HomeSaving and SpendingTouring Raleigh’s Triangle and Beyond, Where Old South Meets Cutting Edge

Touring Raleigh’s Triangle and Beyond, Where Old South Meets Cutting Edge

Touring Raleigh’s Triangle and Beyond, Where Old South Meets Cutting Edge

Raleigh day trips

Raleigh, North Carolina's elegant, oak-studded capital, is located on the Piedmont Plateau in the north-central part of the state, between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coast—the state's thriving heart. It is one of the three cities comprising the area known as the Research Triangle, a name referring to three major research universities that stretch across the cities. He's in the bustling center of one of the true college basketball hotspots.

Raleigh also resonates with historical strings, from pioneers during the Civil War and beyond.

University Tour

If you want to learn about the thriving center of Tarheel, with its classic civic buildings and architectural tributes to modernism, visit the three colleges that make up the Triangle: University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Duke University (Durham), and North Carolina State University (Raleigh). Basketball season, especially when a cross-country competitor is scheduled to play on home ground. The three schools—along with Wake Forest University, 100 miles to the west—make up the basketball glove on Tobacco Road for the visiting teams. (They are all within six miles of Interstate 40.)

Downtown Raleigh

Research Triangle Park itself – the largest science and technology research complex in North America, which employs about 40,000 people – is located on an area of 16 square miles west of Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The park, which opened in 1959, with the goal of reversing the “brain drain” of science and technology graduates from Southern universities, is home to companies including Cisco Systems and the Bayer Crop Science division. RTI International, a not-for-profit home research institute in the park, also resides there.

Want to know more about the state capital? Stroll through Raleigh's Civic Center, with the North Carolina State Capitol, or immerse yourself in one of Raleigh's cornerstone neighborhoods like Oakwood, with its distinctive Victorian homes and Confederate cemetery.

The Great Outdoors

Raleigh can also be a starting point for a number of scenic drives.

Head west on Interstate 40 and you'll quickly find yourself in the middle of North Carolina's OA belt. Pick a country road north or south of the highway and bypass gorgeous barns, orchards, and fields planted with an array of crops. Stop at Weaver Street Market in Carrboro, which serves local and seasonal produce, from locally produced sausages to kale and fresh organic tomatoes. The market has a nice outdoor café, music venues, art galleries, shops and restaurants. (There is also Weaver Street Market in locations close to Hillsborough and Chapel Hill.)

If you're lucky enough to be in the area in late April, you can sign up for the annual Piedmont Farm Tour where dozens of farms open Its doors are for tours of yards, farmlands, and country kitchens. It's a great experience for kids, including those who may not have been on a farm before.

Head south on Highway 87 to Saxapahaw, a former mill town on the banks of the Howe River. The city is now a thriving arts center with a honky-tonk feel. In the warm months, the city offers a series of evening music events, featuring country and bluegrass artists.


For a taste of local history, head south on Highway 40-E for about 50 miles to exit 334 and follow the signs for Harper House Road and Bentonville Battlefield. Bentonville was the last major battle of the Civil War, in which the powerful Union forces of General William T. It gives you a distinct taste of the region's countryside and waterways. Start at Bennett Place, which contains Civil War exhibits, then stop at Duke Homestead, where the family patriarch Washington Duke made the fateful discovery that his plantation could produce “bright” tobacco that was popular with smokers.

Durham also has many locations to explore. See Sarah P. Duke Gardens, the Museum of Life and Science and the Hayti Heritage Center, housed in the 125-year-old St. Joseph AME Church, which houses African art galleries and archives. The church has been the setting for sermons and sermons by Booker T. Washington, Langston Hughes, Webb Dubois, and Martin Luther King Jr.

with plenty to see in and around Raleigh, North Carolina, you and your passengers on a fun ride. Before setting out, make sure you have the correct auto coverage.

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