Home Tourism 9 summer experiences for every budget — from food recs to travel destinations

9 summer experiences for every budget — from food recs to travel destinations

9 summer experiences for every budget — from food recs to travel destinations

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The cost of everything — from rent to cheeseburgers — is going up.

  • Yes, but: That’s not going to stop us from having fun this summer, dangit!

What’s happening: We rounded up a few places to go, things to do and local restaurants you should try this summer.

Whether you’re looking to have some summer fun on a budget or go all out, here are a few activities to try.

(1) Go for a hike and enjoy the great outdoors

Cost: Free

Hikes: Crowders Mountain is a popular hiking destination that’s not too far from Charlotte.

Après hike: Veronét Vineyards is a 12-minute drive from Crowders, so go for a post-hike drink and snack.

Related guide: Top 16 places to hike near Charlotte, plus a guide to their best trails

Crowders' Mountain

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(2) Swim in the rock quarry at Carrigan Farms

Cost: $30 per person

About the quarry: It’s a natural spring-fed body of water that was discovered in the 1960s when mining for granite stone. Now, it’s become a popular local destination to spend hot days.

  • The best part? It has a mini beach with sand.

The Quarry at Carrigan Farms

Photo: Symphony Webber/Axios

(3) Go glamping in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Cost: $99-$500+ per night

Details: The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to several very cool glamping set-ups including geodesic domes, a tree house with a suspended bridge and an elevated glamping pod.

Related guide: 8 glamping getaways in the Blue Ridge Mountains

asheville glamping

Glamping in Asheville. Photo courtesy of Samantha Alexander

(1) Enjoy a meal from a restaurant on our cheap eats guide

We’ve rounded up 46 Charlotte restaurants that have menu items for around $10, including: 

Optimist Hall has a total of 25 tenants with a variety of food options ranging from Ethiopian to gelato.

Axios archives

Treat yourself with a meal at one of Charlotte’s high-end steakhouses, contemporary rooftop spots, fast casual joints or international restaurants. Some ideas:

  • Enjoy a roasted oysters, prime filet, miso mac and cheese, and lobster inside Supperland, a restored church-turned restaurant.
  • If you’re in the mood for sushi, try Mizu, the Sexy SouthPark rooftop restaurant with a state-of-the-art robata grill from O-Ku chef Michael Chanthavong.
  • For fabulous Uptown views and a taste of different cultures, try Mariposa, located inside the Mint Museum.

oysters at supperland

Axios archives

Full guide: 9 best new restaurants in Charlotte, right now

Luckily for North Carolinians, we’re conveniently home to locations for mountains, beaches and everything in between at every price point. Here are a few flightless travel destinations to check out within driving distance of the Charlotte area. 

(1) Durham destination

The Durham Bull Statue

Axios archives

Details: As a Durhammite, Alexis is a little biased, but trust her when she says there are plenty of experiences between culture, good food and history that make this the ideal budget-friendly weekend getaway.

Cool stay: The Unscripted Hotel is located right in the heart of downtown that places you within walking distance of the Durham Bulls Stadium and the Durham Performing Arts Center. This hotel also features a rooftop pool with sweet views of the city.

Cost: Average price during the week this summer is $115/night. Weekend rates start at $135.

Related guide: Durham getaway: 33 things to do in the Bull City

Durham Hotel. Axios archives

(2) Wilmington beach trip

wilmington river walk

Axios archives

Details: The summer isn’t complete without a beach trip. Wilmington is a relaxing destination whether you’re planning to treat yourself to a weekend alone, or a bask in the ocean breeze with a partner. You can enjoy a little historic sightseeing or simply relax on the beach after enjoying the latest fresh catch at local restaurants. 

Cool stay: Opt for a boutique bed and breakfast like Dreamers Welcome. The interior design of this renovated Victorian home is top-tier if you’re looking to create content or Instagramable selfies.

  • Book customized rooms for the occasion like “The Traveler” or “The Romantic” to elevate your stay into a full experience.

Cost: Weekly special rates start at $179. Most of the weekend dates are already booked but an average rate is about $300 a night.

Related Guide: Coastal getaway: 48 things to do in Wilmington, 3.5 hours from Charlotte

dreamers welcome wilmington exterior

dreamers welcome wilmington rom

Dreamers Welcome. Photos: Axios archives

(3) Asheville mountain trip

Just outside Asheville in mid-October. Axios archives

Details: Planting yourself near our state’s largest mansion, The Biltmore Estate, and some of the most beautiful Blueridge Mountains will push you to splurge on yourself.

  • You can save a few coins by taking nature trails early in the morning before enjoying extravagant wine tasting or meeting new people at local bars and breweries. 

Cool stay nearby: Live your best luxury life at The Inn on Biltmore Estate or head north of the city to Omni Grove Park Inn that’s known for 10 presidential stays. 

Cost: Weekend rates start at $600 a night for The Inn on Biltmore Estate and $374 at the Omni Grove Park Inn. 

Related guide: Asheville getaway: 35 things to do in N.C.’s coolest mountain city


Inn at The Biltmore. Axios archives

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