The greenery is the first thing you notice when you visit North Carolina. It's everywhere. Thus, even in the height of the summer heat, one can always escape and sojourn through the trees, while following trails that meander around the state's mountains, lake and rolling hills. North Carolina is a haven for for walkers, hikers, joggers and cyclists who enjoy a touch of culture with their outdoor activities. Unlike many other southern states, North Carolina does get snow in the winter. In fact, it even has a few ski areas.
Lake Lynn, Raleigh
Raleigh, North Carolina, is often called "The Smithsonian of the South," due to its abundance of museums. However, despite the number of museums, schools, cultural institutions and high-tech corporations in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle, many parts of the city feel less urban and more rural. For example, consider Lake Lynn, which is in North Raleigh. The two-mile trail is surrounded by pet-friendly residential communities, making it a dog-walkers paradise. The four-legged creatures coexist in perfect harmony with the ducks, geese and turtles that inhabit the lake. Fishing is permitted, but you will need to purchase a non-resident license.
Asheville is a North Carolina mountain community that is rich in arts and culture. It's also a superb hiking destination. You can add a different element to your hiking experience by participating in a geocaching adventure. Geocaching is described as a high-tech treasure hunt, which uses a GPS for navigation. The idea is to follow clues in search for caches, which are small boxes containing a pen, a log book and some sort of small trinket. While there are many caches in Asheville, Midnight Moss is one of the most interesting. It is performed at night, by following reflective trail markers through a field of moss. and rocks that glow in the dark. if you're trying to find the location of Midnight Moss and Asheville geocaches online, don't waste your time. Finding it on your own is a major part of the process. First, go to www.geocaching.com. You will need to register, but registration is free. Then, enter the Asheville ZIP code, which is 28801. Click on "search for caches" and you will see a list of caches, their coordinates and hints regarding the location.
Sugar Mountain is North Carolina's largest ski area. However, for those who don't want to give up their winter walking workouts, Sugar Mountain is one of the few North Carolina resorts that offer snowshoeing. You can opt for a guided tour, or you can explore the trails on your own. The area has an abundance of on-mountain lodging venues, which include condos and hotels.
Sugar Mountain Ski Resort
1009 Sugar Mountain Drive
Sugar Mountain, North Carolina 28604
Hiking the Outer Banks
The Outer Banks area of North Carolina was romanticized by author Anne River Siddons, who wrote the novel which bears the name of this region. While some people may fall in love with another person in the Outer Banks, it's easy to fall in love with the region itself. Avid hikers will enjoy meandering through the Nags Head Woods, a preserve boasting over 1,000 acres of maritime forestland. Exploring Nags Head is an exercise in serendipity. You never know when you might across a hidden pond, or one of many of the 50 bird species, which include the ruby-throated hummingbird and the red-shouldered hawk.