’s eats.

Beyond the concrete and big buildings, there’s also lots of outdoor fun to be found in Charlotte. Check out spots like the US National Whitewater Center and the city’s amazing parks (ex. Freedom and Independence) for some time out in nature.

If you’re a sports fan, then you likely already know that the Carolina Panthers and Hornets both call Charlotte “home.” You may have allegiances to the Greensboro Grasshoppers, but you won’t want to miss seeing the Knights play at the beautiful Truist Ballpark!

Since you will need multiple day trips from Greensboro, you might want to stay the night. Hilton Charlotte Center City and the Dunhill Hotel are two excellent options. If they are fully booked, you could try a nifty treehouse like this one.

Hickory

101 miles | 1 hour 36 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Olde Hickory Brewery Hickory

Teeming with fun things to do, Hickory sits an hour-and-a-half away from Greensboro off I-40. This is a great place for museum lovers especially, with the Catawba Science Center and the Hickory Aviation Museum here waiting for you.

For beer lovers, Olde Hickory Brewery pumps out some of NC’s finest beer. You can also visit their three restaurant locations scattered throughout the town.

Right next door to the Burke County side of town, you should head over to Hildebran for a visit to the Henry River Mill Village. It’s a preserved piece of NC mill history and also a film location from the first Hunger Games.

Fayetteville

95 miles | 1 hour 42 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Fayetteville Cape Fear Botanical Garden
Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

Fayetteville is the last (but not the least!) of the cities you can reach from Greensboro within two hours. This city is known for its awesome local scene which is most visible in Downtown and Leclair’s General Store in Haymount.

The US Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum and the Cape Fear Botanical Garden are two of our favorite things to do with kids in Fayetteville. You can also visit Clark Park and hop on the adjacent Cape Fear River Trail with your bike. It’s one of many ways we take advantage of the beautiful outdoors in Fayetteville.

With so many awesome activities that are sure to get your stomach grumbling, you’ll be pleased to know that Fayetteville’s restaurant scene packs a huge punch. Circa 1800 (weekend brunch!) and Fowler’s Southern Gourmet are two we’ll suggest first.

One last thing: don’t leave Fayetteville without visiting one of the city’s veteran-owned breweries! Whether it’s Dirtbag in Hope Mills, Bright Light downtown, or elsewhere, you can’t go wrong with any of Fayetteville’s breweries!

Day Trips from Greensboro (Small Towns)

Small towns always get overshadowed in favor of other destinations. But, we like to look at small towns as saving the best day trips from Greensboro for last!

Burlington

22 miles | 29 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Zacks Hot Dogs Burlington

Burlington is the first Alamance County town we’ll mention on this list. It’s right next door to Guilford County and Greensboro.

Here, you’ll find a nice and cozy downtown with delicious hot dogs at Zack’s waiting to greet you. Hursey’s makes some of the finest NC Barbecue in the area and its original location in Burlington is a must-visit.

The Animal Park at the Conservators Center hosts events throughout the year and is definitely something worth keeping an eye out for if you’re traveling with kids!

Attached at Burlington’s hip is Graham, an adorable small town home to the must-try Soda Shop. Our little one loves the Children’s Museum of Alamance County. If you’ve got a young child yourself, Burlington is the next day trip from Greensboro for you to embark on!

Kernersville

19 miles | 25 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden Kernersville
Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden.

Kernersville shares Forsyth County with Winston-Salem and is home to at least a couple of fun things for day trips from Greensboro.

Inside its Historic Downtown District is the Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden. This is the only public garden between Raleigh and Charlotte, though it’s still in development. We’re excited to keep checking in on its 25 individually-styled garden areas, event spaces, greenhouses, and children’s area.

The biggest name around here, especially around the holidays, is Körner’s Folly. This historic home is beautiful to visit any time of year, but it truly comes alive during the holiday season. Its three stories, seven levels, and 22 rooms become fully decorated and look fantastic!

Asheboro

27 miles | 30 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Zoo Asheboro

While Greensboro is close to the center of the state, Asheboro and its Randolph County surroundings are literally in the heart of North Carolina. Perhaps one of the best day trips from Greensboro is a visit to the NC Zoo! As the world’s largest natural habitat zoological park, the NC Zoo definitely won’t disappoint.

However, there’s still so much more to Randolph County than just the zoo.

There’s the amazing Millstone Creek Orchards in Ramseur, the epic racing history at the Petty Museum in Randleman, and so much more to discover.

