As the weather is (finally) beginning to change, the warm air and sunshine means more time you’ll finally be able to spend outdoors. After being cooped up in your dorm or apartment throughout the ice storms and cold winter, I’m sure your ready to spend your afternoons outside and your weekends (probably) day drinking. What better way to spend an afternoon after class then going for a hike with a few friends? Even better, why not escape the studying and school atmosphere for a day or weekend and explore some of the top getaways and hiking trails North Carolina has to offer.
Top 4 Places to Hike
Hanging Rock State Park – Danbury, NC
It’s a bit of a drive from Elon’s campus, but the drive is definitely worth it. Hanging Rock State Park offers numerous trails through the quite forest or around one of the five cascading waterfalls. Pack a sandwich and have a picnic at one of the many picnic areas, or campgrounds, the State Park has to offer.
Grandfather Mountain State Park – Linville, NC
You’ll probably need to spend the weekend here, but the scenic drive on Blue Ridge Parkway will make the drive pass by. With almost 2,500 miles of land owned by the State Park, you can enjoy backcountry hiking, nature walks, or guided hiking tours around Grandfather Mountain- all of which are free of charge. Grandfather Mountain offers 11 trails that range from a mellow walk in the woods to a difficult hike over rugged peaks for any level of hiker.
Falls Lake State Park – Wake Forest, NC
If you’re looking for a day of relaxation, head over to Falls Lake where you can hike, bike, fish, swim and more. Explore the Mountains-to-Sea trail to have a day full of adventure with a mix of hiking and swimming. Several of the Falls Lake hiking trails lies within the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission gamelands, which means hunting is legal. I suggest avoiding Falls Lake during hunting season and exploring another one of North Carolina’s amazing places to hike.
Chimney Rock State Park – Chimney Rock, NC
With a 400-plus foot waterfall, nothing can beat Chimney Rock’s scenery. The park offers five unique hiking trails where hikers can see a variety of native wildlife and extraordinary geological formations. If you’re feeling really adventurous, follow the Skyline trail to Exclamation Point, the Park’s highest point at 2,480 feet.
Best Weekend Getaways
Charlotte – The Queen City
Head two hours southwest of Elon and you’ll find yourself just north of the South Carolina border in “The Queen City.” Spend one afternoon at the US National Whitewater Rafting Center, where you can hike and rock climb in addition to whitewater rafting. If you want a relaxing weekend fishing, or enjoying water sports such as jet skiing and waterskiing, head just north of Charlotte to Lake Norman. Rent a boat for the weekend and I guarantee you’ll never want to leave.
If you’re in need of a getaway, grab a few friends and take the weekend to pamper yourself at the Spa at Pinehurst Resort. Offering over 50 therapies, from massages to facials and body treatments, enjoy the rejuvenating atmosphere at the Pinehurst Resort. There is even a Tranquility Area, with whirlpools and a lap pool for guests to spend a few hours by.
The Outer Banks
Take a trip to the amazing coasts of North Carolina. From Corolla, Kitty Hawk, and Nags Head, all the way south to Ocracoke, the Outer Banks offers relaxing beaches you can escape to for a weekend. Soak up the sun and enjoy the waves as the weather continues to warm up.
Enjoy your picturesque hikes & relaxing getaways all across North Carolina this spring!