#1 of 3 Nature & Parks in Swansboro. The Best Of The Best 10 – 1 1. North Carolina's state parks in the Blue Ridge Mountains preserve iconic natural places like Mount Mitchell -- the highest peak on the east coast -- Chimney Rock and Grandfather Mountain, and give you the chance to enjoy some of the nation's best hiking, backpacking, fishing and more. This park boasts... 2. It's a great place to stop and stretch your legs, enjoy a picnic. magnificent views of the island, and people doing everything from hang gliding to flying kites to picnicking and you have this park. Flickr / christisinger. The State of North Carolina has a group of protected areas known as the North Carolina State Park System, which is managed by the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation (NCDPR), an agency of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR).Units of the system can only be established by an act of the General Assembly of North Carolina. For a more challenging hike, try the two mile Grandfather Trail, a rugged path that includes cables and ladders to traverse sheer rock faces to the park's highest peaks. 15. Whether you want to scale the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, paddle through rivers dotted with Spanish moss, or hand glide over towering sand dunes in the Outer Banks, here are the 10 best state parks in North Carolina. Grandfather Mountain's stone profile faces have long gazed out over the ancient... #3 - Stone Mountain State Park. So, hitch up the trailer and make plans to visit the Tar Heel State on your next RV adventure! woods or around the lake, and just enjoy the beautiful scenery. it had the auto off and on, and was hot and great pressure. the large Price Park Picnic Area and walk downstream to Hebron Falls where it intersects the Mountains to Sea Trail and back again. mountain is accessible on a short and easy hike. Mount Mitchell State Park. Top Carolina Beach State Parks: See reviews and photos of state parks in Carolina Beach, North Carolina on Tripadvisor. Swansboro. The area has an on-site visitor center with an exhibit hall that explore the lake's ecology. “ Hammocks Beach State Park is a wonderful local gem, and Bear Island, which is the main attraction of the park, is a sweet little slice of paradise that is the equal to … Sign In - North Carolina State Parks; leftBody centerBody; Sign In. “ ... lots of stairs!) With activities ranging from kite flying to windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and hang gliding, the park offers an active beach getaway. We have suggestions. The park is also home to over 200 species of birds, which can be viewed via canoe or hikes on the nine miles of paths, as well as paddle-in, backpacking, and tent camping sites. The menu features shared plates like East Coast oysters and deviled crab dip, in addition to Southern-inspired salads, sandwiches, and whole flounder with salsa verde and chili mayo. Learn about the area's unique ecological and weather features at the on-site interactive museum, or explore the iconic 360-foot boardwalk or the Tracks in the Sand Trail, which at just over a mile gets you up close and personal with the dunes. picnic areas, and hiking trails, and more. Located about a half hour north of Charlotte, Lake Norman State Park offers the tranquility and beauty of a rural paradise, while still close to major amenities. You'll quickly discover that South Mountains State Park is one of the most scenic parks in North Carolina. While there are no campsites or accommodations at the park, there are several rentals available in town, where you can catch stunning views of the shore from the 19th-century era Bodie Island Lighthouse, fishing from the Nag's Head Fishing Pier, or stroll through the forests of the Nags Head Woods Preserve. Forests, Waterfalls, Nature & Wildlife Areas, Valleys, Forests, Waterfalls, Nature & Wildlife Areas. Make your footprints soft ones at the best state parks in South Carolina. Born near Lancaster in 1767, Jackson is the only president to be born in South Carolina. We have been to this park more times than we can count. One of the northernmost beaches on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Nags Head is home to Jockey's Ridge State Park, which features the largest living sand dune system on the East Coast. The wooded Chimney Rock State Park near Asheville has six hiking trails and is a favorite of experienced rock climbers as well. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. If you're into hiking, we did the Summit Trail. Elk Knob State Park; Eno River State Park; Falls Lake State Recreation Area; Fort Fisher State Recreation Area; Fort Macon State Park; Goose Creek State Park; Gorges State Park; Grandfather Mountain State Park; Hammocks Beach State Park; Hanging Rock State Park; Haw River State Park; Jockey's Ridge State Park; Jones Lake State Park; Jordan Lake State Recreation Area Stone Mountain State Park, in northwestern North Carolina, offers invigorating walks, impressive vistas, and idyllic, ... lots of stairs!) Note that while admission to the state park is free, there is a charge for the bridge, which is $22 for adults (13-59), $18 for seniors (60 and up) and $9 for children (ages 4-12). Gorges State Park. Highest rated places of interest or tour operators on Tripadvisor, based on traveler reviews. more. brackish water wetlands, ending at an elevated observation platform that offers views of the creek, the Pamlico River, and the surrounding marshes. Paddle through miles of serene, swampy forest at this unique state park located just 30 miles northwest of Elizabeth City. family young and old, relaxing in a beach chair, or riding a jet ski on the lake. It was the first State Park in the Southeast and among the first in the nation. All they ask is that you leave it as you found it. Ride along the horse trail, hike to mountain peaks, and sunbathe on one of the