National Parks / Natural World in North Carolina with kids

The world has some incredible natural wonders, and luckily for you, The Tar Heel State has some incredible places to visit with kids right on your doorstep….and you won’t want to forget your camera!

The national and state parks in North Carolina offer an incredible variety of experiences for children.  Some parks protect a unique and diverse wilderness, teeming with wildlife which is always a thrill for kids!

Some parks protect incredible fascinating and significant historical sites, where the family can go back in time through American history…who says the learning as to stop on a family day out!

The state of North Carolina itself has smaller parks perfect for a quick trip into nature.  You don’t even need to leave the city to have that park experience - and kids LOVE them!

Shut those televisions off and put those computer games away….the great outdoors is calling and it’s calling YOU!

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  • Beech Mountain

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    Beech Mountain

    Come play a mile up! At 5,506 feet our town has many fun things to do! Come try out our free sledding hill, go ice skating, snow tubing, try skiing or snowboarding, or enjoy a delicious cup of hot ...

  • Chimney Rock Park

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    Chimney Rock

    This is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and spend time with family and friends. The Park, located 25 miles southeast of Asheville, North Carolina, offers the best of the mountains in one ...

  • Jockeys Ridge State Park

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    Nags Head

    There are many reasons why millions of people visit Jockey's Ridge State Park. Some come to see the tallest sand dune on the Atlantic coast; others come for the spectacular sunsets.

  • North Carolina Arboretum

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    Asheville

    One of the most beautiful natural settings in the United States - also offers a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. Stop by the Information Desk at the Baker Exhibit Center to pick up ...

  • Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

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    Seven Springs

    At the turn of the century visitors flocked to the area. They drank mineral water from local springs to cure their ills and they took riverboat excursions to the cliffs. Things have changed since ...

  • Dismal Swamp State Park

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    South Mills

    A historic and wild experience for the family at this lush swamp filled with wildlife, hiking trails, and kayaking. An incredibly North Carolina wonder!

  • Elk Knob State Park

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    Todd

    Elk Knob State Park is one of the newest additions to the North Carolina state parks system.

  • Eno River State Park

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    Durham

    Minutes from Durham, Hillsborough, and Chapel Hill the Eno River State Park offers secluded wilderness trails with the serenity of a clear river drifting and cascading over a rocky stream bed.

  • Falls Lake State Recreation Area

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    Wake Forest

    Hours of relaxation await you at Falls Lake State Recreation Area. Just moments away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Falls Lake is a great way to escape urban life.

  • Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

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    Kure Beach

    Enjoy a leisurely day at the ocean shore. Comb the beach for sea stars, keyhole urchins and whelk shells. Or, simply lie back on the sand and enjoy the aerial acrobatics of seagulls, terns and brown ...

  • Goose Creek State Park

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    Washington

    Giant, old oaks draped in Spanish moss welcome you to this special world where broad, lazy Goose Creek joins the Pamlico River.

  • Hammocks Beach State Park

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    Swansboro

    Venture to Bear Island and reward yourself with vivid memories of one of the most unspoiled beaches on the Atlantic coast. Accessible only by passenger ferry or private boat, there's just one thing ...

  • Hanging Rock State Park

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    Danbury

    Not far from the cities of the Triad area, off the four lane highways there's another North Carolina to be discovered sheer cliffs and peaks of bare rock, quiet forests and cascading waterfalls, ...

  • Jones Lake State Park

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    Elizabethtown

    Venture to Jones Lake State Park and view one of the greatest geological mysteries of the eastern United States the phenomenon of the Carolina bays.

  • Jordan Lake State Recreation Area

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    Apex

    Imagine relaxing in a cove, listening to the sounds of water rippling. Then, you feel a firm tug on your fishing line. It's going to be a big one! Picture the surface of the lake glistening, water ...

  • Kerr Lake State Recreation Area

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    Henderson

    Set a course for Kerr Lake State Recreation Area to enjoy sailing, fishing, water skiing and camping. This 50,000 acre, man-made lake is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and landlubbers alike. ...

