Sometimes the best way to explore your state is by venturing to one of the many state parks. State parks offer scenery, history, and spectacular views you’d not commonly find. From hiking trails, places to pitch a tent, and plenty of new adventures, you have to visit these ten state parks in North Carolina.
1. Mt. Mitchell State Park
At 6,684 elevation, you're guaranteed some breathtaking views...up to 100 miles on a clear day! Mt. Mitchell is North Carolina's first state park and part of the mountains-to-sea state trail.
2. Gorges State Park
Gorges State Park is home to hiking trails and some of the most beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina, like Rainbow Falls. This rainforest-like climate and feel has beautiful foliage, nature, and great scenery.
3. Hanging Rock State Park
With five waterfalls, a mountain, and a lake - not to mention breathtaking rock outcroppings at 2,580 feet - Hanging Rock is sure to fill up a whole day or three!
4. Jockey's Ridge State Park
At the end of the mountains-to-sea trail, you'll find Jockey's Ridge, the tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic Coast. Feeling adventurous? Try hang gilding off the sand dune!
5. Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock is seriously spectacular. Spanning 5,700 acres, where do you even start? Between the 404-ft. waterfall, hiking, rock climbing, and the legendary boulder (with an elevator ride to the top), you have to check out Chimney Rock.
6. Pilot Mountain State Park
Another amazing park right outside of the Piedmont is Pilot Mountain, one of the last remaining remnants of the Suaratown mountain chain. You can go rock climbing, hiking, or just take in all the glorious views at the top.
7. Jordan Lake State Park
For serenity outside of the city, spend a day at Jordan Lake State Park. This 13,900 acre park outside of Raleigh is home to bald eagles and perfect for a long day of fishing. Jordan Lake is a great getaway.
8. Hammocks Beach State Park
Take a 15 minute ferry ride to your very own paradise at Hammocks Beach State Park. Spanning from the mainland to the islands, the park offers a seasonal ferry to the beach, maritime forest, salt marshes, tidal creeks, and best of all....camping on the beach! There's nothing more peaceful then waking up to the sound of ocean waves.
9. South Mountains State Park
Not far from Charlotte, discover your own solitude and mountainside paradise at South Mountain. Climb the steps and this gorgeous, 80-ft. waterfall will be waiting for you. Ride along the horse trail, hike to mountain peaks, and sunbathe on one of the many rocks in the river.
10. Fort Macon State Park
Fort Macon makes for a great day trip. This restored historic fort played a large role in the Civil War. Come for a day of history with a beach included.
Have you visited all of these state parks? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!