With travel + COVID-19 restrictions still in place, it may be hard to get away for a big summer trip this year. However, one of the many things we love about Cola is its easy accessibility to so many great road trip destinations.
If you’re looking to get out of the house with health and safety measures in mind, check out these 12 summer road trip ideas, all within a few hours drive of downtown Columbia.
*Disclaimer: While we love these road trip spots, we recommend checking local coronavirus regulations + case rates before planning a trip.
~2 hour drive or less
Charlotte, NC | ~1.5 hr from downtown Columbia
○ Just a straight shot up I-77, you don’t have to travel far from Columbia to get the big city feel in Charlotte. Feeling the need for speed? Ride the rapids or hit the zipline at the U.S. National Whitewater Center or check out the NASCAR Hall of Fame when it reopens.
Charleston, SC | ~1 hr. 45 min. from downtown Columbia
○ Repeatedly ranked as Travel + Leisure’s #1 city in the U.S., Charleston is a must-visit for anyone looking for classic, southern charm. Check out Charleston City Market to shop from over 300 vendors, take a walk down King Street and explore historic homes on Rainbow Row + the Battery.
○ Want to feel like a Charleston local? Check out our sister city, CHStoday, here.
Greenville, SC | ~2 hr. from downtown Columbia
○ Take a stroll through Falls Park at the Reedy for gorgeous river and waterfall views in the heart of the city or rent a bike for a ride down the Swamp Rabbit Trail for an active getaway. Looking to take a hike in the nearby mountains? Check out these.
○ Want to feel like a Greenville local? Check out our sister city, GVLtoday, here.
2-3 hour drive
Beaufort, SC | ~2 hr. 15 min. from downtown Columbia
○ If coastal views are up your alley, the lighthouse at Hunting Island State Park and the waterfront park are can’t-miss sights in this town.
Asheville, NC | ~2.5 hr. from downtown Columbia
○ Asheville offers mountain views and something for the whole family. The Biltmore Estate is a must-see if you haven’t already + ziplining through the Blue Ridge Mountains will bring thrill for the adventure seekers. Take a stroll through Asheville’s River Arts District to see artists at work or check out one of the many local breweries or wineries.
○ Want to feel like an Asheville local? Check out our sister city, AVLtoday, here.
Savannah, GA | ~2.5 hr. from downtown Columbia
○ Escape the bustle to the many historic + manicured parks and town squares. Pack a picnic for Forsyth Park or check out Chippewa Square from the famous Forrest Gump bench scene. Explore the city by river on a Savannah River Cruise, watch cargo ships go by on River Street or catch some time on the beach at Tybee Island.
Atlanta, GA | ~3 hr. from downtown Columbia
○ While the ATL is a popular destination for its aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola and Olympic Park, try exploring Chamblee Antique Row, the Atlanta Botanical Garden and the Millenium Gate for an experience filled with hidden gems in the big city.
Wilmington, NC | ~3 hr. from downtown Columbia
○ Aside from spending the day on its well-known beaches such as Carolina + Wrightsville, Wilmington also offers battleship tours and walking tours through its Historic District. Fun fact: Wilmington is known as “Hollywood East” as many movie and TV productions film in the city.
3+ hour drive
Golden Isles, GA | ~3.5 hr. from downtown Columbia
○ Looking for a vacation off the beaten path? The Golden Isles are a set of barrier islands off the coast of Georgia. From spending a day kayaking in the Intracoastal Waterway to biking along the expansive coastline and historic neighborhoods or setting up a tee-time at one of the many golf courses, exploring the outdoors will be easy.
Raleigh, NC | ~3.5 hr. from downtown Columbia
○ This city is filled with museums, like the North Carolina Museum of Art + the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and is perfect for taking in arts + history. Looking to get outside? Visit Pullen Park, the oldest public park in North Carolina and ride the carousel.
○ Want to feel like a Raleigh local? Check out our sister city, RALtoday, here.
Chattanooga, TN | ~5 hr. from downtown Columbia
○ If you’re looking to escape to a city and enjoy mountain views at the same time, this may be your spot. From great hiking tails that’ll get you outdoors + the Chattanooga Whiskey Distillery to Ruby Falls and Rock City (where you can see seven states from one spot), there’s something for everyone to experience.
○ Want to feel like a Chattanooga local? Check out our sister city, NOOGAtoday, here.
St. Augustine, FL | ~5 hr. from downtown Columbia
○ Take a road trip down to the oldest city in America and explore the Spanish colonial architecture. The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument will fill you in on the city’s history + local ghost tours will excite paranormal activity believers. Looking to cool off? Hit the beaches at St. Augustine Beach + Anastasia State Park.