Summer is here and whether the kids are out of school and looking for summer fun or you’re planning a retreat for yourself, there are a lot of exciting adventures to be had in North Carolina on just a tankful of gas.

We’re spotlighting North Carolina hiking trails that make for a great day trip with the entire family. Here are six hiking havens in the Novant Health region to enjoy this summer.  

  • Grandfather Mountain offers 11 trails of all skill levels from easy strolls to rugged peaks. A key highlight: a hike that takes you to the area’s famous “mile-high” swinging bridge. Note there is a fee to visit this park.
  • Hanging Rock State Park has more than 20 miles of trails through forest and along streams, some of which lead to waterfalls.
  • Pisgah National Forest Looking Glass Rock trail is a 6.4 mile hike to the top of Looking Glass Rock, a massive granite outcropping named for the way the sun gives it a mirror-like shine.
  • Crowder’s Mountain State Park has more than 11 hiking trails ranging from leisurely walks to strenuous hikes with rock climbing and bouldering permitted in designated areas. 
  • Linville Falls-Erwin’s View is a 1.5 mile hike that takes you past three main overlooks giving you different views of the spectacular Linville Falls.
  • Carolina Beach State Park is one of the only places left on the planet where carnivorous plants grow and provides miles of hiking trails and camping areas.

 Not only is hiking a great way to enjoy the outdoors, it also provides many health benefits by being a powerful cardio workout that can lower your risk of heart disease and increase your core strength. 

It can also improve:

  • Cardiorespiratory fitness (heart, lungs and blood vessels)
  • Muscle strength
  • Bone density
  • Sleep quality
  • Weight control

A few additional safety reminders when enjoying the great outdoors.

Whether taking on the 7-mile hike up Grandfather Mountain or a relaxing trek through Linville Falls-Erwin’s View, hiking is a fun, healthy activity the whole family can enjoy this summer.