many rocks in the river. For a longer excursion, take the 2.2-mile round-trip Skyline Trail, which travels through hardwood forests and offers views of the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls as well as Lake Lure, which is popular in the summer months for water-based activities ranging from canoeing to fishing and water skiing. It turns out the National Park Service isn't the only parks organization that can brag about being 100 years old. THINGS TO DO AT ELK KNOB STATE PARK Trail a short three-quarter mile loop, Along the trail there are stops talking about different things interesting things see photo below look around smell and listen, Up the road from the camping sites is a nicely done beach area on the, Romantic Bed and Breakfast in North Carolina, JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State University. In addition, the park has a nine-acre lake for paddling and fishing, designated bouldering and rock climbing areas, an interactive museum, and a backcountry campground. The North Carolina State Parks system began in 1916 with the preservation of the summit of Mount Mitchell. Best state parks in North Carolina #1 - Gorges State Park. All told there are 30 state parks, 15 state historic sites, 1 state resort park, and 1 state recreational area covering approximately 80,000 acres of our state and all of it is available for you to enjoy. Located at the eastern tip of Bogue Bank, Fort Macon State Park is. Boasting more than 80,000 acres of protected land, South Carolina is home to some of the most beautiful parks in the country. The Top 10 State Parks in North Carolina Jockey's Ridge State Park. Beautiful park, the fall was very beautiful and refreshing. All in all, a great place to visit for a hiking. At nearly 200 years old, the park's 760-acre millpond is a unique ecosystem defined by lush Spanish moss, towering bald cypress trees, floating aquatic plants, tree frogs, and pond turtles. wonderful educational exhibit on the animals of the park, the environment, and conservation efforts. We take privacy seriously. Zoom in to see updated info. People have been coming to the North Carolina mountains to enjoy their scenic beauty for generations. Plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and one of the greatest... #2 - Grandfather Mountain State Park. The hike is just 0.7 miles out and back, dog friendly, and accessible to those with disabilities via an elevator in the Top Shop. North Carolina also provides several state parks with camping facilities, so you have a lot of options. Jordan Lake State Park In Apex This is one of the highly visited state parks in North Carolina. With more than 1,000 campsites, seven swimming beaches, and 14 miles of gentle hiking trails, Jordan Lake State Recreation Area is a great all-around vacation spot. Read our Privacy Policy . Raven Rock State Park: The Complete Guide, Chimney Rock State Park: The Complete Guide, The Top 12 Places to Go Hiking in Georgia, The Top 10 Hikes in Connecticut from Shoreline to Mountains, The 11 Most Beautiful State Parks in New York, Escape From City Life: State Parks A Day Trip Away from Charotte, 10 Great Places to Visit in West Virginia, Cloudland Canyon State Park: The Complete Guide, Go Camping in the Natural Beauty of Arkansas, TripSavvy uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our. Hanging Rock State Park is located within the Sauratown Mountain Range, an isolated system of monadnocks. The park has more than 11 hiking trails varying in difficulty, including the Ridgeline Trail, which connects to Kings Mountain State Park in neighboring South Carolina, and the Crowder's Trail, a near 5-mile loop that that climbs past wild flowers and rocky terrain before ending at the 1,625-foot summit of Crowder's Mountain, offering panoramic views of the surrounding piedmont. It’s great to hike for half a day then come down the. North Carolina’s state parks system is made up of about 200,000 acres of state land preserved for the enjoyment of its citizens. Every year they work on the bathhouses We stayed at the. There are hundreds of excellent RV sites to choose from across North Carolina, all with something different to offer visitors. Founded in 1916, North Carolina State Parks is celebrating its 100th year of preserving and maintaining the natural wild in North Carolina. The Best North Carolina State Parks for Hiking Mountain precipices and lakeside trails beckon hiking enthusiasts to North Carolina's state parks. Top North Carolina State Parks: See reviews and photos of state parks in North Carolina, United States on Tripadvisor. Searching for scenic waterfalls and rugged terrain? Many of North Carolina’s best RV parks … The Mile High Swinging Bridge, which is the country's highest suspension footbridge and offers panoramic views of the mountains below. Located 75 miles north of Asheville, Grandfather Mountain State Park in Linville offers 11 trails, from gentle, rolling climbs to steep treks over rugged cliffs. Climb to the summit via the strenuous six-mile out-and-back Mount Mitchell Trail, which starts at the Black Mountain Campground, or the nine mile out-and-back Deep Gap Trail, which starts near the summit and then climbs through dense fir and spruce forests and ridge lines of adjacent summits before reaching the mountain's peak. Lake Waccamaw State Park. Here are some of the most scenic and singular walks in the state: 1. The park's namesake peak, a 315-foot granite rock formation, offers panoramic views of the area, including Hickory Nut Gorge. Laura Scholz is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and editor who has called Atlanta home since 2000. Plan an outdoor adventure to one of North Carolina’s beautiful state parks. In addition to more than 20 miles of hiking trails, including the nearly five mile the Moore's Wall Loop that climbs along several crappy outcrops to an Observation Tower at the