We’re not done with Randolph County yet, so keep reading!

Mebane

32 miles | 36 minutes

Stroll down Clay St in Mebane, and it’ll become abundantly clear why its motto is “Positively Charming!”

While in Mebane, you’ll find some interesting places to shop downtown, including Melville Trading Company and the Curious Peddler. The charming Fifth Street Books is also here, one of our favorite bookstores in North Carolina!

You can get here via I-85/I-40, but we like the more relaxed approach of running into Mebane along US-70. Give both a try and let us know what you think!

Lexington

32 miles | 37 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Lexington Barbecue Center
Barbecue Center.

Lexington is the only one of our day trips from Greensboro that has a style of NC barbecue named after it. Visit this town and explore its smoked pork, hushpuppies, and tomato-based sauce!

A massive barbecue festival typically commences here each October, with Lexington barbecue, tons of vendors, music, and more. Beyond the historic barbecue fun, Lexington is also home to the legendary pimento cheese at Conrad & Hinkle.

Childress Vineyards, one of the best North Carolina wineries and vineyards in North Carolina, also calls Lexington “home.”

Regardless of what brings you to Lexington, be sure to bring your appetite and enjoy the vast dining options in one of our favorite small towns.

Saxapahaw

34 miles | 38 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Saxapahaw General Store
Saxapahaw General Store.

With such a fun name to say out-loud, Saxapahaw also bursts with its own unique vibe. Start exploring with lunch at the five-star gourmet gas station also known as the Saxapahaw General Store.

Stroll down the street and grab a brew at Haw River Farmhouse and Ales. Find a souvenir to take home among the incredible meat selections at Left Bank Butchery to remember your Saxapahaw day trip.

We hope you try your very hardest to stick around here for a summer evening, as the “Saturdays in Saxapahaw” concert series makes for a beautiful end to a day. More things to enjoy here include walks at Saxapahaw Island Park, shows at the Haw River Ballroom, and paddling the Haw when it’s warm out!

Seagrove

40 miles | 41 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro Seagrove Dirtworks Pottery

We told you we weren’t done with Randolph County, not with Seagrove still to discuss! Known as the “Handmade Pottery Capital of the United States,” Seagrove is one of the most niche day trips from Greensboro.

Over 100 potters live and work within a 20-mile radius of Seagrove. Most of them will open their studios for visitors like you and me to get a close look at the pottery process. As a reminder of your Seagrove visit, take home some unique pottery pieces from the studios.

Hillsborough

42 miles | 43 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Hillsborough Occoneechee Speedway Trail
Occoneechee Speedway Trail.

Hillsborough in Orange County is the last place you’ll pass if you’re heading toward Durham on I-85. This small town ranks high on our list of places we might like to live in someday.

While we haven’t decided on living here yet, we can tell you to park at Weaver Street Market, grab a coffee and a bite, and then head down the River Walk. From there, you can walk to Gold Park, take in some beautiful scenes along the Eno River, and enjoy the playground with your kids.

Walks at the Historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail are also great. This was once a NASCAR dirt track, making it one of many historic places to visit in Hillsborough.

Additional food options include The Wooden Nickel (great wings!), Hillsborough BBQ Company, and the delightful Matthew’s Chocolates!

Pittsboro

48 miles | 51 minutes

Pittsboro in Chatham County is a wonderful small town to visit. While here, grab a bite to eat at Allen & Son and learn some information about the county at The Chatham Historical Museum.

One of the best reasons to come to Pittsboro is to visit the Carolina Tiger Rescue. This is a nonprofit that provides treatment and, in many cases, a new life to rescued wildcats.

Also nearby is Fearrington Village. It’s home to tasty food, great shopping, and plenty of space to watch the beautiful farm animals run around!

Salisbury

52 miles | 51 minutes

Another great idea for day trips from Greensboro is Salisbury, a charming town in Rowan County. It’s much more than just the home of Cheerwine and Food Lion, though you’ll see the former all over.

If you’re lucky enough to visit during May, you can celebrate all things cherry-flavored during the annual Cheerwine Festival. During the rest of the year, the town’s five historic districts are one of the hottest tourist spots.

Just a few miles down the road from Salisbury is the NC Transportation Museum in Spencer. The entire family is guaranteed to love this place!

