If one of your 2016 resolutions is to explore more off the beaten path, you’re in luck! North Carolina has some beautiful, well-known locations, but there’s also plenty hiding amidst the scenery. These twelve locations are perfect for a daytime getaway turned memorable adventure!
1. Hanging Rock State Park
Hanging Rock State Park is a well known destination of many Piedmonters. But, for those looking for their own secluded retreat try having a picnic at the majestic Lower Cascade Falls (pictured above).
2. UNCC Botanical Gardens
You normally don't associate a wonderful, hidden, and quite large botanical garden with a college campus. That's not the case for UNC Charlotte. The beautiful botanical gardens include small streams, Asian-inspired buildings, and plenty of trails to wander along for an afternoon.
3. Treehouse Vineyards
North Carolina has plenty of beautiful vineyards, but what about one where you can rent your very own Treehouse? Located in Monroe, Treehouse Vineyards is perfect for a weekend away from it all!
4. SOCO Falls
Located off HWY 19 in Maggie Valley, this one is a true hidden gem because there are literally no signs directing you to the fall. You'll see the parking area off HWY 19, but might have to carve your own trail down to the fall to capture amazing pictures like the one above.
5. Craggy Pinnacle Overlook
A short, 1.4 mile hike off the Blue Ridge Parkway takes you to this gorgeous overlook that gives you a great view of Craggy Gardens.
6. Camp Alice Trail
Located in Yancey, this moderate, lesser-known trail takes you to a beautiful open field with a great view of Mt. Mitchell. Perfect for a Walden-esque afternoon away from the world.
7. Croatan National Forest
With beautiful coastal scenery, Croatan National Forest is just as much a weekend trip as it is a day trip. Four different trails give you completely different experiences. Cedar Creek Trail takes you through tidal marsh, the Neusiok Trail is the coast's longest backpacking trail, Island Creek Forest Walk takes you through untouched coastal forest, and Patsy Pond gives you serenity and beautiful pines.
8. Moore's Cove Falls
Once you reach the popular Looking Glass Falls, take a moment to marvel at the beauty then keep hiking! Just past the popular fall, you'll find this beautiful little gem called Moore's Cove Falls. The best part is you can stand behind the fall beneath the rocks and keep perfectly dry while capturing some beautiful pictures and moments!
9. Jomeokee Trail, Pilot Mountain
Pilot Mountain is an extremely popular destination, but many don't take full advantage of the trails offered. A personal favorite is the Jomeokee Trail. It gives you a view of spectacular rock formations as well as cozy little nooks to stop, rest and even read a book!
10. Hawksbill Mountain
While Wiseman's is the usual choice for checking out Linville Gorge, a simple day hike up Hawksbill Mountain gives you this incredible view pictured above...plus peace and quiet! You won't be clamoring to get a picture of the gorge from here.
11. Roaring Fork Falls
The Pisgah National Forest has plenty of well-known waterfalls, but a secret one to check out is Roaring Fork. With a quick hike, you'll reach this peaceful destination and be rewarded with the beautiful sight of rushing water flowing down the mountainside.
12. Hammocks Beach State Park
To really get away from everything, take the ferry or kayak over to Hammocks Beach. If you wish to stay the night, you'll have to pitch a tent (sounds fun). This state park is so peaceful and remote you'll forget about reality until you're back on the ferry home.
What are your favorite secret spots to getaway from it all? Do you want to know more secret spots in North Carolina? Tell us in the comments!