23 Day Trips Within a 2-Hour Drive of Charlotte

Want to explore the greater Charlotte region? Discover these attractions within a day’s drive of the city.

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Zoo

Armour Street Theatre

Drive 30 minutes north of Uptown, and you’ll find community theater troupe Davidson Community Players, who stage productions such as “Monty Python’s Spamalot” and “Steel Magnolias” in Armour Street Theatre and on the Davidson College campus. With downtown Davidson nearby, there’s plenty to eat (read: Kindred) and do before the show.

Carrigan Farms

Brave the 25-foot jump at The Quarry at Carrigan Farms in Mooresville. Mined in the late 1960s, the natural, spring-fed swimming hole is open to the public at select times throughout the warmer months. Every swimmer must either wear a life jacket—more than 300 are available on-site—or pass a swimming test.

Catawba River Expeditions

Reserve a kayak trip with Catawba River Expeditions, who coordinate gear and self-guided tours of the river for a variety of skill levels. Calm and light rapids as well as wildlife make these trips serene.


First poured in 1917, the “nectar of North Carolina,” or Cheerwine, is still rooted in its birthplace, Salisbury. Capture a photo in front of the pop’s iconic sign, or stop by the company’s headquarters for some flavorful sips. Visit on May 19 to take part in the Cheerwine Festival, the town’s day-long celebration of the beloved drink.

Photo courtesy of Childress Vineyards

Childress Vineyards

Lunch and lounge at Lexington’s Childress Vineyards. Owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Childress, the space boasts 72 acres of vineyards as well as daily tours and tastings. Make a reservation at the bistro to enjoy seasonal selections and wine flights.

Copperhead Island

Book picnic space on Lake Wylie’s 14-acre Copperhead Island, or turn your day trip into an overnighter with camping reservations. The six-site isle is a natural haven for families and fisher-folk alike.

Crowders Mountain State Park

Located 30 miles west of Center City, Crowders Mountain State Park draws outdoorsy folk who enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, rock climbing and canoeing. Pack a lunch so you can picnic while taking in the view of Uptown from the summit.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden – Photo by Patrick Schneider

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Belmont’s 380-acre paradise, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, is about 20 miles from Charlotte. Linger over brews from the beer garden, and on Thursday nights, sip and stroll to the tune of live jams. Hungry? Venture into the city itself to enjoy dinner at The String Bean or Nellie’s Southern Kitchen.