Got some time over the weekend for some travel and recreation. If you're in North Carolina, you're in luck. North Carolina offers a wealth of different terrains, ecosystems and activities for the outdoor enthusiast. So whether your taste runs to paddling, pedaling or hiking, there's something to match almost anyone's taste. Here are three suggestions on ways to spend a satisfying outdoors weekend in North Carolina.
Paddle the Outer Banks
The sheltered waters of Albermarle Sound, behind the barrier islands of the Outer Banks, present kayaking opportunities and challenges for novice to expert paddlers.
For the novice, check out the many kayak touring companies located on the northern end of the Outer Banks. Outfitters in Duck, Kitty Hawk and Nags Head provide a variety of guided tours suitable for those getting started--boat and instruction included.
More seasoned travelers can range up and down the coast, exploring the many secluded inlets of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, away from the crowds at the tourist beaches to the north. Pea Island National Wildlife Sanctuary and the waters around Ocracoke are particular favorites.
Take a Hike in the Smokies
Whatever time of year you visit, the mountains of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provide challenging trails, unspoiled natural beauty and opportunities to get away from it all.
If you've got a few days, drop in on a section of the Appalachian Trail, which travels the length of the park, or explore other backcountry trails, taking in the sights as you traverse peaks and stride through old-growth forest.
Bicycle the Blue Ridge
Well over 200 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway traverse the mountains of western North Carolina. It's a mecca for cyclists, who treasure the scenic views and the quad-killing climbs they have to make to get to the tops.
Pick a section and take a day or two to explore on your favorite bike--it's road bike heaven, one of the most scenic rides in the world, with minimal traffic and an excellent road surface.