Step Outside - North Carolina WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - North Carolina 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Wed, 22 May 2019 14:44:10 -0500 5 Awesome RV Campsites in North Carolina Camping in North Carolina is great for a nature getaway alone, with your significant other, or the whole family. To visit the beautiful sites of forest, mountains, hiking trails, and waterways, RV camping is a popular, affordable option. Load up the gear before making your way to these five awesome RV campsites in North Carolina. 

This campground boasts 86 campsites with access to Lake Tillery so campers of Norwood can fish and enjoy the water. Huge campsites offer Wi-Fi and cable accessibility, picnic tables, and a fire ring. RV sites are complete with full hookups with electricity, sewer and water. Both 30 and 50-amp sites are available. The bathrooms are clean, showers are hot, and laundry facilities are available. Enjoy access to the pool and bring the pets along for the ultimate camping experience! 

Spring Hill RV Park offers pull-through sites with hookups to electric—both 30 and 50-amp, as well as access to water, sewer, Wi-Fi and cable. Pet and family friendly, this spacious and convenient RV campsite is secluded for a peaceful experience in a nicely shaded, wooded area. Park yourself and camp in serenity. 

Simple Life Campground and Cabins of Robbinsville offers a variety of amenities for the best experience. Enjoy the amenities of clean bathhouses with hot showers, fire pits, grills and picnic tables. Affordable hookups and 24/7 check ins, set up camp minutes from Robbinsville shops and restaurants. Pet friendly for Fido, Simple Life Campground and Cabins is open for a comfortable, beautiful experience of camping in Robbinsville. 

Leave the hustle and bustle for the serene, basic roots of Smokey Mountain Meadows Campground in Bryson City. Available on the grounds are full hookup sites, access to hot showers, Wi-Fi, and laundry facilities. This campground is in the beautiful valley with plenty to do and take in. In the area, travel to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, or take on horseback riding, fishing, or hunting. This is a clean campsite with beautiful scenery, and friendly people. Catch a spot by the creek for the soothing sounds of the water to help you drift to sleep. 

Open from March until November, the Lake Powhatan Recreation Area is approximately 10 minutes from Asheville. The campground is clean, with friendly, accommodating staff and is a beautiful, quiet spot to retreat to. Full hookups are available, bathhouses with toilets and hot showers, and access to picnic tables and fire rings. An inexpensive getaway the whole family and pets will love, enjoy swimming at the beach and lake or walk the beautiful trails and breathe in the fresh air. 

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6 Best Ski Destinations for Families in North Carolina Winter activities are a-plenty in North Carolina! In fact, we even have several excellent opportunities to go skiing. Skiing is a wonderful activity the whole family can enjoy together. Grab your skis, boots, and poles, and get ready for an unforgettable winter getaway. Luscious snow, man or sky-made, is ready for your skis at these six best ski resorts and areas for families in North Carolina.

Ski the beautiful slopes among the 5,700 acres of the Sapphire Valley Ski Resort, the perfect family retreat. The resort has three slopes in total. The moderate ski slope available is a great option for children and skiing beginners. The Main Ski Hill is 1,600 feet-long and has a 200-foot vertical drop. The tube run is 500 feet, and every slope on the property has a lift. High South Rentals has incredible additional lodging options through their partnership with Sapphire Valley.

With over a dozen named trails and three lifts, the Beech Mountain Ski Resort is ready for skiers of every age and skill level. Book a hotel room, condominium, or cabin. Ski rentals, dining, and an ice skating rink are all on the property for guests to enjoy as well during their visit. The ski lifts include the double chair, quad chair, and magic carpet options, depending on the slope you choose. The staff members are amazing, and the lodge option at the resort is beautiful. The lodge offers breathtaking views of the slopes from 20 available rooms. The resort offers complimentary transportation during the main season for easy transport to and from the slopes. Once the family spends a day in the snow and skiing the slopes, warm up in the room with a private bathroom, warm beds, kitchen essentials, cable television and Wi-Fi.

