12 Amazing Outdoor Areas to Visit in North Carolina

12 Amazing Outdoor Areas to Visit in North Carolina

It’s time to get out of the house. COVID-19 has forced many North Carolinians to work, play and spend their time indoors. But going outdoors is a great way to stay active and have fun, as long as you practice social distancing and wear a mask. If you are looking for outdoor areas in NC to visit for a nice day-trip, we’ve got 12 great ones to get you started!

1. Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park

Gyre, a sculpture in the outdoor area at the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park
Image Courtesy of NCMA Park

Although the NC Museum of Art is not open due to COVID-19, the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park is still open to the public. This vast outdoor area features a variety of art installments, gardens and trails, which you can enjoy while walking, jogging or riding a bike!

2. NC Arboretum

Garden at NC Arboretum, outdoor area in Asheville
Image Courtesy of NC Arboretum

Located in Asheville, the North Carolina Arboretum features 65 acres of gardens. People can enjoy a wide variety of flowers, trees and other fauna in this outdoor area. The arboretum also has hiking and biking trails for your experience experience.

3. Sliding Rock

Picture of Sliding Rock, outdoor area in the Pisgah National Forest
Image Courtesy of Romantic Asheville

Sliding Rock is a 60-foot mountain water slide located in the Pisgah National Forest. Children and adults will, of course, enjoy sliding down the rock, but there are also viewing platforms for those not wishing to get wet. There are also nearby outdoor area attractions, such as Looking Glass Falls, and others.

4. North Carolina Zoo

Bison and Elk on the prairie habitat at the NC Zoo, outdoor area in Asheboro
Image Courtesy of NC Zoo

Even though some policies have been adjusted for COVID, people can still enjoy seeing animals at the North Carolina ZOO in Asheboro. Onlookers can appreciate the animals North America and Africa as they walk throughout the many outdoor habitats. There is also a selection of art pieces throughout the park to be viewed as well.

5. Knightdale Station Park

Trail through woods at Knightdale Station Park, outdoor area
Image Courtesy of Knightdale Station

This outdoor area is a 76-acre park, located in Knightdale. The park offers two miles of trails through trees and along a boardwalk by a pond. There are also vast athletic fields, as well as a dog park for your four-legged friends.

6. Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve

Pictures of Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, outdoor area in Cary
Image Courtesy of Town of Cary

Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve is located in Cary, and covers close to 140 acres of land. The nature preserve offers miles of beautiful trails for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy, as well as bird and other wild animal watching opportunities throughout.

7. Craggy Gardens

Rhododendrons at the outdoor area Craggy Gardens
Image Courtesy of Blue Ridge Heritage

Located off of Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, Craggy Gardens is known for it’s pink and purple Catawba rhododendrons. The gardens are also nearby Craggy Pinnacle Trail, which gives hikers a phenomenal view of the surrounding mountains.

8. Old Cardinal Gem Mine

Picture of the Old Cardinal Gem Mine, an outdoor area in Franklin
Image Courtesy of Old Cardinal Gem Mine

This Franklin-located mining company has been operating for over 40 years. Families can enjoy digging from their own pile of dirt, or purchasing pre-filled buckets, to hopefully find gemstones like rubies, sapphires, and many more!

9. UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, outdoor area
Image Courtesy of Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens at UNC Charlotte began back in 1966. They offer different walkways, where you can enjoy a variety of wildflowers, trees, as well as other plants. The gardens are also dog-friendly.

10. U.S. National Whitewater Center

Person Kayaking at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte
Image Courtesy of Facebook

U.S. National Whitewater Center is located in Charlotte, and offers a variety of activities. Those looking for a thrill can enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, as well as ziplining and jumps. There is also rock climbing, mountain biking, and other activities for lovers of the outdoors.

11. Yadkin Valley Wine Country

Yadkin Valley Wine Country trail sight
Image Courtesy of Yadkin Valley Wine Country

Located in Yadkin County, Yadkin Valley Wine Country offers four different scenic wine trails. Enjoy miles of wine-trail driving between wineries in areas rich with history. Travelers will also be able to see a horse farm, alpaca farm, nature trails, and many activities.

12. Coker Arboretum

Dogwood at Coker Arboretum
Image Courtesy of North Carolina Botanical Garden

Coker Arboretum has been around since 1903, and now covers five acres of the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Enjoy a variety of flowers, trees and other plants in these beautiful outdoor areas.

Get Outdoors Today!

Hopefully this list gave you some guidance on some great outdoor areas for you to visit during these unprecedented times. If you know of any more fun and interesting places, please let us know in the comments!

If vacationing and staying stay interests you, please check out our article to learn about Fort Macon, another great destination.

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