The best time for outdoor activities is probably in the early summer or early autumn. Try travelling in May and June (when there will be many festivals and markets) or in September. That way you can avoid the humidity of high summer. To get bargain basketball tickets, a trip in December is advisable, as tickets tend to sell out at other times.
A thriving student town with a vibrant cultural life, Durham is packed with beautiful 19th century architecture and is a great base from which to explore the delights of North Carolina.
The city itself is centred around education, and hosts Duke University – one of America’s leading universities. Tour the breathtaking Gothic buildings of the university and take advantage of the many theatre companies, art galleries and cinemas which cater for the academic community.
Sports fans are well catered for in this destination as well. Catch some college football, basketball or baseball to sample the unique atmosphere of inter-collegiate sports.
Durham is also packed with museums such as the Nasher Museum of Art, which collects artefacts from across the world, the Museum of Life and Science – which specialises in teaching children about the natural world, and Historic Stagville, a meticulously recreated 19th century plantation.
The city was one of the richest cities in the pre-Civil War American South, and the region around Durham has many gorgeous plantation houses. Visit sites like Bennett Place or travel to nearby Raleigh which contains many period neighbourhoods.
North Carolina is also a great place for lovers of the outdoors. Visit the Eno River State Park to fish, kayak, hike and cycle. You can even cycle along the American Tobacco Trail all the way to Raleigh, while Durham also hosts many excellent golf courses.
The city also hosts cultural events throughout the year. Sample the Full Frame Documentary Festival in April or visit America’s largest Dance Festival held during the summer. There will always be something to divert your attention in this charming destination.
It’s easy to travel from Durham to Raleigh by bus, and local services are pretty good, with buses arriving at most stops every half an hour. However, renting a car is advisable if you want to make the most out of your trip, with the coast a few hours’ drive away. Cycling is encouraged, with excellent paths leading from Durham to nearby towns.
Travellers can catch a bus from the international airport (RDU) straight into the centre of Durham, and then other services will take you on to hotels in the “research triangle.” Alternatively, there are plenty of taxis and there are specialist limousine and shuttle bus services, as well as rental outlets available at the main terminal.