Great day today. i just couldn’t be more thankful🌞

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The staff at Cataloochee is friendly and always willing to accommodate. Fun for the entire family, the slopes are great even for beginning skiers. There are 18 slopes and trails in total ranging from easy to difficult skill-wise. In the ski resort, 44 percent of the slopes and trails are for a beginner, making this a great location for a family. For those testing the ski ropes, tickets are available for purchase. For those skiers ready to hit the slopes several times this season, passes are available. 

The Appalachian Ski Mountain of Blowing Rock is a fun, affordable family experience. The staff members are amazing with assisting beginner skiers in a group and private lessons, all the lessons which are available on site. The ticket prices for skiing and the lifts are both the best around. The slopes are perfect for any beginner skier with great trails. High-quality skiing equipment is available for rental from skis and boots to poles.  

Gear up and ski in Western North Carolina at the Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. Fifteen runs in total, there are four easy, eight moderate, and three difficult trails. New to skiing and want to master the craft? Attend Snow Sports School! Snow Sports School provides skiers with private and group lessons to learn the basics of skiing. The Kids, Kids & More Kids option gives kids aged five and up private lessons with an experienced instructor. A fun trial and error skiing trip, or one to take lessons and learn the ropes, Wolf Ridge Ski Resort is a great way to get skis in the snow as a family this winter.

Sugar Mountain Resort is for all snow activities from skiing, tubing, and snowboarding to ice skating. On the slopes, choose from seven easier, 11 difficult, and several most difficult trails that require extra caution. Amazing childcare is also available for the little ones who cannot ski quite yet! With the Winter Value Package, save money on the trip for the entire family on lift tickets, renting equipment, and lodging. A gorgeous location to ski in the south, bring the entire family to learn to ski and continue to come to brush up on those skills for years to come! 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/6-best-ski-destinations-for-families-in-north-carolina http://stepoutside.org/article/6-best-ski-destinations-for-families-in-north-carolina Fri, 01 Mar 2019 00:00:00 -0600
9 Best Ski and Snowboard Stores in North Carolina Whether you’re a rider of the bunny hills or a frequenter of the black diamond slopes, every skier and snowboarder needs to be outfitted with the right gear. Across North Carolina, lovers of snow sports will thoroughly enjoy the experience of picking out great gear from reliable, top-notch places. Here are the 10 best ski and snowboard shops in the state! 

Carrying ski and snowboard essentials, Gordan’s is ready to fully prepare you for the slopes in style! For snowboarders, the store is stocked with snowboards, bindings, boots, accessories, apparel, and bags. As for ski equipment, skiers can purchase skis, ski bindings, ski apparel, ski boots, poles, and accessories. Those who are brand loyal should not worry! Gordon’s has popular and trusty brands ready to equip your next outing in the snow such as Columbia, Patagonia, and Under Armour

Named the top ski and snowboard shop in the southeast, choose from a large selection of skis, ski boots and snowboards and boots and outerwear to beat the cold. Brands of skis and boots range from Rossignol, Atomic, and Dalbello. Snowboarders can prepare themselves for many snowboarding adventures to come with snowboards and boots supplied by Burton, Roxy, and RIDE to name a few. There’s an amazing selection to choose from and the staff members will make the experience great with their incredible service. 

Home to gear and clothing to get you on the slopes, the knowledgeable staff helps any and every shopper get from the entrance to the checkout counter to the snow. Regardless of how much background information you have with skiing or snowboarding, they are patient and ensure you are fully satisfied. Helmets, bindings, ski poles, snowboards, skis, and boots are all available to provide you with what you need whether it be one piece of your gear or the complete set.  

“Live hard, ski harder!” At Maggie Valley, browse, and purchase high-quality boards and equipment at unbeatable prices. Open 8 a.m.-7 p.m. every day of the week, customers can shop, rent, or have assistance with tuning and waxing. 

