About Orange County, North Carolina

Answers to Common FAQS



Tell me about Orange County’s history...

Founded in 1752, Orange County has played important roles in state and national history. In pre-Revolutionary War days, Hillsborough was one home to the Regulators, a band of men and women who fought against British oppression, helping to usher in the country’s fight for independence. The Orange County county seat of Hillsborough was founded in 1754 on land where the Great Indian Trading Path crossed the Eno River and was first owned, surveyed, and mapped by William Churton (a surveyor for Earl Granville). And for centuries before this, Orange County was a site for at least three successive Native American villages. It is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an institution of the University of North Carolina System and the oldest state-supported university in the United States.

Where is Orange County located in North Carolina?

Orange County is located in the north-central Piedmont section of North Carolina, approximately midway between Washington, DC, and Atlanta, GA., and  centrally located in North Carolina where a drive to the coast is just about 3½ hours and a drive to the mountains is about the same. Residents enjoy proximity to Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh, locally known as the Triangle, and the Research Triangle and can avail themselves of any number of cultural, employment, entertainment, and shopping and sporting opportunities throughout the region. As they say: Location! Location! Location!

What is the Research Triangle and RTP?

RTP or Research Triangle Park is the largest research park in the country established in 1959 and home to 200 companies with expertise in fields such as micro-electronics, telecommunications, biotechnology, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and environmental science. It lies in the vicinity of the Research Triangle which derived its name from the proximity of three major research universities; University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Duke University in Durham, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

How far is Chapel Hill and Orange County from the Research Triangle Park?

The University of Chapel Hill is approximately 12 miles west of The Research Triangle Park. Orange County is one county over from Durham County where the majority of the park lies. In normal traffic via I-40, you can arrive in Chapel Hill in about 15-20 minutes which makes it an ideal location to stay when doing business at the park. Check out our hotel listings here.

What’s the best way to get to Orange County?

Orange County is serviced by the Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) which is just about 20 miles from Chapel Hill. Airport Shuttles, taxi’s, rental cars, and public transit sevices all operate from RDU. Major thoroughfares, I-85 and I-40 connect Orange County to other major cities and states.

What is the distance from major cities?

Asheville 220
Atlanta 380
Charlotte 140
Chicago 830
Nashville 510
New York 503
Orlando 624
Washington, DC 270
Wilmington, NC 158

What is the Food Scene like in Chapel Hill and other communities in Orange County?

Bon Appetit called Chaple Hill “America’s Foodiest Small Town.”  It is a hot spot for local farm to table cuisine and James Beard award winning chefs. The towns of Carrboro and Hillsborough are not without their share of attributes too for their restaurants, chefs and farmer’s markets. 

What kind of weather can I expect when I visit?

Summers range from the mid 60s to the high 80s; fall sees high 40s to the low 70s; winter ranges from high 20s to the low 50s; and spring has mid 40s to low 70s. The annual average temperature (°F) is 71 (high) and 47 (low). The annual average snowfall (inches) is 5.3. The average annual rainfall (inches) is 46.2.