Outdoors

8 Carolina Adventures That Will Make You Want to #OptOutside

From rugged mountain peaks and lush forests to pristine beaches and cityscapes, the Carolinas offer plenty of opportunities to get active. Take advantage of the diversity of the terrain via one of these eight outdoor adventures. If you’re driving, you may even be able to combine a few experiences in one trip.

NORTH CAROLINA

Strike a Pose in Chapel Hill

The Triangle might be known for its universities and research parks but it’s also home to Jordan Lake where adventurous yogis can take their practice to the next level during stand up paddle boarding (SUP) yoga classes through LYF SUP. The popular classes test your balance by doing poses like downward dog while floating on the water.

Ride into the Sunset in Asheville

The storied Biltmore Estate is an equestrian’s dream. More than 80 miles of trails wind through estate grounds. The onsite stables offer guided trail rides through woodlands and across open pastures with phenomenal views of the largest home in the U.S. For an even more memorable experience, book a private trail ride with a picnic lunch.

outdoor activities in north carolina
Get wet and wild in the Carolinas. (Photo: U.S. National Whitewater Center)

Catch the Rapids in Charlotte

Passengers paddle to navigate the whitecaps while rafts careen down class II to IV rapids at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, home of the largest man-made whitewater river in the world. The rapids can be adjusted for families and experienced rafters. Sign up for rodeo rafting for a real “wet and wild” adventure.

Golf an Arnold Palmer Course in Raleigh

Just 20 minutes from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the Lonnie Poole Golf Course is a local favorite. Enjoy Raleigh skyline views on the Arnold Palmer-designed course, situated on North Carolina State University’s campus. The Audubon-certified links—which facilitate turf grass and storm water research for NC State—offer a challenge to seasoned pros and leisure players alike.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Dive into History in Myrtle Beach

Several ships lie on the ocean floor off the coast of Myrtle Beach. Dive shops can arrange tours to explore the underwater graves of vessels like The Sherman, a 200-foot blockade-runner that engaged in battle during the Civil War or the JELL II, a cargo ship once used to run drugs. The shipwrecks also serve as artificial reefs that attract abundant marine life.

outdoor activities in north carolina
Hit the bike trails hard. (Photo: Getty Images)

Explore on 2 Wheels in Greenville

Rent a bike and ride along the popular 21-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail, stopping for a picnic on the banks of the Reedy River. Or pedal through picturesque downtown Greenville, checking out the art galleries, boutiques and restaurants that helped the Southern city earn accolades from Forbes as one of America’s Best Downtowns.

Surf’s Up in Hilton Head

Hang ten off the coast of Hilton Head Island. Surf schools teach the basics of paddling into a wave, balancing on the board and riding to shore—offering a mix of land-based lessons and practice time in the ocean. Experienced surfers can rent equipment from one of many outfitters on the island.

Hit the Trail in Greensboro

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore some of the hiking trails winding across Greensboro. The city boasts 42 miles of trails, including the West House Trail, a one-mile trail that ends at an historic home called the West House built between 1815 and 1820 featuring rare Flemish Bond brickwork.