North Carolina December 04, 2017
You Can’t Afford To Miss These 11 Free Outdoor Activities In North Carolina
Having fun doesn’t have to cost a lot of money — especially when it comes to having fun outside, because in North Carolina there’s no shortage of activities that will get you outdoors without costing a dime. Here are 11 of our favorites:
1. Sliding Rock
Mother Nature created her own playground with Sliding Rock Falls in the Pisgah National Forest. Over the years the fall's rocks have been smoothed down by the mountain water making it the ultimate slip and slide, which provides an entire day of family-friendly fun at no cost.
Address: Highway 276, Pisgah Forest
2. Sarah P. Duke Botanical Gardens
Meander through 55 acres of stunningly vibrant flowers at the Sarah P. Duke Botanical Gardens. You'll also find several charming gazebos and sculptures throughout the park, which is open 365 days a year. Most people suggest giving yourself between one to two hours to walk the property.
Address: 420 Anderson St., Durham
3. Wiseman's Overlook
© A. Trainum
Hike or drive up to Wiseman's Overlook to take in incredible sights of some of Western North Carolina's most popular peaks. You'll spy Hawk's Bill, Table Rock and the Linville Gorge all from one of the three stone perches.
Address: Blue Ridge Parkway, Mile Marker 316 Linville Falls
4. Mount Mitchell
Earn bragging rights by climbing the highest peak east of the Mississippi at Mount Mitchell. The feat will take you up 6,684 ft. in elevation and reward you with breathtaking views. You'll be able to see for miles from the peak's observation deck.
Address: 2388 NC-128, Burnsville
5. Blue Ridge Parkway
Take a slow drive on what's been named America's most beautiful drive. Enjoy the stunning mountain views and scenic overlooks along the parkway. While fall is the ultimate time to visit the parkway because of the fall foliage, it's beautiful year-round.
Address: 3884 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Asheville
6. River Jam
Bring the whole family and enjoy a night outdoors listening to live music at the U.S. National Whitewater Center's weekly River Jam. Check the USNWC site for a list of bands performing and dates.
Address: 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., Charlotte
7. Kindred Spirit Mail Box
Take a stroll on Bird Island and Indulge in a Carolina tradition by visiting the Kindred Spirit Mailbox. For years locals and visitors alike have stopped by the mysterious mailbox to leave notes of well wishes, dreams and secrets.
Address: 40th St., Sunset Beach
8. Eno River State Park
Visit Eno State Park for a day full of hiking on almost 30 miles of trails that range from easy to moderate. On your hike the trails will take you past the remains of historic grist mills and homesites. Then test your nerves on the park's suspended foot bridge that swings above the river below.
Address: 6101 Cole Mill Rd., Durham
9. Crowder's Mountain
Combine exercise and beautiful scenery on the Crowder's Mountain State Park trails. While there are several different trails to choose from, they all lead to the top where you'll be able to see for nearly 25 miles! You'll even find Charlotte's skyline off in the distance.
Address: 522 Park Office Ln., Kings Mountain
10. Dark Sky Park
Experience the night sky the way Mother Nature intended at the Mayland Dark Sky Park — it's been designed to filter out any unnatural light that may ruin a perfect view of the evening stars. There is no admission to the park.
Address: 66 Energy Exchange Dr., Burnsville
11. Off-Road OBX
See Nags Head and Killl Devil Hills like never before by going off-roading on the beach. We suggest packing a picnic and enjoying it while you're out there.
What’s your favorite free activity in North Carolina?
Want more excuses to get outdoors? Find 11 of the greatest hiking trails in NC