Check out this HUGE list of North Carolina adventure spots for plenty of inspiration! Hiking, water play, fun playgrounds, and more!
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Day two of Adventure Week is all about where to explore in my home state– NORTH CAROLINA! Depending on where you live, many (if not most) of these adventure spots can easily be made into day trips with your family. Truly, there is more than enough here to help you find plenty of places to explore this spring and summer. Maybe you’ll even find a new family favorite playground or hiking trail!
I divided the list of North Carolina Adventure Spots into: PLAYGROUNDS, HIKING/WALKING, WATER AREAS, HISTORIC DESTINATIONS, MUSEUMS & ZOOS, and FISHING & BOATING.
I provided a basic description of each spot, as well as where it is located. Simply click on the destination to find out more information.
Be sure to save/pin/share this post so you can refer back to it all spring/summer long, and scroll down to the bottom of this post for a free Adventure Bingo printable to keep track of your adventures!
North Carolina Adventure Day Spots
EXTRA TIPS & RESOURCES
I put together an epic list of ideas that I will continue to add to, but if you’re looking for even more ideas and inspiration, places to visit and explore, then these resources are exactly what you need!
(We own and highly recommend the first three books. They are FULL of tips and information).
- NC Day Trips book
- North Carolina Waterfalls book
- Backroads of North Carolina- Your Guide to Great Day Trips & Weekend Getaways
- All Trails app
- Junior Ranger program
- NC Wildlife Resources Commission
- NC Parks website
- Rocky Face Recreational Center || Hiddenite || rock-centered playground with cave, zip line, tall slide, sand tables, and more
- Burlington City Park || Burlington || playground, mini amusement park rides, train rides, splash park, and carousel
- Washington Park || Winston Salem || dinosaur themed playground
- Saxapahaw Island Park || Graham || giant wooden fish slide and natural play area
- Dan Nicholas || Salisbury || lake + paddle boats, carousel, train, mini golf, gem mine, nature center, and more
- Cedarock Park || Alamance County || playground, disc golf, equestrian center, fishing & boating, basketball & volleyball, and more
- Le Bauer Park || downtown Greensboro || playground, splash pad, ping pong & foosball tables, dog park
- Pullen Park || Raleigh || (first public park in NC!) playground, carousel, train rides, tennis, pedal boats, and more
- Joyner Park || Wake Forest || new playground, walking trails
- Three Bears Acres || Raleigh || recreational farm with lots of fun activities, somewhat high cost of admission
- City Lake Park || multiple playground areas, train ride, carousel, and mini golf
- Southside Park || Surf City || boardwalk and pirate ship playground
- Hagan Stone Park || Pleasant Garden || multiple playgrounds, walking trails, fishing spots, and a community pool
- Stone Mountain State Park || Roaring Gap || more than 18 miles of trails, iconic granite dome of 600+ft of granite face
- Piedmont Environmental Center || High Point || over 6 miles of easy walking trails
- Saxapahaw Park– Haw River Trails || easy walking trails along the Haw River, access to the shops and restaurants in downtown Saxapahaw
- Purser-Hulsey Park || Matthews || walking & bike trails, community garden
- Umstead State Park || Raleigh || hiking, trail running, bike paths, fishing, and more
- Pettigrew State Park || Creswell || hiking and biking trails in NC’s coastal region, around one of NC’s two naturally occurring lakes
- Hanging Rock State Park || Danbury || 20+ miles of hiking trails along creeks, waterfalls, and vistas; mountain biking trails & rock climbing (w/ permit); crowded on weekends
- Mt. Mitchell State Park || Burnsville || highest point east of the Mississippi, short and challenging hike options
- Pilot Mt. State Park || Pinnacle || iconic overlook and “rocky knob”; hiking trails, bike trails, and rock climbing availability; crowded on weekends
- Cascades Preserve|| Kernersville || roughly two-mile hike through 130+ acres of nature preserve with resting stops and vistas
- Julian Price Memorial Park || Blowing Rock || nature walks and hiking trails, picnic areas, camping, boating & fishing