park's highest peak.The park also has rock climbing outposts, 8.4 miles of mountain biking trails, and a lake and river for paddling, canoeing, and other water-based activities. North Carolina State Parks offer many exciting camping options, from cabins nestled in the forest to primitive beach camping. Reservations for campsites are strongly recommended. All the information needed to plan your visit to any park is available on these pages, including fees, hours of operation, maps, fact sheets, amenities, accessibility and reservation information, and FAQs, plus up-to-the-minute information that might affect your visit. Swim, boat, or ski on the 14,000-acre reservoir or go bird watching: Jordan Lake is home to the largest number of bald eagles on the East Coast. little plaques describing the local trees. Located just 30 miles west of downtown Charlotte, the 5,054-acre Crowders Mountain State Park make a great day trip or weekend getaway from the Queen City. The park staff add to the greatness of this place, the rangers are over the top friendly and informative, You can easily get to town to stock up at Wal-Mart, enjoy local attractions such as Ashe County Cheese and then leave your. North Carolina is known for its natural beauty and resources from … The first 2/3 of the trip is pretty easy. Gorges is gorgeous. Elk Knob State Park is located in the remote northern reaches of western North Carolina, where winter weather is known to make quite an impression. I go to Mount Mitchell on regular basis for cycle and hikes, there’s so many wonderful trails for, We've been to Mount Mitchell State Park a few times, and always enjoy the Appalachian spruce/fir forest, especially when you can go to the top and up the little tower to. The North Carolina State Parks system offers an excellent, user-friendly website that lists all 41 state parks. All in all, though, it is a well-maintained park with opportunities for viewing Great Blue Herons. At nearly 8,000 acres, the park has four waterfalls, including the 150-foot Rainbow Falls, which can be accessed via the Grassy Ridge Trailhead just off Highway 218-S in Sapphire. visitor center with exhibits on the park and a man-made lake with swimming and boat rentals in the summer. North Carolina is known for its natural beauty and resources from the shores of the Outer Banks to the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. From the mountains to the Piedmont to the coast, these resources invite visitors to climb high, trek far, dive in, … Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. There are no pins in your viewport. “ Stone Mountain State Park, in northwestern North Carolina, offers invigorating walks, impressive vistas, and idyllic environs for fishing, horseback riding, picnicking, and camping. The park's highlight? The park features one of the highest peaks in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge range (5,520 feet), from which Watauga County spreads out beautifully before you. There’s a cute little swinging bridge, an open log cabin, You can take short walks or combine them for hikes through wetlands with rare native plants, find a young longleaf, ... swamps rather than over or through them), Campground Trail (easy and a short distance to the sites), and the Sugarloaf Trail, This park is a must see if in the area with tranquility trails to walk, beautiful, On this trail you can go down about 100 stairs to view some magnificent rock formations and really, Nestled in south central BC near Badin Lake and Lake Tillery, this is a great place to. For a quick break from nature, head to the nearby city of Pittsboro for shopping or a brewery or winery tour. Thousands of families visit this state park and one would always find the park crowded, especially during the summer season. Just 20 miles north of Charlotte, this 32,510-acre park boasts the largest manmade lake in the Carolinas. At 6,684 feet, Mount Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi River, and the surrounding near 2,000 acre-area of the Blue Ridge Mountains was North Carolina's first official state park. From family-friendly activities to advanced outdoor ones, this is the place to be. Recreational Park, go to Beaver Dam State Park becaused motorized boats are prohibited, water is pretty clear and there are vast areas to camp, hike, kayak, fish or swim. For a short, moderate stroll, opt for the self-guided Balsam Nature Trail, which follows a tiny stream and ends at the summit parking lot, where there is a concession stand and gift shop. One of the northernmost beaches on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Nags Head is home to... Gorges State Park. There's also a 73-site campground as well as vacation cabins for overnight stays. daunting on a sunny day... all sand... many hills... we had cloud cover and were still pretty tired after the hike Loved the views! There are several campsites at the State Park, but RVers are interested in the sites that contain electric and water hookups along with picnic table, fire ring, and grill. The state is best known for the beaches and marshes of its coastline, but it has a wide variety of other terrain to offer as well, including towering mountains, beautiful forests criss-crossed by streams and rivers, and even sand dunes. For most parks, reservations are made through ReserveAmerica. This is the version of our website addressed to speakers of English in the United States. trail, but a good challenge for me as a beginner :)! GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK (understandably) draws much of the attention in terms of North Carolina’s public lands, but the Tarheel State is home to 41 great state parks that hold plenty of appeal of their own. Map updates are paused. Whether you’re looking for an all-day adventure or an evening under the stars, North Carolina parks deliver. 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