Greensboro is a sleepy place in North Carolina, with a real small city feel to it that will make you want to stay much longer than you had ever anticipated. This is a historic place to visit: a city that in its early years as a settler community played an integral role in the American Revolutionary Wars. The nearby Guilford Courthouse became the site of an important battle between American troops and British Redcoats, leading to the city to be renamed after the commander – Nathaniel Greene – who fought a battle that, although he lost, would still have a huge outcome on the war as a whole.
Guilford Courthouse makes for a great day trip from Greensboro, but even if you aren’t so interested in history, the city’s central location in the state makes it the perfect place from which to explore the surrounding countryside to travel further afield to the larger cities of Charlotte or Raleigh or even along to the coast to Wilmington and the many beaches.
Here are the best day trips from Greensboro, North Carolina.
1. Guilford Courthouse
Guilford Courthouse is located on the outskirts of Greensboro and makes for a full day trip from the city that will be packed with history.
This is the site of a famous battle between American Revolutionary forces and British troops under General Cornwallis.
The British won, but due to heavy losses, were forced to retreat, ultimately leading to their surrender at Yorktown and the loss of the American colonies.
Today, the site is a protected area because of this important battle, and there are even reenactments that are put on by local enthusiasts.
The courthouse is full of historical markers and interpretive signs that take you through the events of the day.
2. Greensboro Science Centre
The Greensboro Science Centre is located right next to the Guilford Courthouse and makes for an interesting place to visit when out of town.
The Science Centre takes you through the local history of wildlife and geology and will give you an appreciation of the natural beauty that is awaiting you when you make even more day trips further afield into the surrounding state.
There’s also an adventurous tree top walk to make here, for those looking for a bit of an adrenaline boost.
Found just a few miles down the road from Greensboro, Winston-Salem is a nearby city that has a unique history dating back to the early days of European colonization in North Carolina.
The city was founded by Moravian settlers from Germany and this heritage is still very much apparent.
Old Salem even offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in these early pioneer days.
This historic part of town contains many of the original buildings built by the first settlers, and visitors can learn about the humble beginnings of what is now a large city.
4. Lake Brandt
Lake Brandt is located outside Greensboro and makes for an excellent day trip if you are looking to escape the city but don’t want to travel too far afield.
This artificial lake is a tranquil place to enjoy the natural scenery and the calm waters.
There are hiking and biking trails that lead around the edge, while many locals prefer to take to the water itself, exploring by canoe, kayak or even stand up paddleboard.
5. Bur Mil Park
Bur Mil Park is another great outdoor recreation area that’s found on the edge of Lake Brandt, not too far from Greensboro.
Here, you can find many walking trails through the serene outdoor setting.
It’s peaceful, quiet, and extremely leafy.
There’s an outdoor swimming pool here too, which in the humid, tropical heat of summer is very much a welcome relief to find.
Seagrove is found an hour south of Greensboro, in the North Carolina countryside.
This quaint little town offers visitors an interesting look at the local pottery makers and their exceptional talents.
Locals have turned the simple act of pottery making into an art and are well known for their handmade methods that produce highly desired pottery.
Seagrove and the surrounding communities are home to a huge number of pottery shops and workshops, where you can enjoy demonstrations from the locals themselves, and, of course, purchase a unique souvenir to take back to Greensboro with you.
7. Hagan Stone Park
Just past the southern suburbs of Greensboro is Hagan Stone Park – a small but beautiful area that is designated as a wildlife refuge, providing a safe area for local animals to flourish, while also providing local people with a quiet and relaxing outdoor space to enjoy.
It’s close to Greensboro but it’s still a world away, and visitors can enjoy this refuge and the walking trails and camping spots throughout the year.
Burlington is a small city to the east of Greensboro where you can enjoy a piece of small-town American life.
There are a few small museums telling the tale of Burlington and the surrounding county’s early history; in particular, the pivotal role played by the region in the early settler days and during the Revolutionary Wars.
Visit the Alamance Battleground to learn more, and then pay a visit to Cedarock Park, where you can see some of the beautiful nature of the county, as well a historic pioneering homestead that dates to the 19th century.
9. Haw River State Park
The Haw River State Park is an excellent place to spend the day if you are looking to undertake some outdoor activities and get out of the city.
Just a short journey away from Greensboro, the Haw River State Park encompasses a wild area of natural beauty that is one of the newest protected areas in North Carolina.
It was designed to be a place that not only offers great hiking trails and recreation opportunities, but also functions as an educational area, particularly for children.
There are many opportunities to learn more about the wildlife and flora of the park at the education center, and it’s well worth a trip for anyone interested in conservation.
10. Hanging Rock State Park
Hanging Rock State Park is found to the northwest of Greensboro, in the mountainous region that’s close to the state border.
It’s a real wilderness, known for its distinctive rock formations – including the namesake, Hanging Rock, which juts out dramatically from the mountains to offer not only a great photo opportunity, but expansive views out across the surrounding forests and range.
There are some great hiking trails here, with several miles of marked routes that will give you a great look at the nature and landscapes that are waiting to be discovered here.
11. Pisgah National Forest
Although it may seem like a bit of a long journey to make from Greensboro – and it is quite far – a trip to Pisgah National Forest is a trip to one of the most scenic areas in North Carolina.
Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains in the far east of the state, this is a place of tall mountain peaks and stunning landscapes.
It’s green and rocky, with hidden creeks and towering waterfalls waiting to be discovered.
The best way to experience the forest is by hiking, but there are plenty of biking and kayaking opportunities as well if you are feeling more adventurous.
12. Biltmore Estate
The Biltmore Estate is found in the same eastern region of the state as Pisgah National Forest, and again, it makes for a long day trip from Greensboro.
The Biltmore Estate, though, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in North Carolina, and a must visit for anyone with an interest in history.
Built by the famous Vanderbilt family – one of the richest families in the US – this estate dates back to the late 19th century.
The house itself is a mansion – one of the largest homes anywhere in the world – and it’s possible to tour certain areas of this lavish building and the extensive grounds surrounding it.
Raleigh is the capital city of North Carolina.
Being just an hour and a half drive away from Greensboro, it makes for a great day trip.
It’s a big place – although not, in fact, the largest city in the state – and it offers a lot for visitors to enjoy.
This is the home of many of the best museums in the state, including the fantastic Museum of History and the equally great Museum of Natural Sciences, where you can easily spend the day walking through an interesting array of exhibits that tell the tale of North Carolina.
Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and it’s found around two hours to the southwest of Greensboro.
This ever-busy city is a hub of southern culture, history, and cuisine, and there are many great sights to see.
Tour around the NASCAR Hall of Fame for a look at this very American sport, before visiting the many local bars and restaurants for a taste of North Carolina’s best food.
Wilmington is a long drive from Greensboro, but its location on the coast makes it a great place to experience another side of North Carolina.
This is one of the state’s best surfing locations due to the strong waves that are always present offshore, while the sandy beaches make for a great opportunity to enjoy the sun and the sea breeze.