With temperatures rising in North Carolina, I have one thing on my mind: new adventures! Between lazy beach days, Blue Ridge hiking, and even a little fun in-between, North Carolina has plenty to offer in terms of making your summer jam-packed with fun activities. Yet, these 15 below you’ll want to add to your ‘must-do’ list!
1. Stand in awe at Jockey's Ridge.
Assuming you'll already be at the beach - if you're there you must go visit the tallest active sand dune on the East Coast. It's mesmerizing to stare at but also fun for adventurous activities like hang gliding.
2. Take a cool dip at Hooker Falls.
Hooker Falls is the perfect place to take a dip on a hot summer day. Located in the DuPont State Forest, it's a perfect pit stop between hikes and exploring other, gorgeous falls.
3. Hike and swim at Skinny Dip Falls.
With a short, yet challenging hike you'll access the gorgeous Skinny Dip Falls. The falls have jump off rocks for the daring and a pool perfect for floating around or just taking it all in.
4. Ride the wave at Cape Hatteras.
Cape Hatteras offers beautiful beach views and a challenging surf for those who love to catch a wave. If you're visiting this beach, make sure to take your truck or four wheel drive so you can drive along the beach and find a perfect, secret spot for sunbathing or swimming.
5. Take a lighthouse tour.
With ten beautiful lighthouses to visit, why not make a whole road trip out of the experience? Follow my handy guide
6. Visiting a beautiful vineyard or winery along Yadkin Valley.
Yadkin Valley is the wine-making center of North Carolina. With accommodations right near the vineyard, you won't have to worry too much about how you're getting home. Vineyards like Shelton also have fabulous restaurants on the property. There are seven wineries located along the Yadkin Valley. You can't beat the views or the buzz!
7. Catch the rhododendron blooms at Craggy Gardens.
Come late May and early June, the rhododendron blooms at Craggy Gardens are out of this world! The trail is like a fairytale and the summit is breathtaking! A perfect day trip for those seeking something different off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
8. Get a Carribean experience at Emerald Isle.
They don't call it the Crystal Coast for no reason. Here, you'll find beautiful turquoise water, great beaches, and a nice surf for catching waves!
9. Feel like royalty at Biltmore Gardens.
Visiting the Biltmore Estate is a given, but for spring-summer you HAVE to take a stroll through the gorgeous gardens. The design, plant life, and views are fit for royalty.
10. Sunbathe at Elk Falls.
Elk Falls is another perfect waterfall that doubles as a swimming hole. Daredevils will find themselves wanting to jump off the rocky cliff. For the more mellow types, the fall has a small beach perfect for easing your way into the cold mountain water or even sunbathing.
11. Go tubing or rafting along the French Broad River.
The French Broad River has beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. But what a way to experience those views by riding with the current!
12. Experience a floating slice of history at the USS North Carolina.
The USS North Carolina received 15 battle stars during her service. On your summer beach trip, this is a perfect day trip for history buffs and little ones!
13. Catch a glimpse of the Corolla Wild Ponies
On Corolla and the OBX you can witness wild horses (or ponies) roaming the beach. They're the descendants of Spanish Mustangs left on the beach by explorers. A truly magical, once in a lifetime experience!
14. Get a rush of adrenaline at Sliding Rock.
Perfect for the little ones and families, Sliding Rock is a natural rockslide which gives you a dose of adrenaline and a fun way to cool off in (very) cool mountain water.
15. Catch a sunset from the highest point East of the Mississippi.
You can't beat a sunset at the top of Mt. Mitchell. The views are like no other and it's the perfect way to end a long, adventurous summer day.
On the grand scale of North Carolina, these are just a handful of activities to fill your summer full of fun and adventure! These 15 are essential experiences, but I know there are so many more. What would you add to the list?