Spring break is on the horizon. For many of you, that means seconds, hours and days of school being out and the calendar remaining relatively empty. Vacation does not have to be an extensive financial endeavor, as North Carolina is home to many day trips for all adventurer palates.
Towering 2,000 feet over the rolling hills of the Piedmont region, Pilot Mountain is an oasis for hikers, animal lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. Offering miles of hiking trails, climbing opportunities and campgrounds, spend a day, or even a night, on the mountain. Test your strength and balance by challenging the cliffs to a session of rock climbing or rappelling. Paddle the Yadkin River on the Yadkin River Canoe Trail, cycle through the main park road or fish the afternoon away for smallmouth bass, spotted bass and catfish.
Once you reach the top, simply enjoy the expansive views of the Piedmont, Sauratown Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains. Pack a picnic or enjoy a cold beer at one of Winston-Salem’s idyllic breweries, just a quick drive from the mountain.
Throughout the year, Pilot Mountain State Park offers a series of educational and captivating demonstrations, events and programs. Enjoy the park far past spring break!
Nestled on the scenic coast of North Carolina lies one of the state’s most quaint destinations. As beautiful as the coast is, Southport has more to offer than glimmering waters, sandy shorelines and salty breezes. You’ll want to immerse yourself in the local history, a rich one dating back to the mid-1700s. Explore the local legends on a day tour or visit the Fort Johnston Museum & Visitors Center. If history is your forte, schedule a stop at the Old Brunswick County Jail or the NC Maritime Museum.
Downtown Southport is a top destination for both locals and visitors. With views of the Cape Fear River on the horizon, stroll the Southport Pier and Riverwalk. If you are not walking until you drop, you can shop until you drop at one of the many local antique shops. Galleries, boutiques and traditional antique stores are open to shoppers open to the thrill of the hunt.
For the movie buffs, visit the same paths that led Julianne Hough to Josh Duhamel in Nicholas Sparks’ “Safe Haven.” Maybe you’ll recall some of the local scenes from “A Walk to Remember.” Hey, there’s a reason these were filmed here! Beauty speaks for itself.
A bit off the beaten path, Floyd, Virgina has a definitive charm of its own. Located in the Blue Ridge province of the southwestern corner of Virginia, nature is nestled in the many small mountains, streams and valleys. Throughout 40 miles of Floyd County, experience the renowned Blue Ridge Parkway, including popular visitor spots such as Rocky Knob, Smart View Recreational Areas, Rock Castle Gorge National Recreation Area and Mabry Hill, which is the most photographed site on the parkway.
Home to many award-winning beers and ciders, schedule a stop at 5 Mile Mountain Distillery, Buffalo Mountain Brewing Company, Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant or Foggy Ridge Cider, just to name a few. And, if some of the members of your traveling party are not of age to enjoy these spirits, you have a rather delectable option on the table!
Cocoa Mia is a family-owned chocolate company selling hand-crafted chocolate confections, baked goods, coffee and chocolate beverages. Sip and savor chocolates made locally!
Uwharrie National Forest
Welcome to the beautifully majestic Uwharrie National Forest! Nearly 51,000 acres of camping, trails, fishing and wildlife are at your fingertips to begin exploring. Onsite, additional activities include bicycling, fishing, hiking, horse riding, water activities and picnicking. Because who doesn’t love a picnic with a scenic backdrop?
Well-marked and well-maintained trails are ideal for hikers interested in both challenging and less strenuous courses. 25 different trails are available for horseback riding use, 60 miles of mountain biking trails and 17 miles of dirt biking. There is a trail for you!
While it may be located right in Chatham County’s backyard, Asheboro may be a destination you have not yet considered visiting. Home of the renowned North Carolina Zoo, viewing wildlife is only one of the many attractions you should add to your itinerary! Maybe you’d like to see one the world’s largest collections of Harley Davidson motorcycles at the American Classic Motorcycle Museum or see a show at the Historic Sunset Theatre.
Is that fried chicken I smell? One of America’s top-rated fried chicken restaurants, Magnolia 23, has a table for you. For those of you with a sweet tooth, Central Bakery has been serving up tasty treats for nearly 70 years.
On Sunset Avenue, peruse the Randolph Arts Guild Gift Shop, Brightside Gallery or Collector’s Antique Mall, which is home to 30,000 square feet of collectables!
Wherever you land this spring, you’ll be glad to have traveled, shopped and explored local!