When you’re looking to get away but not wanting to deal with the hassle of packing, hotels, and time off work, a day trip can be the perfect solution. Whether it’s filling a day with the kids or a romantic getaway for two, a day trip may be just the thing you’re searching for. In this week’s episode of Melissa Unscripted, Dave and I rounded up some of our favorite day trips — all within a 90-minute drive of Greensboro.
From their fun learning opportunities to their beautiful views, zoos are a good time for kids and adults alike. And we’re in luck, because Greensboro has multiple fantastic zoos within a short drive. Ranging from interactive sessions with the animals at Zootastic Park to a behind the scenes experience at the North Carolina Zoo in, here are four of our favorites:
North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC – Featuring a butterfly garden, a zoofari, and a carousel, the North Carolina Zoo has activities for all ages. Whether you’re in the mood to stroll and look at the animals — which include everything from elephants to sand cats — or try your hand at their air hike ropes course, you’re sure to find something to keep you entertained.
Location: 4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro, NC 27205 — just a 35-minute drive away from the heart of Greensboro!
Zootastic Park in Troutman, NC – At Zootastic Park you’ll have the opportunity to see animals ranging from kangaroos to big cats. As an add on, you can also opt for an animal encounter experience, where you can have an hour-long encounter with a baby animal of your choice! (See which animals are available for an interactive session here).
Location: 448 Pilch Rd, Troutman, NC 28166 — 1 hour 22 minutes from downtown Greensboro.
Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, NC – With the option of a drive-thru in your own vehicle or a guided horse-drawn wagon ride tour, Lazy 5 Ranch offers a unique mix of relaxed exploration and hands-on activities. No matter which you choose, you always get the option of a walk through the petting zoo and the chance to feed the animals!
Location: 15100 Mooresville Rd, Mooresville, NC 28115 — 1 hour 15 minutes from downtown Greensboro.
Can’t take the whole day? Check out the Greensboro Science Center! Nestled right in Greensboro, the Greensboro Science Center has all sorts of opportunities to learn, play and explore. With an aquarium, museum and zoo all in one place, it may take more than one trip to see everything the center has to offer. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out one of their crowd favorites — Skywild, the science center’s treetop adventure park that’s designed for kids and adults alike.
Location: 4301 Lawndale Dr, Greensboro, NC 27455
Looking to get outside and stretch your legs? Here are some of my favorite hikes a short trip away from Greensboro. That’s not all — with picnicking, rock climbing, and fishing, there are plenty of ways to enjoy these natural wonders.*
Hanging Rock State Park in Danbury, NC — From horseback riding to picnicking to rock climbing, Hanging Rock State Park has it all. Just an hour drive from Greensboro, a trip to Hanging Rock works just as well as a day getaway as it does a weekend trip — and with its vacation cabins, tent sites and trailer/RV sites, Hanging Rock makes it easy to opt for an overnight stay.
Pilot Mountain State Park in Surry County, NC — With hiking, horseback riding, paddling, fishing, and rock climbing, Pilot Mountain State Park offers activities all along the river and at the mountain. Only an hour from Greensboro, whether you’re looking for a short trip or an overnight stay, Pilot Mountain offers activities to fill your time exploring nature.
Mayo River State Park in Rockingham County, NC — In addition to the river itself, visitors at Mayo River State Park can enjoy hiking trails, fishing ponds, beautiful picnicking spots and even a waterfall at Fall Creek. The best part? Mayo River State Park is just a 40-minute drive from Greensboro! And when you’re done, don’t forget to swing by downtown Madison, NC where you can grab a coffee at The Mad Bean and do some shopping at Madison Dry Goods and Dry Goods Country Store before heading home.
Can’t take the whole day? Check out The Bog Garden at Benjamin Park! Equipped with a small man-made waterfall and an elevated boardwalk, it’s the perfect place for a short trip into nature while still staying within the city limits.
*Make sure to check the park’s list of prohibited activities, and make sure you’re following all safety guidelines when you embark on your adventure!
Does restaurant hopping seem more your speed? How about a day exploring a historic town? Greensboro’s surrounding cities have got you covered. Take a day to explore Durham, home to the Blue Devil, venture into Tarheel territory with a visit to Chapel Hill, or take a stroll through historic Winston-Salem.
Winston-Salem, NC — Only thirty minutes west of Greensboro, Winston-Salem offers a blend of hip downtown and historic sightseeing. Once you’re done seeing all the downtown has to offer — including many delicious restaurants and bakeries as well as plenty of shops to explore — make sure to pop over to Winkler Bakery in Old Salem and grab some mouthwatering baked goods for the ride home.
Downtown Madison, NC — When you’re done exploring the Mayo River State Park, grabbing a coffee at The Mad Bean and doing some shopping at Madison Dry Goods and Dry Goods Country Store, delve deeper into downtown Madison and check out a tasty local bakery or spend an evening testing wine slushies at Wine Nox. Good news — if you develop a taste for any of the frozen treats, Madison is only a 34-minute drive away.
Durham, NC — From grabbing a bite at Tobacco Campus to catching a show at Motorco Music Hall, Durham is sure to keep you entertained with its vibrant art, food and music scenes. You can also take some time to check out some of what Duke University’s campus has to offer, including the Sarah P. Duke Gardens and the Nasher Museum of Art. A 52-minute drive from Greensboro, you’ll be sure to add Durham to your list of favorite places to visit.
Chapel Hill, NC — With its bustling main street, diverse array of restaurants, and student-led art scene, Chapel Hill is a college town through and through. While you’re there, make sure to check out the Ackland Museum of Art and grab a coffee and new book at Epilogue — and don’t forget to keep your eye out for the murals that adorn the buildings on Franklin Street. Only a 51-minute drive, Chapel Hill is a sure way to spend a day out.
No matter what you choose, you’re sure to have a blast exploring all that the Piedmont has to offer. What’s your favorite day trip? Let us know in the comments below!