From beaches to biking and just about everything in between, our great state is home to some of the best adventures Mother Nature has to offer. Here are 11 ways to take advantage of North Carolina’s great outdoors this season - because choosing just 10 was way too challenging.
1. Choose your adventure along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail
Pick any spot along this 1,175-mile trail, and you’re in for a treat. From mountain vistas and rushing streams to postcard-worthy colonial towns and weathered tobacco barns, no two segments are alike. Check out where to go using the trail guides on the Mountains-To-Sea Trail site.
2. Explore Pilot Mountain State Park
The Saura people knew the mountain as Jomeokee meaning Great Guide or Pilot. For centuries, Pilot Mountain served as a navigational mark for native Americans and later for settlers and explorers to the region. Today it is a recreational landmark as well, offering miles of trails, camping, climbing and spectacular scenery all within a short drive from the Farm To Feet manufacturing facility. Click here to learn about its many hiking trails and camping sites.
3. Hiking along the Appalachian Trail
Whether you’re setting out for a few hours or a few months, the North Carolina portion of the AT is particularly scenic. Trek through the mature hardwoods of the Nantahala National Forest in the spring and you’ll be treated to fields full of wildflowers. Learn more here.
4. Rock climbing at Stone Mountain State Park
This park in Roaring Gap is home to a variety of outdoor activities, but it’s the 600-foot granite face of the namesake mountain that keeps rock climbers (and mountain goats!) coming back. Get directions and additional information here.
5. Mountain biking in Brevard
Dubbed “ground zero for some of best riding in the nation” by Bike magazine, Brevard boasts vast expanses of slickrock connected by trails that wind through dense forests. In 2013, Brevard was the only destination east of the Mississippi River to make Singletrack's list of Top 10 Mountain Bike Destinations in North America. Check out why Brevard is the Cycling Capital of the South by clicking here
6. Hang gliding at the Outer Banks
Take to the skies along the same stretch of land that attracted the Wright brothers. A launch from the tall sand dunes of Jockey’s Ridge promises amazing views of both the Roanoke Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Click here for information on how to take to the skies on the Outer Banks
7. Fly fishing in Jackson County
Home to the first fly fishing trail in the United States, Jackson County features some of the best trout waters in the Great Smoky Mountains. With 31 public access points for fishing, you don’t have to travel far to hook a fish. Get your gear and check out where to go by clicking here.
8. Chasing waterfalls in Transylvania County’s Great Smoky Mountains
The combination of High Falls and Triple Falls is so visually stunning that it’s been featured in a variety of movies, from The Hunger Games to The Last of the Mohicans. The hike itself is moderate, and well worth every ounce of effort. Find the locations of these magnificent waterfalls here.
9. Camping on the coast at Cape Hatteras
Is there anything better than falling asleep to the sound of the ocean? Set up camp at Cape Hatteras National Seashore for a dose of nature’s sedative. Find your perfect place to set up camp here.
10. Paddle through whitewater on the French Broad River
Comprised of Class II, III and IV rapids, the French Broad challenges even the most experienced of rafters. The stunning views provide a welcome distraction on the tamer parts of the ride. Learn more from our friends at the Nantahala Outdoor Center
11. Trek to the top of Mt. Mitchell
At 6,683 feet, Mt. Mitchell is the highest peak in North Carolina, offering stunning views of the surrounding Appalachians. The hike is six fairly strenuous miles each way, but a summit is always worth the work. Plan your visit here.