The Best Places to Hike and Explore Nature in North Carolina

North Carolina is lucky because they have an abundance of nature, and it will take you a while to explore it all. Whether it's a family day with the kids or downtime with friends, hiking is spiritual and healthy for you. You can even take part in some of the activities offered near these spectacular places. Let's dive headfirst into the best places to explore some of the most breathtaking views in the state.

Grandfather Mountain, Linville

If you are afraid of heights, then you wouldn't like this activity. But if you aren't scared to walk across America's highest suspension footbridge. The bridge is 228 feet wide, and the chasm its build over is 80 feet deep. When you get there, your reward will be the most breathtaking view ever, and if you've been a good kid this year, you can enjoy any of the attractions on top of the mountain, such as Mildred's Grill, the Fudge Shop and the mountain garden.

Big Lake, Raleigh

If you prefer the ground and not the sky, then you can spend the day rowing in Big Lake, located in William B. Umstead State Park. The lake is the perfect place for a family day in the outdoors. Trees surround it, and it's away from civilization. You can rent either rowboats or canoes for less than $10 for two hours. The lake activities are open every year from April 1st to October 31st. If you get hungry, don’t worry, you don’t have to pack anything from home. You can visit the Raleigh Farmer’s Market or one of the breakfast restaurants.

Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Haywood County

Great Smokey Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the country. There are multiple places you can start your exploration from including:

  • Purchase Knob hiking trails
  • Cataloochee Valley
  • Black Balsam Knob

The park also offers a wide range of family activities. You can try fishing in Mountain Heritage Trout Waters, or if you feel the magical pull of the water, you can go for a swim in the Sunburst Swimming Hole's mountain water. If you are a fan of canoeing or paddleboarding, you can visit Lake Junaluska and enjoy the sport bathing in the clean mountain air.

Rainbow Falls, Gorge State Park

If swimming and hiking are your two favorite things in the world, then Rainbow Falls will give you an experience you will never forget. After you leave your car, you're a mile, and a half hike should take you to the wooden observation deck on the top, and if you're lucky, you can even spot a rainbow. Throughout the walk, you will be overwhelmed with picturesque views of Rainbow Falls and other small waterfalls. If you want to submerge yourself in the swimming hole, you will have to hike to Turtleback Falls. After you go home, you can brag to your friends how you jumped in a waterfall and had the time of your life,