- Riverwalk || Rock Hill, SC || miles of paved and natural walking trails, canoe and kayak launching onto the Catawba River
- Raven Rock State Park || Lillington || scenic hiking of varying levels, horseback riding trails, fishing
- Uwharrie National Forest || Montgomery, Davidson, & Randolph counties || hiking trails, hunting areas, fishing, camping, and more
- Rich Fork Preserve || High Point || hiking and biking trails
- Carolina Beach State Park || Carolina Beach || beach and hiking trails, one of the only places to see naturally occurring Venus fly traps and pitcher plants
- Linville Gorge Wilderness Area || “The Grand Canyon of the East”, AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL hiking in the Pisgah Forest (check out the Sitting Bear trail), lots of scenic overlooks with minimal walking to enjoy the view without much hiking too
- Stone Mountain State Park || Roaring Gap || creek and waterfalls to slide down
- Eno River || Durham || shallow areas to play in and float down
- Haw River || northern Piedmont Triad || hiking and swimming areas; many parts of the river are shallow enough for non-swimmers to play in
- Bethabara Park || Winston Salem || small creek to splash in and explore behind the historic buildings
- Hanging Rock Park || Westfield || waterfall area to swim in (very popular in the summer)
- Sliding Rock ||.Brevard || large (very popular) water slide into a deep pool of water, $4 entrance fee, lifeguards on duty on in-season days
- Mayo River State Park ||.Madison || waterfalls and pool areas to play
- Cascade Falls || Boone || hiking and various places to play and splash in the falls
- Old Salem Museums & Gardens || Winston Salem || historic buildings, tours, restaurants, and bakeries
- Historic Bethabara Park || Winston Salem ||
- Cedarock || Alamance County || restored 1800’s historic farm
- Historic Yates Mill Park || Raleigh || only remaining operational grist mill; hiking trails, picnic areas, fishing availability
- Stone Mountain State Park || Roaring Gap || Hutchinson Homestead, restored 19th century mountain farm
- Montreat & Black Mountain || Montreat & Black Mountain || historic buildings, hiking, creeks, play areas, quaint shops and restaurants
- Guilford Courthouse || Greensboro || National Military Park– Revolutionary War battlegrounds and walking trails
- Biltmore Estate & Gardens || Asheville || AMAZING house, gardens, restaurants, and more
- NC Battleship || Wilmington || tour an authentically restored WWII battleship
- Fort Fisher || Kure Beach || historic site during the Civil War
- Town Creek Indian Mound || Mount Gilead || on the Little River, a place of archeological work for over 50 years
MUSEUMS & ZOOS
- Fort Fisher Aquarium || Kure Beach ||
- North Carolina Zoo || Asheboro || world’s largest natural habitat zoo, multiple fun playgrounds and areas for kids to play
- Western North Carolina Nature Center || Asheville || plants and animals of the southern Appalachian mountains
- Museum of Life & Science || Durham || Sooooooo much to do!
- Greensboro Science Center & Aquarium || Greensboro || outdoor zoo, indoor aquarium and lab rooms, ropes course, plus a brand new wooden play area
FISHING & BOATING
- Canoe Floats on the New River (check out Riverside Canoe) || Crumpler || fishing and relaxing
- Smallmouth float trips down the French Broad || Asheville ||
- City Lake Park || High Point || bank and dock fishing, boat and canoe launch areas
- Country Park || Greensboro || bank and dock fishing on two lakes
- Neuse River || Raleigh ||
- Eno River || Durham ||
- Pettigrew State Park || Creswell || “legendary” fishing with access for boats, kayaks, and canoes
- Kure Beach Fishing Pier || || huge 711-foot, family-friendly fishing pier
- Charles Owen Park || Swannanoa || two large fishing ponds and picnic areas
SPRING & SUMMER ADVENTURE BINGO
No matter where you are around the U.S. or the world, you can enjoy this Adventure Bingo with your kids this spring and summer! I rearranged the “adventures” in three different versions so kids can “compete” against each other. Or, simply print one bingo to use as a family and see how many boxes you can fill in!
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