Road Trips – Visit North Carolina – Charlotte Guide {Lehigh Valley, PA to Charlotte, NC}

When we decided on Charlotte, North Carolina, we started researching what to do. Over a decade since I have been there, I didn’t even remember what the city looked like. 2 days of our trip was completely allocated by my conference, so we really only had about 2 days to explore. On our way home, we talked about visiting again when we would have more time. The city, the people, and the North Carolina climate is completely intoxicating. They say there is nothing like Southern Hospitality and it’s true. From the cheap motel room, to the small dive restaurants, service is always with a smile and a “y’all come back again”. It’s hard to be a disgruntled northerner when everyone around you is happy, and in North Carolina, it seems infectious.

To start, I have to say, Charlotte is the cleanest and one of the quietest cities I have ever visited. Walking in the down town area in the middle of the day into what should be rush hour, there were only a handful of people on the street. There wasn’t police sirens or fire sirens or honking. Hubs and I thought it was slightly eerie like there was some type of catastrophe coming and the only people on the streets were the ones who didn’t hear about it. But looking back, I don’t think I heard a horn honk our entire time in North Carolina. As a former Philly girl who traveled on Rte 422 and the Skuykill Expressway this is a concept foreign to me. But I was OK with it.

{The Journey}

Leaving Friday around 4 p.m. We started out in Lehigh Valley and traveled Rte 78 to Rte 81. We heard of tornado watches around the Harrisburg area, so we were watching the weather carefully. After some showers, it finally stopped raining and we stopped in Hagerstown, MD, where they had just built a Golden Corral (aka hubs Kryptonite). We stopped there to eat and luckily we did because the rain came down in sheets. We waited out the storm there by filling our bellies with food… some of which was on sticks and dipped in chocolate like these…

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Food on sticks and dipped in Chocolate is my Kryptonite.. Anyways, we got back on the road and stopped in Rocky Mount, VA off of Rte 220. The next morning, Saturday, we took a back road so hubs could see Martinsburg, VA Speedway. We drove to Greensboro, North Carolina where we had a friend who lived there. He moved down to NC a few years prior and you couldn’t pay him a million dollars to come back. After spending the afternoon in Greensboro (which included my trip to my happy place, World Market) we proceeded to Winston-Salem and ate at Hill’s Lexington BBQ. It was a little off the main road, however, the BBQ was delicious, cheap and the service was excellent. Everyone seemed to know each other there, so we knew we were in the right place to have an authentic Carolina BBQ experience! What’s that saying…when in Rome??

After a night in Winston Salem, we proceeded down to Charlotte to visit the Nascar Hall of Fame, somewhere hubs has always wanted to go. It was a great time and whether you are a Nascar Fan or not, the history is interesting. It was really interactive and geared to people of all ages.

Nascar Hall of Fame Charlotte, NC

The next two days were filled with conference stuff for me and splashing around the water park for Little Man and Hubs at Great Wolf Lodge. We did take lunch and dinner breaks around Concord and found a couple cool places to eat. We enjoyed a dinner, complete with a $.99 kids meal, cars hanging from the ceiling and a magician at Quaker Steak and Lube. {Insert Immature Chuckle Here} The food was great and it was the perfect place to keep Little Man entertained. We also ate at a chain BBQ joint called “Sticky Fingers” which was good.

After the conference wrapped, we headed back into Charlotte and drove around the city a bit, ate at the awesome Queen City Q, visited the Discovery Place where little man tired himself out and then a really hillarious and fun drive through animal park at the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville. After a long day, we headed north and stopped in Berlin, VA at a Sleep Inn for the night. For lunch the next day on the way home, we found a little seafood shop called Chesapeake Crab and Seafood Company in Martinsburg, West Virginia that was out of this world!

Queen City Q Restaurant Charlotte

It was a great trip and I can’t wait to get down there again. The drive isn’t bad because we broke it up in smaller increments and made stops along the way. Please make sure to check out my detailed reviews of the following attractions, just click on the title and go to the full post.

Food: Queen City Q – Charlott

Attraction:  Nascar Hall of Fame – Charlotte

Attraction:  Discovery Place – Charlotte

Attraction:  Lazy 5 Ranch – Mooresville

I also put together tips of visiting Charlotte on a budget and the resources that you may need HERE. Need some apps for your smart phone or device for the road trip? Read my article and travel tips HERE


** Special thanks to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority for helping us out a lot during this trip to make sure that we got a great taste of Charlotte! We loved it here and can’t wait to come back! Make sure that you show them some love at their website Charlotte’s Got Alot, Twitter, and Facebook.