Established in 2009, this locally-owned business supplies you with snow sports equipment such as snowboards, footwear, outerwear and tunes or repairs. Recess Skate & Snow is stocked full of products in more than a dozen trusted, top-notch brands. 

Men’s, women’s, and kids’ equipment, the entire family can suit up for the winter adventure here. With locations in Elon and Hillsborough, snowboards, skis, and additional supplies are all right at your fingertips. Have an awesome experience of picking out all the essentials with the help of courteous, patient staff. 

Gear, clothing and equipment services, First Flakes has a bit of it all! In search of gear? Have no fear! First Flakes is stocked full of boots, poles, clothing, gloves, goggles, helmets, bags, and car racks to carry it all. And don’t forget the skis or snowboards! Clothing items include a huge selection of outerwear such as jackets, hats, pants, gloves, sweatshirts, and bandanas, as well as thermals. First Flakes carries plenty of different brands, so you can choose your slope style.

The paradise of boards, dress and prepare with all the necessities to have fun in the snow. As well as snowboards and skis, get your hands-on snowboard bindings, boots, goggles, jackets, pants, and socks. Not fully set yet? Boardparadise also has snow traction, tools, wax, bungee, and other snow accessories. 

Drift over to 1st Tracks and Fatty’s for convenient shopping near all area ski resorts. Ski and snowboard equipment, clothing, goggles, and accessories are carried in many different brands to fit your preference. Head over and the friendly staff members will help you pick out everything you need, regardless of your snow sports skill level. Does your snowboard or skis need a little care? The knowledgeable employees are more than happy to tune or repair your equipment through same day service. 

Boards and boards and more boards! You want it we got it!

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http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-ski-and-snowboard-stores-in-north-carolina http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-ski-and-snowboard-stores-in-north-carolina Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
9 Best Apres Ski Activities in North Carolina Apres ski activities entertain skiers (and even their non-skiing friends) after a day on the slopes. These activities include eating, drinking, taking in a show or winding down in a sauna or spa. Next time you’re on a skip trip in North Carolina, discover all of the wonderful apres ski options the state has to offer. Here are our favorites. 

In addition to the beer being worth a visit alone, Beech Mountain Brewing Company is excited to announce the return of the Beech Mountain Resort Winter Music Series. Beginning on Beginning in December, a large lineup of concerts will entertain skiers and fans throughout the ski season. The series is mixed with ticketed shows, and free shows. Check the roster and plan for your ski weekend to include this après ski activity.

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Exercise a different set of muscles by going ice skating at Beech Mountain Resort. Skate rentals are available at the lodge. Warm up after an hour or two with a mug of something warm at Beech Mountain Brewing Company.

How do kids unwind? They play! Play like a child by snow tubing at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. Spend an hour or two post-skiing and pre-dinner riding a snow tube down the mountain—bouncing and laughing all the way.

Just minutes from the Sugar Mountain Resort, skiers can unwind at Banner Elk Cafe. In addition to the cocktails and cuisine, guests will enjoy the live music, trivia nights and roster of other fun events held in their tavern. Pick up pastries (or come back and enjoy some) for enjoying before heading to the slopes the next morning.

Check out the Beer Bar at Painted Fish Café & Beer Bar after a day at Sugar Mountain Resort. The impressive array of artisanal beers means there’s something for everyone. Choose from lagers, ales and stouts. If after a few brews you feel like eating, the Painted Fish Café serves up delicacies like sesame tuna, grass-fed ribeye, honey curried scallops and more.

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Learn the story of local moonshine—a.k.a. white lightening—at Smoky Mountain Moonshine Grille. Sip drinks that are, in fact, legal and indulge in steaks, seafood and more. Just minutes from Cataloochee Ski Area, you’ll find the atmosphere perfect for unwinding.

After a day on the slopes at Cataloochee Ski Area, treat yourself to dinner and drinks at Brickhouse Burgers & Pizza. If you’ve never had a burger topped with mac& cheese made with bacon, this is the spot to try it! In addition to juicy burgers, they also serve a wide range of Italian pizzas, skillets (the Bourbon Street is to die for!), salads and soup.

