Favorite Outdoor Places in North Carolina

Dix Park

North Carolina is certainly endowed with amazing natural beauty and endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. With countless parks, national forests, city greenways, beautiful beaches, and scenic mountains, outdoor fun in North Carolina has helped make physical distancing and COVID-19 restrictions a little more tolerable.

Now that the weather is warming up, we asked some of our NC State colleagues to share with us their favorite outdoor spots in North Carolina and why they enjoy visiting them. Here are some of the many responses we received.


Falls LakeBeaver Dam Access – Falls Lake

Julie Ricker
Classification and Compensation

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
Beautiful lake with no motorized boats so swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddle boarding are possible without wake. They also have clean restrooms, a nice beach, and a boat launch space.

Carolina BeachCarolina/Wrightsville Beach

Sarah Stokely
Academic Success Center

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
I love day trips or weekend trips to the beach. Carolina and Wrightsville are some of my favorites because of how close they are. Also, walking in downtown Wilmington is beautiful! So many great shops and restaurants -including the original Port City Java!

Mountains to Sea TrailThe Mountains to Sea Trail

Meredith Henry
Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
1200 miles of diverse, wonderful and unexpected areas to view and hike!

Shelly LakeShelly Lake

Megan Pulliam
Office of International Services

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
I love taking leisurely walks around the lake and enjoying the natural scenery.

 

Lake WheelerLake Wheeler

Elizabeth McKoy Pace
Employee Relations

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
They have many playgrounds and trees, plus easy access to the lake, exercise equipment, picnic areas, and rocking chairs on the deck.

American TobaccoAmerican Tobacco, Downtown Durham

April Jones
Office of Information Technology

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
What I love most about Downtown Durham’s entertainment district is that it allows you to experience a little of everything i.e., skating, minor league baseball, outdoor concerts, festivals and great restaurants. But my favorite outdoor place is the Lucky Strike Water Tower. What a beautiful place to stroll, sit and relax, listen to music, take pictures and watch the colorful waterfall at night. It’s very peaceful and a fun place to just hang out. It’s also one of my favorite places to bring family when they come to town.

Goose Creek State ParkGoose Creek State Park

Adrienne Tucker
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences – International Programs

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
Quiet state park with an unexpected sandy beach along the Pamlico River along with some hiking trails.

Raven Rock State ParkRaven Rock State Park

Beth Buck
Division of Academic and Student Affairs – HR

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
Raven Rock State Park is an easy drive to Harnett county and is a hilly and beautiful place to hike along the Cape Fear River. I’ve been going there since I was a kid and now I take my own family there. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday, just pack a lunch and go!

Umstead State ParkWilliam B. Umstead State Park

Will Leggett
Onboarding Center

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
It’s always beautiful and serene on the hiking trails, even when they’re busy. Almost feels like hiking the mountains.

White Oak RiverWhite Oak River in Stella, NC

Joe Reigher
Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC)

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
I’ve enjoyed years of great fishing there with my son.

Eno River

Madelyn and Connor O’Brien

Eno River in Durham, NC

Monica O’Brien
Procurement & Business Services

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
Lots of fun things for the kids to do like fishing and enjoying the hiking trails. Great place to spend a summer day. Don’t forget your water shoes – wading in the river is a must on a hot day and it has a pretty rocky bottom.

Bass Lake

Andrew Hubbard

Bass Lake

Allison Hubbard
College of Sciences – HR

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
The trail around Bass Lake is 2 miles which is just enough without being too much for my kids to walk and hike. It’s a wide, easy trail. The lake is fun for canoe rentals and to explore with my family, or even just peaceful alone time.

Mount PisgahMount Pisgah

Ryan Hancock
Urban Affairs & Community Services

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
Mount Pisgah Trail is a walkable, two-mile hike, which brings you to the summit of the namesake mountain at 5,722 feet. On a clear day you are afforded amazing views across western North Carolina. Early morning hikes will present you with a view of an amazing meteorological phenomena, with a sea of clouds beneath your feet. In warmer months, wildflowers abound, and in the spring, wild laurel and rhododendrons decorate the landscape with beautiful flowers.

Jordan LakeJordan Lake

Solitaire Davis
Division of Academic and Student Affairs  – HR

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
Jordan Lake is just beautiful. I love being out in the open air, gazing at the water. My family and I love to go there especially during the summer for a cookout, walks around the lake and just spending time together.

Fred Fletcher Park

T’Challa and Shuri

Fred Fletcher Park

Chris Genwright
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
I love Fred Fletcher Park because it’s a huge outdoor space with plenty of trees and open areas. My dogs love taking strolls through the park and meeting other dogs. They have beautiful landscaping and it’s right next to downtown.

Pullen ParkPullen Park

Lori Powell
University Temporary Services

Why is this your favorite outdoor place to visit?
Great park for children. They have pedal boats and a carousel.