Last Minute Spring Break Ideas

Scenic ByWays, Staycation Ideas and More!

March 24, 2024
Looking for something to do during spring break that’s close to home? It’s an excellent time to be a “local” tourist and enjoy some of the most beautiful places in the country right in your own backyard by planning a road trip on one (or more!) of America’s Scenic Byways.

Byways are generally roads, tracks or trails that do not adhere to a main path or route (unlike a highway or a major thoroughfare). The National Scenic Byways program was established by Congress to select and designate scenic roadways for the public to enjoy and appreciate. The most popular and well known are the Scenic Byways.

It’s easy to plan your travel route. Simply visit the America’s Byways page of the Federal Highway Administration’s website to discover which Byways you want to enjoy first. Then fill up your gas tank, pack some travel snacks and your camera and start driving!

Along the way, there are plenty of museums, shops, local dining, and entertainment venues to complement your Byway experience. You can also nominate a road to be designated as a Byway, so be on the lookout for those hidden gems just waiting to be discovered!

Want more ideas? 

While you’re in the mountains there are several things you can take advantage of if you want to make it more than just a day trip! Here are some suggestions:

-Sliding Rock: Famous rock in a river that you can slide down!

-Chimney Rock: Great hike and picnic area

-Ashe County Cheese Factory: Learn about how cheese is made and get to sample some along the way too!

-Unto These Woods: Play about the Cherokee Indian Tribe

-River Tubing: Available at many locations throughout the mountains area and is a nice relaxing activity

-Lunch or Dinner at Dan'l Boone Inn: Known for their family-style meals that will fill your belly and leave a smile on your face with southern cooking.

-Exploring downtown Boone and Blowing Rock for great restaurants and shopping

Charleston, SC

This 3 ½ hour drive is definitely worth it for all the beautiful sights, food, shopping, and history. You can visit the iconic Rainbow Row and visit The Battery. Another great place to stop by is the City Market, which is filled with local vendors, and be sure to see the hand-weaved baskets! Some other things to do include going to the Magnolia Plantation, going to the beach (Folly Beach is the top pick), touring a historic mansion, taking a carriage ride, visiting Fort Sumter, and the list goes on. For an evening activity take a haunted ghost walking tour through the historic town. Hopefully, you won’t get spooked too bad! One of the restaurants that is a must when you visit Charleston is Poogan’s Porch. It is a traditional southern restaurant located in an old Victorian-style home and is a must when you’re in Charleston! There are many great restaurants, especially for fresh seafood. Charleston is the perfect destination for a week-long vacation or just a short weekend trip and it won’t disappoint!

Lake Norman State Park

Have a staycation this spring break and go to Lake Norman State Park. This local attraction is a great option to get out in nature or enjoy a nice spring day. It has a 125-yard-long swim beach, many trails to hike on, and campground sites if you want to make it a camping trip. Take your pool toys and floats, pack a lunch, and you’ll have a great time at this new man-made beach!

Riverbanks Zoo

This is a great day trip option to bring out the kid in everyone! It is about a 1 ½ hour drive to this zoo and it will not disappoint!  You’ll get to experience all of the animals (over 2,000 to be exact) you love and might even get to hold some. There are many demonstrations with the animals throughout the day including sea lions, penguins, gorillas, elephants, and other opportunities to get up close and personal with the animals! They also have botanical gardens that you can visit experience spring in full bloom. You can save 15% by buying your tickets online prior to your trip!


Adults (ages 13 and up) — $15.95

Children (ages 2–12) — $13.50

Children (younger than 2) — FREE

Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie is like any other amusement park you will visit! Located in Blowing Rock, NC this spring break destination is only a 2 ½ hour drive from Charlotte. This option would be great for a day trip or to spend a few days in the mountains enjoying the fresh air and all nature has to offer. This wild-west themed amusement park has a train ride adventure, chair lift, Ferris wheel, and the list goes on with all of your favorite carnival-themed rides! They also have live entertainment like a jamboree and a can-can revue. Make sure you also visit the zoo there, gem mine, and play fair games! Buy your tickets now to save.


Adults (ages 13 and up) — $45

Children (ages 2–12) — $30

Children (younger than 2) — FREE