  • Lake James State Park

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    Nebo

    Tucked away in rolling hills at the base of Linville Gorge is Lake James, a 6,510-acre lake with more than 150 miles of shoreline. This impressive waterway is the centerpiece of Lake James State ...

  • Lake Norman State Park

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    Troutman

    At Lake Norman State Park, fun is just a matter of scale. On one hand, there's the largest manmade lake in the state, Lake Norman.

  • Lake Waccamaw State Park

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    Lake Waccamaw

    The cool, tea-colored waters at first appear similar to other lakes in the area, but Lake Waccamaw is one of the most unique bodies of water in the world. You will find here species of animals found ...

  • Lumber River State Park

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    Orrum

    Lumber River State Park contains 8,438 acres of land and 115 miles of state natural and scenic waters, 81 miles of which are also designated national wild and scenic waters. The park's recreation ...

  • Medoc Mountain State Park

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    Hollister

    Should the humdrum of nine-to-five leave you with the urge to travel and explore, head to Medoc Mountain State Park. A pleasurable excursion awaits just a 1.5 hour drive from the Research Triangle.

  • Morrow Mountain State Park

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    Albemarle

    Enjoy the gifts of nature surrounded by the remnants of a once mighty range of peaks. Upon first encounter, the Uwharrie Mountains may seem like a mountainous mirage. These steep, rugged hills ...

  • Pettigrew State Park

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    Creswell

    With more than 1,300 acres of land around Lake Phelps and more than 3,000 acres along the Scuppernong River, with an additional 16,600 acres of water, Pettigrew State Park is an ideal blend of ...

  • Pilot Mountain State Park

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    Pinnacle

    Fun, from relaxation to exhilaration, is easy to find here. Treat yourself to a horseback ride through the woods or challenge the river from raft or canoe. A seven-mile woodland corridor joins two ...

  • Raven Rock State Park

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    Lillington

    Spend some time at Raven Rock State Park and let nature refresh your spirit. feeling you are likely to experience at Raven Rock is one of renewal. Here, the forest reigns as each year the timeless ...

  • Singletary Lake State Park

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    Kelly

    Bring your group to Singletary Lake State Park and enjoy group camping in a land of mysterious origins. A portion of the unique Carolina bay ecosystem found nowhere else in the world, Singletary Lake ...

  • South Mountains State Park

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    Connelly Springs

    Nestled deep in the woods, South Mountains State Park is the perfect place to enjoy nature. Here you can see a majestic mountain range peeking out from the gently rolling landscape of the piedmont.

  • Stone Mountain State Park

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    Roaring Gap

    Stone Mountain is not immediately visible upon entering the park that bears its name, but this magnificent 600-foot granite dome is well worth the wait.

  • William B Umstead State Park

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    Raleigh

    Tucked between the growing cities of Raleigh, Cary, Durham and the corporate world of Research Triangle Park is an oasis of tranquility, a peaceful haven William B. Umstead State Park.

  • Dan Nicholas Park

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    Salisbury

    Come for the wildlife park, stay for the aquarium, the mini golf, the boats, the petting barn, the gem mine - a beautiful park in North Carolina for the whole family!

  • Crowder District Park

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    Apex

    33 acres of park fun in North Carolina, with playgrounds, sports, walking trails and a pond! Great kids fun!

  • Boones Cave Park

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    Lexington

    Explore the cave and hiking trails spotting wildlife and flowers, visit a 170ft tall tree, plus fish, swim, canoe or kayak.

  • Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve

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    Charlotte

    Over 700 protected acres of nature and forest, with hiking trails, Reedy Creek Park, and a nature center with live animals and exhibits!

  • Tanglewood Park

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    Clemmons

    An amazing county park with a fishing lake, gardens, BMX race course, trails, riding stables, a golf course, and MORE!

  • JC Raulston Arboretum

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    Raleigh

    Beautiful gardens, butterflies, and landscape plants in this FREE entry arboretum in Raleigh!