Carrboro

46 miles | 53 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Carrboro Farmers Market

Carrboro is more than just an extra set of streets attached to Chapel Hill. This is one of our favorite small towns in the Triangle, with tons of great restaurants and a real community vibe felt throughout.

You’ll find one of North Carolina’s best farmer’s markets (held each Saturday until noon), the beautifully-located Honeysuckle Tea House, and much more when you visit this great town.

Kannapolis

69 miles | 1 hour 7 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Kannapolis Dale Earnhardt Statue

Shared by Cabarrus and Rowan counties, Kannapolis is home to the Dale Trail and a statue dedicated to the late great Earnhardt Sr.

As many NASCAR fans know, Kannapolis was the home of the Intimidator. The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame is also in Kannapolis, where you can learn more about our state’s best bands and musical icons who are now hall inductees.

If you’re interested in responsibly tasting some wine, check out Douglas Vineyards while on your day trip to this town.

Mount Airy

64 miles | 1 hour 7 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Mount Airy

This day trip from Greensboro is known for its great food options! Mount Airy’s quaint, cozy downtown boasts restaurants like The Snappy Lunch and Walker’s Soda Fountain.

Mount Airy is also not limited to fans of The Andy Griffith Show, but feel free to call this fun small town “Mayberry” as much as you want! For fans of the show, be sure to visit the Andy Griffith Museum!

Mayberry Spirits Distillery and Round Peak Vineyard are fun Mount Airy spots if you like great spirits and wine!

Elkin

72 miles | 1 hour 11 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Carter Falls Elkin
Carter Falls.

Elkin shares Surry County with Mount Airy, but parts of the town also reside in Wilkes County.

Elkin is located in the heart of the Yadkin Valley wine region. With many wineries in this area, including Adagio and Slightly Askew, any wine lover is sure to discover many new flavors here.

If hops are preferred, check out Skull Camp. This is a cool spot to enjoy some beer, wine, and some yummy smoked food.

Elkin Municipal Park and Carter Falls (0.4 miles round trip) are a couple of places to walk all that food off before heading back to Greensboro.

Statesville

72 miles | 1 hour 11 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Statesville Balloons

We’ve become huge fans of Statesville for many reasons, one of which is the incredible ballooning opportunities that await. Carolina Balloon Fest typically takes place in October and is a huge event that colors the skies and fills the streets of Statesville with fun all around.

In case you didn’t know, you can fly the skies around Statesville throughout the year. Contact an operator like Big Oh! Balloons and they’ll set you up.

Beyond balloons, you can dig into some unique French and Indian War history at Fort Dobbs. The Statesville Greenway is another fun way to enjoy the outdoors in the area, too.

If you’re into exploring NC beer and spirits, check out Fourth Creek Brewing and Southern Distilling Company, respectively. Check out Red Buffalo and be sure to show your love for their amazing Blueberry Lager!

Pinehurst

75 miles | 1 hour 16 minutes

We mentioned Weymouth Woods earlier but failed to mention that Pinehurst is nearby, too. During the first of many day trips from Greensboro, you can browse and shop at unique boutiques and galleries at Pinehurst Village!

Head to Pinehurst Resort, where you can tee off on the same greens that many PGA winners have played on. This place will make you feel like you’ve stumbled onto the ultimate Southern luxury retreat.

Wilkesboro

83 miles | 1 hour 17 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Downtown Wilkesboro

Bring a designated driver if you’ve come to Wilkesboro for spirits and wine. This town has long been known as the Moonshine Capital of the World. It’s also home to some amazing wineries, including Raffaldini and Piccione.

If you don’t know your NASCAR history, Wilkesboro is the site of the first-ever NASCAR track. Unfortunately, the Speedway is currently inaccessible, though we hope that’ll change soon.

Music lovers (like me!) may also know Wilkesboro as the site of Merlefest, an amazing festival that typically happens each April. If you’re in the area during this time, watch as the town comes alive and prepares for the festival.

Of course, there are still plenty of fun things to do in the area during the rest of the year as well.

Mooresville

75 miles | 1 hour 18 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Mooresville Carrigan Farms Rock Quarry
Carrigan Farms.

Mooresville is one of Statesville’s neighbors in Iredell County. It’s not too far from Lake Norman and a short drive from both Charlotte and Greensboro.

You can tour many of the top NASCAR team shops while in Mooresville, as JR Motorsports, Team Penske, and Kyle Busch Motorsports are all based here. Inside their shops, you’ll find cars, trophies, memorabilia, and special swag to take home.

