WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Share your favorite day trips

Posted June 18, 2016


Yesterday, I took my daughter and her friend to the beach for a day trip.

It was fairly frugal and so much fun!

And the weather was fabulous. HOT, but fabulous!

Here's the cost breakdown from the day.

I packed all my own food and bottled water and I packed the snacks and bottled water for the girls.

I bought them Wendy's on the way home for $10.50 (including a drink for me).

Gas was about $16 to get there and back (1/2 a tank).

I bought them each a drink on the way there for $1.50 each.

Parking was $12.50 at Wrightsville beach for 5 hours (Johnnie Mercer's pier).

So the total for a day at the beach was $42 for 3 people.

If I had packed lunches for the girls, it would have been less expensive but I decided to go crazy and make the big $10 splurge. Obviously there were other expenses like sunscreen and the food I brought but the above expenses include what I actually spent yesterday.

If you are heading to the Johnnie Mercer's Pier, there are outdoor showers next to the restrooms at the pier so we would rinse off wearing our suits and change in the bathrooms before driving home.

What are your favorite day trips?


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  • meredith88 Jun 20, 2016

    We LOVE day trips! There are so many great ones living here since we are sandwiched between the mountains and the ocean!

    We like the beach including Wilmington, Wrightsville, Elizabeth City, and with the new highways even Myrtle Beach is close enough for a day trip now. We also make the longer day trip to the Outer Banks on occasion.

    Going the other direction we like Hanging Rock, Linville Gorge, Banner Elk, Asheville, Lake Lure, etc. Some are a longer drive at almost 4 hours each way but are still lots of fun with proper planning. Also it's very frugal to spend one night camping in one of the state parks and stretch the trip out over two days if you just can't handle that much time in the car in one day.

    We also like the Asheboro Zoo, Tiger World in Rockwell, Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, and Carolina Tiger Rescue in Pittsboro. All are easy day trips from Wake County and have animals :-)

    Beths, I've been wanting to go to Sylvan Heights. Good to hear that you really like it!

  • Kathy S. Jun 19, 2016

    Wish I could enjoy day trips, but had knee surgery for the last two years that has put me out of commission mostly. Very limited to what I can do and how much. But I am greatful for my pool and I need the exercise for my knee. I use to love hiking and definitely the beach. Still do just can't hack it. Have a great summer everyone.

  • watchhillgirl Jun 18, 2016

    My husband and I went to Hanging Rock today and hiked the mountain and 4 other peaks! We did about 13 miles and I am exhausted! I was too tired to swim in the lake but what an amazing day! We only spent about $10.00 for gas. We brought our lunch and drinks so it was a very cheap day! There are 5 waterfalls there too. Today we just hit the different trails and summits but there is loads to do and see. I beautiful fawn walked up to us and was only about 10 feet away from us. I will be taking some aleve tonight before bed though!!!

  • jdouglas13 Jun 18, 2016

    Thanks everyone for your awesome suggestions!! I can't wait to explore all of them.

    Keep them coming!

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Jun 18, 2016

    TJ84 - I love walking along the river as well. We enjoy going to The Cotton Exchange and looking in the shops and getting ice cream cones to take on our walk.

    beths - I have never been there but it is on my list now. Thank you for the link!

  • TJ84 Jun 18, 2016

    We like to go to Wilmington and eat lunch at one of the restaurants on the river and then take a walk on the boardwalk.

  • beths Jun 18, 2016

    One of our favorite day trips is Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck. You can get up close to the birds and even touch some of them. www.shwpark.com

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Jun 18, 2016

    Kathy S. - staying at home and having pool fun is a great way to enjoy summer. Travel isn't for everyone. We plan to spend lots of time at the pool at my dad's place this summer. Free and only 25 minutes away. :-)

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Jun 18, 2016

    jdouglas13 - If you like pottery and going to the actual studios, I recommend Seagrove. They do an annual kiln opening every April and another event in November but you can go any time of year. The potters have wonderful pieces for sale. It's a beautiful area and the pottery is amazing! Here's a link to a FB page with more info:


  • Kathy S. Jun 18, 2016

    I like staycations. Swimming in my backyard pool.