We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

Which Asheville hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Dana Point...
Level Contributor
230 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

My husband and I will be visiting our son in Raleigh, NC early October. We would like to rent a car and take a 3 day side trip from there. We've never been in that area so it's hard to decide where to go. I was looking at Asheville, Charleston and Virginia.

I realize that they are all very different, we just want somewhere to spend our 3 days and see the sights, what would you guys out there recommend out of the 3 places.

North Carolina
Level Contributor
19 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

I like the Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk area...also is not far from Virginia if you should decide to go further north.

Chapel Hill, North...
Level Contributor
6,860 posts
38 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

Well, Virginia is a whole state so you've got me flummoxed there. Can you narrow it down a bit?

Asheville is lovely. Fall is prime tourist season. Early October is a little bit early for peak leaves at the lower elevations, but you still might hit a bit of a busy time. Leaves usually peak between Oct 15-20. Biltmore House is in Asheville, of course, and plenty of hiking and beautiful long range views. Lots of great restaurants and brew pubs. The Great Smoky Mts National Park is close by. Can't go wrong visiting there. Asheville is about 4 hrs from Raleigh.

Charleston is a beautiful, historic town, too. Folks in the SC forum can tell you more about early October there. It's definitely worth visiting sometime. It's a little bit further afield and not sure how much driving you want to do in your 3 days, but you could definitely do it. It's about 4.5 hrs.

Two other NC places you might consider are Wilmington and Boone/Blowing Rock.

Wilmington is about 2 hrs from Raleigh on the coast and is similar in many ways to Charleston with a lot of history. You've got the riverwalk down by the Cape Fear and river boat cruises, historic homes, the WWII Battleship North Carolina, the beaches, and just down the road Ft Fisher (civil war site) and the NC Aquarium and a short ferry ride to the quaint town of Southport. Check out http://smi.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/ for more ideas.

Boone and Blowing Rock are in the "high country" of North Carolina and at a little bit higher elevation than Asheville. The fall foliage is a big draw here as well and the leaves do change a little bit earlier than in Asheville, but not by a whole lot. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs right by Blowing Rock (coming up from Asheville in the south and going on toward Shenandoah National Park in VA). You might like to check out Grandfather Mountain (www.grandfather.com) with its Mile High Swinging Bridge and amazing views. There are tons of hikes and scenic drives and cute shops throughout the region. Check out http://www.highcountryhost.com/ for more info.

hth

Adirondack, New York
Level Contributor
3,934 posts
90 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

What are your interests?

From all the places mentioned in a great and informative post #2 Charleston, SC wins hands down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited: 1:43 pm, April 28, 2012
Asheville, NC
Level Contributor
420 posts
32 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

This really depends on what you want to do and how far you wish to travel. Asheville is about 4 hours from Raleigh. Charleston is 4 1/2 hours from Raleigh. There is a great deal of things you can see in Asheville. Excellent dining, shopping, art galleries, architecture, nearly a dozen breweries, the Biltmore Estate, Blue Ridge Parkway. Peak Leaf season is typically the end of October, early November.

Check this site out to help you:

www.exploreasheville.com

Asheville, North...
Level Contributor
375 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

With that short of a time, and that time of year, you are crazy if you don't head to the mountains. It is ABSOLUTELY fantastic here in October! The colors are totally amazing with all of our different varieties of trees. Personally, I think that there is more to do in the Asheville area - Biltmore Estate, driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, take a hike (see our great visitor website -www.exploreasheville.com), do the LaZoom bus tour, eat at some great LOCAL restaurants, have a great time in our funky little town. Enoy!

FYI - DO NOT WAIT TO MAKE ACCOMMODATION RESERVATIONS!! This is our peak time around here (it's like Vermont in the Fall here!!) Have fun!

Adirondack, New York
Level Contributor
3,934 posts
90 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

Charleston, SC is a great place to visit.

Edited: 10:27 am, April 29, 2012
US
Level Contributor
1,302 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

Any one of the NC, SC or VA destinations are wonderful that time of year. I'm guessing Williamsburg or the Skyline Drive in Virginia are your other choices. I would post in the Virginia forums for more information about those areas. Both are great.

Truly, there are no bad choices here. I love both the Asheville/Blue Ridge Parkway area and Charleston. They are different in geography and things to do but alike in that both areas are gorgeous and both cater to tourists. You would thoroughly enjoy either area--especially in October!

Virginia
Destination Expert
for Virginia Beach
Level Contributor
6,341 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

Will your son be in Raleigh a while? Will you be in Raleigh a couple of times a year?

Raleigh, NC
Level Contributor
6 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

I hope you are saving time to visit Raleigh and environs... there is plenty to see and do in and around Raleigh. Otherwise, do you have three days, not including travel time? If all you have is 3 days you will use a day's time just driving on busy Interstate highways to get somewhere and back, for a destination that needs a good three days to enjoy. If all you have is 3 days including travel time and really want to get away from Raleigh, you can get to the quaint, bayside town of Southport in 2.5 hours with an easy drive down "not so busy" I-40. Southport NC is a quaint, small town, not too touristy. Walkable and relaxed. Also could do a trip to Nag's Head or Beaufort and Cape Lookout.

NC is a big state... be sure to check out drive times when selecting a destination. Lots to do and see in NC - Enjoy!

Dana Point...
Level Contributor
230 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Help with 3 day side trip from Raleigh, NC

We're visiting our son for 4 days in Raleigh and then heading up to Asheville for 3 days.