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Parks and nature in North Carolina

Top parks

Park
“Welcome to Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta's favorite theme park! From attractions to campgrounds to shows, we've got fun for everyone.”
  • 217 locals recommend
National Park
“Venture away from the cabin and into the national park to take full advantage of the fresh mountain air, scenery, streams and hikes. ”
  • 166 locals recommend
Aquarium
“Family friendly, educational, and fun! Plus if you visit the aquarium you get three adventures in one since the aquarium is connected to the fort fisher historic nature walk, and a beach to play. ”
  • 123 locals recommend
Art Museum
“The North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh serves the people of North Carolina and all visitors as a top destination for compelling encounters with art, inside and out. A stunning permanent collection, and high-profile traveling exhibitions come through here. The sculpture garden is vast and modern. If you are lucky enough to be here in summer, their summer music series is contemporary, bustling, and the setting is gorgeous. Bring a picnic. If you plan to imbibe, buy your alcohol there, they don’t let you haul it in. ”
  • 148 locals recommend
Rafting
“ Enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, deep water solo, rock climbing, ziplines, ropes courses, and mountain biking on 50+ mile trail system. River jam live music festivals and beer gardens during summer months. A great time to be had just a short 25min drive south.”
  • 172 locals recommend
Park
“Waterfalls galore on easy to hike trails. This hike has the most bang for the buck!!”
  • 216 locals recommend
Park
“Something that doesn't cost any money. Play soccer, volleyball, cycling, picnic, jog, walk or throw the baseball, football or frisbee. ”
  • 84 locals recommend
National Park
“This valley was home to numerous settlers before the formation of the national park. Venture along the loop route, and check out the wildlife & preserved homesteads.”
  • 116 locals recommend

Playgrounds

Park
“Founded in 1887 Pullen Park is the first public park in North Carolina, 5th oldest operating amusement park in the U.S. and 16th oldest in the world. Rent a pedalboat or ride the historic carousel. Playground for kids. ”
  • 38 locals recommend
Park
“Take in the view of the city and the mountains from the top of the Sunsphere! It’s a free trip up the elevator. There are walking trails, a playground, and a short walk to restaurants on UT campus. ”
  • 21 locals recommend
Park
“Super cute park, if you want to go for a walk, this is probably the most well known park in the area. There is a playground, a dog park, basketball hoops, and more!”
  • 18 locals recommend
Park
“Tanglewood Park is a recreation center and park in Clemmons, Forsyth County, North Carolina, USA. It is located on the Yadkin River between Clemmons and Bermuda Run. It is home to the annual "Tanglewood Festival of Lights," a display of lights in the wintertime celebrating the holidays. It's great for trailrun. ”
  • 16 locals recommend
Park
“Beautiful at Christmastime and all year. Nice playground and lovely fountain ”
  • 7 locals recommend
Park
“The boardwalk runs along the Sound and behind several Duck shops & restaurants. Great walking, birding and sunsets! Lots of tourists in the Summer months, but the shops & restaurants will be open. Go any time during the rest of the year & you'll have it mainly to yourself (though many of the shops will likely be closed)”
  • 12 locals recommend
Park
“in downtown Columbia at Finlay Park. Have lunch in the shade near the vast man-made lake or the park's fountain, where waters spill into a mountainside stream that rushes downhill into the lake below. The grassy lawns buzz with activity during summer festivals and music events, but you'll find enough room to spread out in the park's 18 acres. It's also one of the largest fully accessible parks in the country. ”
  • 6 locals recommend
Playground
“Awesome playground for kids. Tons of creeks to splash in. Bring creek shoes and prepare to get wet!”
  • 9 locals recommend

Beaches

State / Provincial Park
“A fun, unique experience to see the visitor center and climb the highest sand dune on the east coast!”
  • 109 locals recommend
Park
“CB State Park is beautiful and has plenty of trails to play on. It also has a welcome center with a science education component. This park grants you access to the sound side of the ecosystem, which is gorgeous to walk next to. Dogs are welcome. ”
  • 66 locals recommend
Park
“Free! A beautiful old fort & beautiful trails. One short, one wooded, & one along the beach.”
  • 32 locals recommend
Park
“Climb to the top of the Jockeys Ridge sand dunes for amazing ocean views! This is a great spot for family photos. Jamie's family used to climb the dunes every year and the kids would roll back down. It's best to go in the evening when the sand is cooler. (If you have littles, be prepared to carry them - the dunes are taller than they look!) You can also take hang gliding lessons at Jockeys Ridge FUN FACT: If you're driving along HW 158 and see what looks like the top of a castle covered by sand peaking out of part of the sand dunes, you're not going crazy. It's an old mini golf corse that the dunes reclaimed!”
  • 20 locals recommend
Beach
“Only accessible by boat or ferry. Wild Spanish Mustangs inhabit the island. Great trails that take you from sound side to the ocean!”
  • 23 locals recommend
Beach
“Just a few miles over the Oregon Inlet bridge is the prettiest stretch of wild beach in the area. You can park at the visitor center and walk the wildlife trail and the beach. Or if you really want to be on your own, there are some places you can park on the side of the road and walk over the dunes. Just be careful to not get stuck in the sand!”
  • 13 locals recommend
Beach
“Great paddle board and kayak rentals. There is so much to explore by water in our area.”
  • 13 locals recommend
Beach
“This refuge was created and is managed to benefit migratory waterfowl along the Atlantic flyway. Guided bird walks and beach activities are the main activities here. Very nice visitor center with viewing scopes inside and helpful, friendly, knowledgable staff. Winter birding at its best! www.fws.gov/refuge/alligator_river/”
  • 6 locals recommend

Trails

Park
“Welcome to Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta's favorite theme park! From attractions to campgrounds to shows, we've got fun for everyone.”
  • 217 locals recommend
Rafting
“ Enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, deep water solo, rock climbing, ziplines, ropes courses, and mountain biking on 50+ mile trail system. River jam live music festivals and beer gardens during summer months. A great time to be had just a short 25min drive south.”
  • 172 locals recommend
Park
“Waterfalls galore on easy to hike trails. This hike has the most bang for the buck!!”
  • 216 locals recommend
Park
“Something that doesn't cost any money. Play soccer, volleyball, cycling, picnic, jog, walk or throw the baseball, football or frisbee. ”
  • 84 locals recommend
Garden
“Do you love nature but aren't huge on hiking? The Arboretum will sum it up perfectly! And in the spring/summer it's just so beautiful. They even have a succulent/bonzai tree feature that's incredibly fun.”
  • 176 locals recommend
Trail
“For those who love being outside. You don’t have to drive far to get here. Our own urban wilderness with tons of trails and incredible hikes ”
  • 88 locals recommend
Park
“If you are in the mood for a beautiful hike on the edges of the Eno river this is the place for you.”
  • 61 locals recommend
Park
“There are several restaurants that you can visit in downtown Chimney Rock. There is also a little lake that you can walk around and Lake Lure has a swimming area that is open in the summer. Chimney Rock is a state park where families can choose to hike up or take an elevator to the top. If you have small children, I would strap them in something as the height made me nervous with mine but otherwise we highly recommend!”
  • 67 locals recommend
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