Chow down on some of the best burritos in North Carolina after a day at Wolf Ridge Ski Resort. Baa’d Sheep Burritos claim their food is “standing out from the flock.” That’s certainly the case with their Mongolian Beef Burrito and their Bugerrito. The first is loaded with steak and Mongolian sauce and the second has seasoned ground beef, bacon, French fries, cheese and more. For a meal that will warm all your fingers and toes—and leave you perfectly satisfied—head straight here from the slopes. 

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If drinking is on your mind following a day of skiing at Appalachian Ski Mountain, the best place to do so is Six Pence Pub. Sporting a British flair, visiting this pub is akin to visiting one in London. The beer served is icy cold, and the food—while traditional pub fare—is really quite good. Choose from both American and British dishes.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-apres-ski-activities-in-north-carolina http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-apres-ski-activities-in-north-carolina Fri, 04 Jan 2019 00:00:00 -0600
Best Weekend Winter Getaway at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Known for its preservation of Southern Appalachian history, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also a treasure trove of animals, plants, and forests. The park is an excellent place to enjoy a winter weekend getaway, and is a favorite spot among North Carolinians as well as those living in nearby states. Here’s our guide to a wonderful winter weekend getaway at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Yes, there are frequently winter conditions in North Carolina, and that’s why park rangers recommend winter camping take place within one of their front-country camping areas. This means camping not far away from your vehicle in a developed campground. Restrooms are available, as is cold running water, provided it hasn’t been shut off due to freezing conditions. Each campsite has a fire grate and picnic table. The Cades Cove and the Smokemont campgrounds are both open year-round.

Abrams Falls is likely among the more popular of all the hikes in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It’s perfect for the whole family and hikers of all levels. The round-trip is about five miles in length. Stroll through all of the flora and fauna to discover the treasure of the hike. The best part of the hike is the beautiful falls which cascade down a mere 20 feet but offer wonderful views of the lush environment. Check park personnel at your chosen camping area for directions to the trail.

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Cross-country skiing takes place throughout the winter months along Clingmans Dome Road, as it remains unplowed. Newfound Gap Road, the public highway that leads to Clingmans Dome Road, is always plowed, making access to the ski area quite convenient. There are many trails at varying levels, so get directions from nearby park rangers to figure out which trail is fit for you. This is also a popular spot for snowshoeing.

Fontana Lake is home to several kinds of fish, and a popular place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for testing your skills as an angler. Reel in crappie, rock bass, sunfish, catfish, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, white bass and walleye throughout the lake. There is no hunting of any kind allowed in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so those enjoying a taste of the wilderness in the literal sense will have to stick to fishing. Trout over a campfire is definitely a delicious treat!

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Bogart’s Restaurant and Tavern is a great place to treat the family to a delicious lunch or dinner. Lots of pub fare is on the menu, with favorites like their Prolific Sweet Potato. It’s filled with pulled pork, bacon, a variety of cheeses barbecue sauce, chipotle sauce and chives. It’s a meal in itself.

Who doesn’t love a delicious country buffet? You’ll get exactly that when you bring the whole gang to Granny’s Kitchen. After cooking over a fire throughout your winter weekend getaway, a hearty meal someone else has prepared—and eating it indoors, too—will definitely fit the bill. Dine on roast beef, fried chicken, veggies, countless sides and delectable desserts.

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Show the kids what toys were like when you or your parents were children by taking the family to Down Memory Lane Toy Museum. You’ll see a variety of toys dating as far back as the early 1900s. There weren’t any electronic devices or video games back then, so be prepared for some complaining. By the time you leave, however, they might decide that the good old days weren’t all that bad.