Another amazing spot to visit in Mooresville is Carrigan Farms. It’s a fifth-generation farm where you can pick in-season fruits and vegetables. During hot summer days, their natural rock quarry swimming hole is perfect for cooling off.

Southern Pines

83 miles | 1 hour 24 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Southern Pines The Ice Cream Parlor

Head over to Pinehurst’s Moore County neighbor in Southern Pines. The town was originally founded as a health resort for Northerners.

Today, it’s home to some of America’s top golf courses, a thriving arts community, and a family-friendly downtown. Book lovers can pick up a new read from the Country Bookshop and visit other shops around the town.

Chapman’s Food and Spirits is one of the best places to eat in town, though we’re very partial to the burgers and dessert at the Ice Cream Parlour. Of course, you can’t leave without stopping at Southern Pines Brewing Company for a pint or a 6-pack to take home!

Davidson

84 miles | 1 hour 25 minutes

Davidson is a wonderful Mecklenburg County college town. It’s close to Lake Norman and home to Davidson College where Steph Curry played basketball. Enjoy a walk or ride on Davidson’s 6 miles of tree-lined greenways.

While the town is great throughout much of the year, there are a couple of events you simply can’t miss. Christmas in Davidson is one such event, taking place on the first weekend of December with a massive celebration of music, vendors, Santa, and much more!

Benson

109 miles | 1 hour 41 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Broadslab Distillery Johnston County

Benson is the first of our Johnston County day trips from Greensboro. It’s home to Broadslab Distillery, North Carolina’s first farm-to-distillery spirits, and sits near I-40 and I-95.

Also off I-40 (319) is Redneck BBQ Lab. Even during busy times, the wait isn’t too bad for their amazing barbecue, brisket, sides, and more, and they also have a drive-thru.

The Benson Museum of Local History will introduce you to the area’s history and traditions. One particularly important event is Benson Mule Days in September, an annual tradition that I once attended as a child.

Smithfield

107 miles | 1 hour 44 minutes

Also in JoCo is Smithfield, a small town with a nice walkable downtown. Here, you can visit the Ava Gardner Museum, which recognizes the iconic Johnston County native. You can also visit key landmarks in Ava’s life via this heritage trail put together by Visit Johnston County.

We are always on the lookout for good barbecue–and Smithfield didn’t disappoint! White Swan is a popular BBQ place that’s been around for a long time, with two very good locations. Holt Lake is another tasty option, and, if hops are more your thing, a pint at Double Barley Brewing will definitely do the trick.

While you’re in the area, check out the Bentonville Battlefield for a look at the final major battle of the Civil War.

Gastonia

110 miles | 1 hour 45 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Schiele Museum Gaston County
Schiele Museum.

We swing back west to the other side of Mecklenburg County with Gastonia and its Gaston County surroundings. We already mentioned Crowders Mountain earlier but thought you should know about the rest of the county.

Anyone familiar with the area will be happy to share memories of the Schiele Museum. It has been sharing science and the natural world to Gastonians since 1961.

Gastonia is home to quaint antique stores and the Carolina Speedway, one of the oldest dirt racetracks in the South. The track was built in 1962 and remains open every March to October.

We’re always searching for greenways to walk and bike, and George Poston Park is an awesome one within two hours of Greensboro. Here, you’ll find trails for all levels that snake through stunning scenery.

Also in Gaston County is Belmont, a town with a nice historic district and the gorgeous Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.

Morganton

118 miles | 1 hour 52 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Catawba Brewing Morganton

We think of Morganton as the gateway to Burke County, though you’ll pass Connelly Springs and Valdese along I-40 from Greensboro. We hope you plan additional day trips from Greensboro to stroll around the latter’s cute downtown and at least grab some lunch at JD’s in Connelly Springs.

After visiting Morganton, you’ll want to come back. I know we do! The town itself is a charming collection of hilly streets lined with an array of shops and restaurants. Morganton General Store is a one-stop-shop to grab everything and anything you need.

Root & Vine is one of our favorite places to eat in town, as we love their outdoor seating! Morganton is also home to Silver Fork Winery and Catawba Brewing, in case you’re searching for some of North Carolina’s finest wine and beer.

