While Charlotte has plenty of attractions to keep visitors entertained, it’s also located just a short drive from several other great North Carolina destinations. From thrilling rides of amusement parks, to the lush, rolling hills around Yadkin Valley’s many wineries, you’ll find no shortage of Charlotte day-trip options. Your biggest challenge will be deciding where to go first. To get you started, here are five great road trips, all less than two hours from Charlotte.

  1. Carowinds– On the border of North and South Carolina, this is the area’s biggest and best theme park. One of its newest roller coasters is NASCAR-themed and named after Dale Earnhardt. There’s also an adjacent water park, Boomerang Bay.


  1. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden– This garden is beautifully landscaped, with 380 acres of fountains, paths and flowers. It also features an Orchid Conservatory glass house, seasonal displays, exhibits and special events, along with classes on wildlife, photography, fine art, floral design and more. You can bring a picnic lunch and spend the day here.



  1. Charlotte Motor Speedwayand race shops – The speedway is in Concord, about a 15 or 20-minute drive away, but you could spend all day touring the speedway and visiting local race shops, many of which host their own behind the scenes tours. Race shops include Michael Waltrip RacingDale Earnhardt Inc.Hendrick Motorsports, etc.


  1. Vineyards and Tours – Wineries and tastings are about an hour to hour-and-a-half drive away. If you go through a tour company, you can easily stop by several in one day. Popular vineyards include

Childress Vineyards

Raffaldini Vineyards & Winery

Shadow Springs Vineyard

Laurel Gray Vineyards

Dobbins Creek Vineyards


  1. Reed Gold Mine– Kids and adults can enjoy panning for gold, taking guided tours of the restored underground tunnels and stamp mill, looking at gold and mining equipment in the visitor center, and watching a film on the North Carolina gold rush. A picnic area and trails on the property make it a perfect way to spend the whole day.

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