Visit Black Dome Mountain Sports before your winter weekend getaway, and you’ll be certain you’ve stocked up on everything needed for camping, fishing and more. Locally owned and operated for more than 30 years, the folks here know exactly what you’ll need to take into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Rap up your winter weekend getaway in Great Smoky Mountain National Park with a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. The kids will love the Polar Express ride, where “enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story.” The train arrives at the North Pole where Santa Claus will be waiting to greet all of the passengers. There are a variety of other rides, some featuring boxed lunches.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/best-weekend-winter-getaway-at-great-smoky-mountains-national-park http://stepoutside.org/article/best-weekend-winter-getaway-at-great-smoky-mountains-national-park Mon, 26 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0600
SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Crowders Mountain State Park No matter the time of year, Crowders Mountain State Park is a sight to behold. With stunning pastures and towering cliffs, the diversity of this park makes for a truly unforgettable adventure. Hike the trails, camp out, and explore all of the exciting surrounding attractions. Here are the best things to do in and around the park. 

Crowders Mountain State Park sprawls across more than 5,000 acres. The park will envelope you in miles of gorgeous forests and stunning mountain views. Whether you’re looking for an invigorating hike or a night under the stars, there’s plenty to do in this beautiful park.

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Begin your adventure at the visitor center and fill up all water bottles before your nature trip. Let the Pinnacle Trail take you approximately three miles through a rocky, natural trail that features gorgeous wildflowers, opportunities to spot wildlife, and breathtaking views that make this strenuous hike well-worth that bit of extra effort. The most difficult leg of your journey will be the last piece of the hike with the steeper climb, a rise in elevation, and rockier terrain. Named one of the best views of the countryside, the climb is beyond worth the picture-perfect view. 

Rough it out for the night on one of the several family and group campsites just off the trail. Open year round to eager campers, the campsites have accessible restrooms, lockers of firewood for $5 per locker, and water spigots. The family camp is just off the Pinnacle Trail by taking the Family Camp Trail. To access the Group Camp, follow the Family Camp Trail and veer off and follow the Group Camp Trail. The campsites are just off the park office and tucked in the beautiful state park, making each area private for your stay. 

The Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia is a great educational stop all ages can enjoy. Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m., explore indoor and outdoor exhibits. Permanent indoor exhibits are the Hall of North Carolina Natural History, Hall of North American Habitats, and the Hall of North American Wildlife. The outdoor exhibits include the Nature Trail, Memorial Wildlife Garden, Catawba Indian Village, Stone Age Heritage Site and the 18th Century Backcountry Farm. The exhibits include their own unique displays for visitors to enjoy information of both history and science. 

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The Rankin Lake Park is a great destination of Gastonia that provides guests with picnic shelters, a disc golf course, courts to play horseshoe, a trail, and 80 acres of lake that have two fishing piers, and a lake office to help visitors rent boats such as canoes, kayaks, and pedal boat. This neatly-kept park on the lake is great for fishing, boating or just to enjoy a gorgeous view of the water.

The final stop of the area around Crowders Mountain State Park that is a must-see is the Kings Mountain Little Theatre. Remodeled in years 2011 and 2012, watch history come to life through the amazing performances put on through the incredible acting, costumes, and more. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-crowders-mountain-state-park http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-crowders-mountain-state-park Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in North Carolina One of the most thrilling ways to experience the nature that surrounds you is on the back of an all-terrain vehicle. Across North Carolina, you’ll find designated areas and trails for off-roading with miles of space and awesome terrain. Before you head out, check out these five cool spots for ATV off-roading in the state. 

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, all can enjoy what Appalachians Outdoor Adventures provides. Open year-round, this venue allows for riders to venture in the Appalachian Mountains of Boone, North Carolina. Prior to the tour, you are provided with time to get comfortable with your ATV. Throughout the day, you ride through trails of easy and medium difficulty, the group enjoys a picnic lunch, and you have the experience of taking in the scenery nature has to offer. 