Additional fun spots within arm’s reach of Morganton include Lake James State Park, South Mountains State Park, the ever-popular Linville Falls, and the epic Wiseman’s View. We didn’t include them in our “Outdoor Day Trips” section because they’re a bit more than two hours away from Greensboro.

Lincolnton

119 miles | 1 hour 53 minutes

Lincolnton and its surroundings in Lincoln County sit between Hickory and Gastonia off I-40. This area belongs on this list of day trips from Greensboro any time of year.

The annual Apple Festival in October is typically the most popular time to be visiting here. More than 80,000 visitors descend upon Main St for music on two stages, a farmer’s market, tons of apple-inspired food, and much more! 

If you can’t make this massive event, don’t worry, because there’s still plenty to do! Stroll along Main St and window shop, or head into one of the many locally-owned businesses like Art on Main or North State Books.

The Carolina Thread Trail runs through here, connecting 15 counties from both the Carolinas. Lincolnton’s portion is the South Fork Rail Trail, which is a 2-mile path on the Rhyne Preserve.

Boone

113 miles | 1 hour 54 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Rough Ridge Trail near Boone NC
Rough Ridge Overlook.

The last two of our western day trips from Greensboro are a bit further north and among the most popular. First is Boone, which is a truly special place even for those who didn’t attend Appalachian State University.

We recommend parking somewhere downtown in the middle of the action. While here, be sure to pay your respects to the Doc Watson statue at the corner of King and Depot streets.

From there, walk up the hill to Lost Province, one of Boone’s awesome breweries. It’s a great place to begin your tour of the town’s food and beer scene, with plenty of restaurants to choose from nearby.

If the weather is cooperating, there are plenty of hikes near Boone worth investigating. Hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway and explore the trailheads for Rough Ridge and Beacon Heights, among many other stops.

Of course, we can’t leave out our favorite waterfalls in the area. I’ll go out on a limb and say Otter Falls is probably my favorite, but there are so many more in the area, including three falls along the Glen Burney Trail in Blowing Rock.

Spoiler alert: we didn’t include Blowing Rock, Banner Elk, and some other High Country favorites in this list because they take a bit longer to reach from Greensboro. Elk Knob State Park is another that we won’t judge you on if you extend your drive and decide to visit!

You can always extend your time in this awesome mountain town with one of these awesome Airbnbs in Boone and in nearby High Country towns!

West Jefferson

113 miles | 1 hour 58 minutes

Luckily for you, Ashe County and the wonderful West Jefferson are just within a two-hour drive from Greensboro. This place is also listed in our guide to day trips from Boone, in case you extend your stay in that area.

West Jefferson is a lovely town, filled with art galleries, shops, and murals. You can easily spend a day wandering up and down the town. Boondocks Brewing and New River Brewing will hook you up with some tasty NC Beer and food.

We can’t talk West Jefferson without discussing the Ashe County Cheese factory, where you can watch professionals make some of the finest cheese in the state! Ashe County is also well known for its Fraser Firs, so visit one of their Christmas Tree farms and take one home with you for the holidays.

Outdoor fun also awaits in Ashe County! Look down on West Jefferson and its surroundings from one of Mount Jefferson‘s overlooks. The very old New River also runs through here and is very popular among kayakers, fishermen and -women, and campers.

Wilson

127 miles | 1 hour 59 minutes

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Wilson Whirligig Park

Last, but not least, of our day trips from Greensboro is Wilson, to the east of Raleigh. Speaking of which, Wilson was also the final place we discussed in our guide to day trips from Raleigh.

Wilson is a place known for its kinetic sculptures, the Whirligigs, which is quite a sight to see! The Wilson Whirligig Festival is a massive event that typically happens each November.

Beyond the Whirligig Park, we’ve discovered a lot of other things to do in Wilson! Walks at Lake Wilson are a must, specifically after enjoying amazingly delicious and historic Eastern NC barbecue at Parker’s (or Marty’s) or epic dinners at The Beefmastor Inn.

Ready to Explore These Day Trips from Greensboro?

If you’re familiar with Gate City, you know there are plenty of things to do, great restaurants, and fun outdoors to explore. You’re also blessed with so many day trips from Greensboro, all listed in this guide!

This guide has the most options for days trips save for our guide to day trips from Asheville that boasts 60 destinations!

If you’ve been lucky enough to spend time in this area, we’d love to know what your favorite day trips from Greensboro are. Is there anything that we should add to the mix? We’re always eager to find new spots, so please feel free to kindly let us know!

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