North Carolina is one of the friendliest and most beautiful states in the country. Tar Heel State has some of the best hunting and fishing in the country, as well as some of the most scenic state parks you can imagine. Whether you like camping, hiking, or just enjoying the beautiful scenery, North Carolina’s state parks have something great to offer. If you’re planning an outdoor adventure, the biggest perk is that there are no entrance fees to enjoy North Carolina state parks. It’s a rarity and a pleasant surprise for those visiting from out of state. Explore some of the most beautiful scenery you can find on the continental United States by visiting one of these great North Carolina state parks
With over 1,000 family campsites and nearly 14,000 acres of open water, Jordan Lake Recreation Area has something for everyone: boating, fishing, hiking and more. For those looking for more of a social camping experience, Jordan Lake might be just what you’ve been looking for. Camping enthusiasts who also consider themselves part of the birding community will be happy to know that there are healthy populations of bald eagles and ospreys in the area.
Crowders Mountain State Park has over 5,000 acres of space to view the surrounding countryside, including Crowders Mountain at an elevation of 1,625 feet. If hiking and rock climbing are your thing, or if you want to go canoeing or fishing, then this is the state park for you. Serious hikers frequent Crowders Mountain, but less avid hikers can also enjoy spectacular views and rugged terrain without the giant hike commitment. For the more adventurous types, bouldering and rock climbing are available with the proper permits and proper safety training.
Nag’s Head may be known for its towering sand dunes along North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but it’s also the home of famous Jockey’s Ridge State Park. If kiting, windsurfing and windsurfing aren’t enough, you can always sign up for hang gliding lessons. Oh, and the Wright Brothers National Memorial is not far away. For eco-conscious travelers, this is the tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic coast. It includes a boardwalk and well-known exhibits to share the vast ecological history of the area, while watching hang gliders float overhead.
Not only can you find amazing waterfalls and hidden swimming holes in Gorge State Park, but fly fishing for wild trout and smallmouth bass is very popular in this state park. There is primitive camping at Gorges, and if you’re a horse rider, the Auger Hole trail is just what you’ve been looking for. The park has nearly 7,500 acres of wild swimming holes and waterfalls that will take your breath away. It is far enough south and west to touch the South Carolina border at Lake Jocassee.
Bird watchers, hikers, and anglers love Goose Creek for the different ways to get there, but since there are no boat rentals, you’ll need to bring your own. Some eight miles of trails will lead visitors through a wide array of coastal living experiences such as living oak trees draped in incredible Spanish moss, incredible wetlands along Pamlico Sound, and cypress swamps full of mystery and of pleasure. Goose Creek is a coastal experience, but it’s also just a little escape from the beauty of the sandy beach.
Morrow Mountain State Park was built in the 1930s at a time when builders really paid attention to detail. When you’re looking for the perfect location to make plans for the whole family – including camping, hiking, and fishing against the mountain range backdrop – this park is the answer. Just an hour north of Charlotte, you can explore over 15 miles of trails while overlooking some of North Carolina’s most beautiful foothills. There are sites for tent camping, caravans and even motorhomes, as well as swimming, hiking and even horseback riding.
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