Designed for both trail bikes and ATVs, Brown Mountain OHV Trail has a total of 34 miles to explore. The only trail in the Pisgah area that is open to OHVs, the trail is highly used. Brown Mountain provides visitors a one-way trail system to travel. Purchase a trail season pass at $30 or for the day, pay only $5. Passes can be purchased from vendors nearby such as Cubbard Express, Craig Mountain Farms, Wicked Thunder, or at the Grandfather Ranger Station. Grab a pass and hit the trail from April 1 until Jan. 1. 

Carolina Backwoods offers tours to those ready to have fun. Family owned, the park has been open to ATV enthusiasts for five years offering tours and overnight stays in the cabins. You can choose from “high n dry” or “down n dirty,” tours but either way you’ll want to bring a change of clothes! Ride for about two hours, get dirty, enjoy the scenery, and make fun memories. Not in favor of the Adventure Guided Tour? Seasonal Mini Rides are an option for any rider to ride about half an hour. If you are in search of a place to sleep, Carolina Backwoods has you covered with two cabin options to choose from: The Deluxe Family Cabin or the Frontier Cabin. 

The park that never closes, Outback ATV Park of Scotsland County is the park of the people. Riders can enjoy a great variation of trails and mud. With a family-friendly atmosphere, the park is well kept, allowing you the best time. Bath houses are there to clean off after the muddy ride and the option to camp out is available. With over 100 miles of trails, and many friendly faces, stop by Outback ATV Park for a while and get some mud on those tires.

Fiya pic I got of @nathanrlewis Rig 🔥🤙🏻 #outbackatvpark#trailstoppa#kandypaint

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Located in Wayne County, Busco Beach and ATV Park provides riding for ATVs, and other recreational vehicles. Over 2,000 acres is open for riding, full hook-up camping, and a man-made beach for swimming. Open year round and available for riding at any time, the popular park has wide, endless trails to explore. If you want to camp out, primitive camping and hookups for RVs are accessible for campers. ATV rentals and repairs are available, too. 

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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Harry B. Lamb/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-north-carolina http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-north-carolina Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in North Carolina As the weather cools and summer turns to autumn, the leaves on the trees begin to change their colors. Taking in the sights around the neighborhood is nice but viewing the foliage on the great trails of North Carolina is something you don’t want to miss. View the fall foliage in nature with these five stunning foliage hikes in North Carolina. 

The Birkhead Mountains Wilderness is a mixture of beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds. A moderate hike, hikers can bring their cameras along to snap shots of the foliage along their journey. Spend a night under the branches and stars of the area to enjoy the peaceful outdoors. Located a little under an hour from downtown Greensboro, this hike is a trip into nature worth taking during autumn.

Medoc Mountain State Park offers guests the gorgeous Fishing Creek, and 10 miles of hiking trails to walk and take in the many views the park offers. Many trees sprinkle the park with gorgeous leaves to admire as the new season comes. Along the trail, you may find an open meadow or two that you can lay out a blanket and picnic. Plenty of ironwood, river birch, and alder trees populate Medoc Mountain State Park. 

A part of the South Mountains State Park, the High Shoals Falls Loop is a beautiful hike with plenty of opportunities for photographs. This trail takes you through the park with camping and picnic areas, creeks, rivers, and the stunning falls that bring many people to South Mountains State Park. This hike is just under two and a half miles in length and moderately trafficked, giving hikers a peaceful hike.

A gem of Hanging Rock State Park, Moore’s Wall offers the best views of the water, the trees, and wildlife. This difficult trail is a great workout. For the best views that prove fall has arrived at Hanging Rock State Park, make sure you continue the trail and get to the top. The view covers the Blue Ridge and the National Forest. Your effort of hiking the five-mile trail is paid off when you reach the top and catch a long look at that stunning view.

Located in Raven Rock State Park of Harnett County, Campbell Creek Loop Trail is a moderate five-mile hike with breathtaking views. View the Cape Fear River, famous Raven Rock, the waterfall, and of course, the fall colors. Listen to the birds chirping, the sounds of the water, and take in the cool autumn air. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-north-carolina http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-north-carolina Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Falls Dam Trail The Uwharrie National Forest and surrounding area are rich with activities and attractions for a weekend getaway. Fill your belly with a delicious breakfast, hit the off-roading trails of Uwharrie, grab a bite for dinner, rest your head, and explore with this thrilling ATV off-roading adventure in North Carolina. 

