Planning Your Time
Each of these destinations can be explored in a day trip, but an overnight visit—or a weekend, if you have time—will make for a more relaxing experience. Winston-Salem is closest to Charlotte (around 60 minutes), followed by Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Parkway (2 hours), and Wilmington (3.5 hours) is the farthest away.
Each excursion is doable in a single day (though getting to Wilmington and back while leaving enough time to explore will require departing early in the morning and returning to Charlotte late at night). Since the destinations are scattered in different directions from Charlotte—Winston-Salem is northeast, Blowing Rock northwest and Wilmington southeast—it’s not possible to combine two trips into one longer excursion.
The best way to reach each of these destinations is by car. Once you arrive, the main parts of town are mostly walkable and there are options for public transportation in each city.
Each of the excursions is appealing year-round. The climate in Winston-Salem is similar to Charlotte, while it’s much cooler in Blowing Rock and a little warmer in Wilmington—be sure to pack accordingly. The summer tends to be more crowded in all three cities, though the plethora of snow sports offered in Blowing Rock draws crowds in winter, too.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition