While those old song lyrics say, ‘don’t go chasing waterfalls,’ in North Carolina, it’s best to ignore this bit of advice and DO go chasing waterfalls. The state has no shortage of waterfalls and amazing hikes to go along with them, ranging from falls that reach hundreds of feet to mild and temperate cascades with gentle swimming holes. Enjoy the gorgeous sites on some of the best hiking trails in North Carolina with waterfalls!

What awesome hikes to take in North Carolina! Which ones will you try first? Have you done any before?

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Best Hikes in North Carolina

How many state parks are in North Carolina?

The North Carolina State Parks system includes:

  • 34 parks
  • Four recreation areas
  • Three staffed natural areas


There are plenty of different types of parks, from easy trails to the most challenging hikes, and amazing water features that offer some gorgeous photo opportunities for you and your group to memorialize your trip. You can't go wrong with a visit to any of these fantastic parks. Whether you’re hoping for a mountain adventure or a waterfront sunset, there is surely a state park in North Carolina that you’ll love.

Can I camp right on the water in North Carolina?

Yes, you can absolutely camp right on the water in North Carolina! While there are several options, one of the most popular is Rodanthe Watersports and Campground. Some details on this campground:

  • It is right on the Pamlico Sound
  • Rodanthe features swimming, kayaking, windsurfing, surfing, paddleboarding, and, of course, the option of just enjoying the beach and watching the beautiful sunsets!
  • You can camp in an RV or a tent.
  • The location is within walking distance of restaurants and shopping.


What are the most beautiful lakes in North Carolina?

There are certainly some beautiful lakes in North Carolina. Two that are worth highlighting are:

  • Lake Norman, which may be man-made, but that doesn’t besmirch its beauty one bit! This lake was created in 1964 and has opportunities for bird watching and fishing, and even features two yacht clubs.
  • Lake Wylie, which spills over into South Carolina as well. Boating is a favorite pastime on this lake, with two boat access points open to the public and several lakeside communities to visit on your peaceful boat ride. If you're hoping to rent, you can rent pontoon boats and enjoy the views. There are 325 miles of shoreline to see!

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