5 Weekend Trips for Next to Nothing in North Carolina

 
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Sometimes you just want other things to do! The weekend is close and so is summer. I hate sitting in one place, especially since I feel like there is so much to see and do but sometimes I only have a day trip budget, if that.  There's always the normal Trip Advisor ideas, like visiting the zoo, but hopefully I can add to this list over summer '16 with things I haven't done yet,  like chill in downtown Asheville but here’s list of fun things I like to do in NC that don’t cost an arm and a leg. 

 

1. Go hiking

There is so much mystery and magic in the mountains and North Carolina is full of them. You can pretty much get to any hiking trail within 30 minutes. Depending on how you’re feeling, Shacktown isn’t a hike at all buts it’s a beautiful waterfall off the road about 15 minutes from Winston. Or you can take a real hike and go to Hanging Rock. I hiked to the bottom to see the several waterfalls then hiked to the very top. The top becomes real, in that it goes from concrete to gravel to nothing and you’re literally hand and foot almost climbing to the top, but when you make it, it really is a beautiful site to see. Again I was afraid to go to the edge of the rocks, but from where I was standing it was beautiful! If you go off trail you can see even more!

 Window Falls at Hanging Rock State Park

Window Falls at Hanging Rock State Park

2. Spend the Evening in NODA

NODA is Charlotte’s art’s district. I had to style a friend for a photo shoot there once ad it was beautiful. There is a little bit of street art here and there but it is lined with restaurants and small shops. I visited a vintage shop,the Rat’s Nest, where the owner offered us free beer as we looked around. I saw Duchess as I was walking the streets and my brother and friends performed at the Evening Muse on the corner of North Davidson and 36th St. To eat, I’d recommend Baja style restaurant, Cabo Fish Taco, the food was great, but there are lots of options all along these few blocks. If you want desert there’s a cute French bakery called Amelie’s that’s open 24 hours, I went there around 12 with a few people after a photoshoot and the line was out of hand.

3. Ever Been Tubing

45 minutes from Winston you can pay $14 for a tube to ride down the Dan River. I’m going to be completely honest at first I was terrified and I needed liquid courage. However, after I got the hang of it, it was so much fun. As you ride down the river listening to music some people pass you by. You really have no choice but to take in nature because there’s no way you can bring your phone on this trip. You pass mountains and cliffs that some people stop to climb and then jump off of. It really is a fun ride down the river in the sun.

 

4. Take a Day Trip to Raleigh

I lived in Raleigh for almost 6 years I really love and miss that place. There is so much to do and when I go back, I feel like I didn’t have enough time to visit. You MUST check out one of my favorite art museums, the NC Museum of Art. It consist of 2 buildings an outside theater and an outside trail that has art along the pathway. I love this place, it’s free and I never get tired of it. Then go around the corner to the arboretum, it’s a flower garden. It’s huge and separated by different types of flowers.  There is a whole cactus garden that is rather unique. I would skip class to go to Pullen Park and ride the paddle boats but it’s a great place if you have kids. However, if you’re looking for night life… bar hop! There are so many options and so many different crowds, try Raleigh Times for good drinks but for good music I love Neptune’s. I could really go for hours about the cool things you could do in the capital city.

5. Gallery Hop

Durham, Raleigh, Greensboro, even Winston all have a Friday where galleries and shops are open extended hours and go all out. There’s usually live music, drinks and of course art! I loved First Fridays in Raleigh, sometimes the streets are blocked off all night, there are bands playing in the street and galleries often have free wine and beer. I visited Artspace on a first Friday in Raleigh once and was able to be a part of French artist JR’s Inside Out 11M Project, that creates a portrait of America including immigrants and the descendants of immigrants. People all over the world have their picture taken in a photo booth on a truck; it is then blown up and glued to the side of buildings all over the entire world. My face was on the side of the Artspace building downtown Raleigh until it weathered away. There are often crazy things going on these dedicated Fridays. Check 'em out, it can get crazy!

These are only the things I have done! I heard Wilmington has killer doughnuts that could possibly put Krispy Kreme out of business. North Carolina is a country state but it has a lot of hidden treasures. I can't wait to add to this list this summer!