Charlotte Day Trips
1. High Point
Highlights: Heralded as the "home furnishing capital of the world," High Point has more than 50 discounted furniture stores and is home to the High Point Market. During this biannual event you can browse selections from some 2,000 exhibitors from all over the world. But High Point is about more than just furniture. Arts and culture connoisseurs can enjoy concerts, dance performances and plays at High Point Theatre. Catch one of approximately 16 new exhibitions showcased each year at Theatre Art Galleries. And take in one of the rotating exhibitions at High Point University's Sechrest Gallery, including both amateur and professional artists.
For outdoor family fun, take the kids to Maize Adventure, where you can try your best not to get lost in the 10-acre cornfield maze. Kids will also love the Rock Shop, where they can dig for gems and play games. For more adventure, take to the sky at the onsite Kersey Valley Zipline, which has over 1 1/2 miles of cables that will take you soaring over the maze.
Highlights: Much of Winston-Salem's art and cultural offerings are centered along downtown's bustling Trade Street. Here you'll find dozens of shops, restaurants and galleries, including Woodland Moth Visual and Performing Artists, where you can see photography, costume design, watercolor and mixed media exhibits. Or peruse unique, handcrafted gifts such as jewelry, pottery and clothing at Piedmont Craftsmen. When your stomach starts to rumble, head to 6th and Vine and indulge in one of the daily drink specials and nibble on a gourmet cheese plate. For yummy Southern fare, try Sweet Potatoes for favorites like shrimp and grits, and rainbow trout.Winston-Salem is also a great destination for wine lovers, as it's the gateway to the 1.4- million-acre Yadkin Valley.This area is home to dozens of award-winning wineries, such as Shelton Vineyards, where you can enjoy daily tours and tastings,picnic on the landscaped grounds, or dine at the upscale Harvest Grill. At Rag Apple Lassie, visitors enter the winery via a catwalk that allows guests to look down upon the fermenting tanks, tasting room and gift shop. More adventurous types can go llama trekking through the woods at Bloomtown Acres and then enjoy a private picnic along a scenic creek.
Highlights: The third largest city in North Carolina, Greensboro offers an eclectic lineup of interesting places and activities. History buffs are sure to enjoy the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, which is located in the former F.W. Woolworth retail store where 4 African-American college students launched the national civil rights "sit-in" movement.
Arts and culture lovers have dozens of venues to explore, including the City Arts Drama Center, which hosts theater, dance and visual arts productions. The Triad Stage is another great destination to see both classic and contemporary plays, such as Ain't Misbehavin'. For something a little more casual, try Barn Dinner Theatre, where you can enjoy an expansive buffet dinner along with a Broadway-style show or live music performance.
Highlights: While the bustling city of Raleigh is perhaps best known for its research universities and high-tech companies, the state capital also boasts plenty of fun outdoor adventures. For a unique way to explore downtown, check out Triangle Glides, which offers Segway tours through historic neighborhoods, and dining and nightlife hubs. Nature lovers can go to Paddle Creek and take a guided canoe or kayak trip down the Neuse River, which runs along Raleigh's edge.
Sports fans can experience at the PNC Arena and William Neal Reynolds Coliseum the historic basketball rivalries that exist between Raleigh's North Carolina State University and the other "Tobacco Road" schools, including Duke University. And NC State's Wolfpack football team has its gridiron showdowns at Carter-Finley Stadium. You can also catch a professional hockey game at Raleigh's PNC Arena, where the Carolina Hurricanes play. For something a little different, go see the Carolina Rollergirls, an all-female roller derby league that competes at the J.S. Dorton Arena.
To soak up the city's nightlife, head to one of Raleigh's vibrant downtown districts, where you can dine at restaurants such as Sono, which serves a wide variety of sushi in a sleek and sexy setting. Or relax in a comfy leather couch and enjoy a specialty cocktail at the hip Fox Liquor Bar. Later, take in a concert or Broadway show at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. For a great family-friendly activity, there's the Raleigh Flea Market, which showcases more than 600 vendors, offering everything from antiques and collectibles to furniture, clothing and jewelry. There are also tasty treats and games for the kids.