In the balmy embrace of early summer, we’re seeking verdant landscapes and vibrant locales. Our first of three 2024 summer day trips beckons us to Kure Beach, where harmonious melodies of beachside music intertwine with sounds of elusive native animal species. Next up: a day trip to Anderson, SC, where flea market thrifting and lakeside luxuriating are a way of life. Finally, we’re checking out the newly renovated park, marina, and aquatic center in High Point, NC. Plan your trip to each destination around exciting summer events!

Coquina outcrop

Visit the Coquina Outcrop at low tide on your way to Fort Fisher | Photo: Jordan D (Tripadvisor)

NC Coastal: Kure Beach, NC

Hurry to Kure Beach for the ultimate 2024 summer day trip at the beach. En route to Fort Fisher State Historic Site, hike the beach near the Ocean Dunes Condos to witness an incredible coquina rock formation. Only visible at low tide, this outcropping reveals a gigantic mass of cemented coral and seashells dating back 80,000 years!

At Fort Fisher, explore the remnants of the fortifications, including earthworks, gun emplacements, and a reconstructed palisade fence. Next door at the NC Aquarium, weave through interactive habitats that belong to otters, sand tiger sharks, sea turtles, and Luna the albino American alligator.

Kayaking at Kure Beach

Kayak with your pup! | Photo @kayakcarolina

Next, venture to Zeke's Island Reserve for an afternoon of combing the beach for rare seashells, paddling through estuaries, and observing migratory birds. This hotspot for ecological diversity is recognized for its terrain made up of sand dunes, maritime forest, and tidal flats. 

Summer is definitively the best time to visit Kure Beach, as it plays host to some of the best events on the NC coast. The Pleasure Island Jeep Jam takes place May 17-18, featuring live music, a food truck rodeo, and games for kids. Check off a big Carolina bucket list item when you attend the Carolina Beach Music Festival, the biggest and only music festival held on the NC coast. No shoes required, but you’ll want to book tickets to this sell-out event, taking place June 1.

Anderson Jockey Lot

Just another day at the largest flea market in the world!

SC Upstate: Anderson, SC

You’ll be pleasantly shocked by all the fun things to do in the “Electric City” of Anderson. What’s with the moniker? Find out when you take a 2024 summer day trip to the Rocky River, which has fueled the town’s textile mills for centuries. Minutes from downtown Anderson, Rocky River Nature Park is home to abundant wildlife: 21 species of fish, 18 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 100+ bird species. Keep your binoculars at the ready!

Continue your game of “I Spy” with a loop around the Anderson Jockey Lot and Farmers’ Market – home of the biggest flea market in the world. Each day, 30,000-60,000 visitors can be found foraging the 65-acre market for baked goods and artisan-made food products, rare antiques, celebrity collectible items, and so much more.

Fishing on Lake Hartwell

Find your perfect fishing spot on Lake Hartwell | Photo @thekurrent

Snuff out the scorching summer heat with an escape to Lake Hartwell, one of the best fishing spots in the SC Upstate. Sadlers Creek State Park rests adjacent to Lake Hartwell’s pristine shores, and a six-mile network of biking trails offers ingress to sand volleyball courts and nature’s wonders. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may be lucky enough to spot deer and black fox squirrels. Pro tip from the park ranger: visit the fishing pier at night to see fish attracted to the underwater green lights.

World's Largest Chest of Drawers

Snap your selfie in front of the World's Largest Chest of Drawers! | Photo @worldrecordacademy (Instagram)

NC Piedmont: High Point, NC — The Best 2024 Summer Day Trip for Kids!

Many know High Point as the “Furniture Capital of the World” – some may even have had their picture snapped atop the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers, a 32-foot-tall, 98-year-old structure that once housed the town’s water supply. While we never turn down an opportunity to pose by bizarre roadside landmarks, there are more “drawers to open” in High Point.

Start your 2024 summer day trip with a splash at High Point City Lake Park, where aquatic adventures abound. Rent canoes, kayaks, or stand-up paddleboards at the Marina or visit the brand-new Aquatic Center, which features a lazy river and three waterslides. Opening Day is May 25 and daily operations run through August 11.

Prefer to stay dry? Hike the pedestrian bridge across Arnold J. Koonce, Jr. City Lake, where you can bike along the greenways or poke around at the Piedmont Environmental Center. Lose track of time playing mini-golf, spinning around the carousel, and riding the train.

Siblings on a 2024 summer day trip to All-A-Flutter Farms

Siblings by birth, butterfly buddies by choice | Photo: All-A-Flutter Farms (Facebook)

More enchanting experiences await at All-A-Flutter Butterfly Farm, where a guided tour (offered mid-April through late June) entails hand-feeding hundreds of Monarch butterflies in the Flight House.

End your 2024 summer day trip on a “high point” plucking fresh strawberries and blackberries right from the fields at Ingram Farm. Say hello to goats, honey bees, and chickens on your way to the Dessert Barn, where you can cool off with a muscadine slushie or homemade ice cream cone. Flavors like peach and chocolate-covered strawberry are made with farm-fresh ingredients and a whole lotta love! 

Looking for more great ideas for 2024 summer day trips?! Check out our 2023 summer day trips

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