For the best experience, start your day with a hearty, delicious breakfast. The Breakfast Nook is a cozy spot open early from 5 a.m. until 11 a.m. for Southern-style breakfast foods. Enjoy a home-cooked, warm meal with a cup of coffee to wake you up. The service is fast and friendly. 

Closest to the Triangle area, Uwharrie National Forest is a perfect location for off-roading. A total of 17 miles in trails for ATV use, licensed vehicles can explore the outdoors on wheels. The Uwharrie National Forest trails are open to riders April through December of every year. The Badin Lake OHV Trail Complex is complete with several different trails ranging in difficulty. The Falls Dam Trail, approximately three miles in total, is a moderate trail that offers beautiful views of the national park.  

So, it’s been a long day and now you’re starving, right? Fill up at the Log Cabin Bar-B-Que. At this cozy establishment, they have everything from chopped barbecue sandwiches with hush puppies, to hearty burgers, to chuckwagon steak. You won’t walk out of here hungry. 

After your day out, rest at the Badin Inn Golf Resort & Club. This three-star hotel has free parking. A historical site, the Badin Inn was previously a boarding house transformed into a hotel in the early 1900s. Included in your stay to make it comfortable is air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. As well an in-room kitchen, guests have the option for free breakfast and access to the bar and restaurant. The Badin Inn is a beautiful place to stay after a day of off-roading.

If shooting is something that interests you, the next morning would be well spent visiting the Flintlock Valley Shooting Range. This location is open year-round, and offers a 25-yard pistol range as well as a 100-yard rifle range. Be sure to purchase a pass in advance as they are not sold on site. Bring eye protection, hearing protection, and targets. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-falls-dam-trail http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-falls-dam-trail Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Fishing Spots in North Carolina Take the day off, set up your line, and go fishing! The state of many beaches and lakes, North Carolina offers its tourists and locals a wealth of opportunity to reel in that big catch. Whether you prefer fishing offshore, taking the boat out for a spin, or canoeing or kayaking, there is a spot for you. Here are five great places to cast a line in North Carolina. 

Lake Tomahawk Park of small town Black Mountain is home to a cozy lake that is not only breathtaking with a view of the mountains, but a great fishing spot. Grill out, cast the line in the water, and even bring the little ones along for the fun! This family-friendly fishing hole consists of 4.5 acres of lake to fish in, or boat with your motor-less boat if you are into that. The shallow lake is for fishing only so you will get the most out of this spot. Also at the park is a trail around the lake wonderful for walking, a pool, a playground, picnic tables, and two tennis courts. Grab your rods and come out to Lake Tomahawk for a family day on the lake! Please remember that you need a fishing license before you go. 

“Bass fishing haven,” Lake Norman offers a brilliant fishing spot for its well-known largemouth, striped, white, and spotted bass as well as other fish like blue and flathead catfish, black crappie, bluegill, and yellow perch. Cast from the shoreline, canoe, or kayak, or take your boat out through one of the several launch places on Lake Norman. At the lake, you can lodge, set up shop through the camp or utilize the RV hookups. If you need to stock up on bait and supplies, stop by Carolina Fishing Tackle in Mooresville. They will set you up for a day of success. 

The 1,470-acre Lake Glenville has a plethora of fish, ranging from largemouth and smallmouth bass to black crappie, bluegill, channel catfish, rainbow trout, and walleye. At the lake, launch your boat off the ramp to enjoy a day on the beautiful water. There are both convenience and bait and tackle stores nearby to stock up before your day out. A great option is Brookings Anglers in Cashiers, North Carolina. Here, you can stock up on all the gear you’ll need. Looking to stick around? Lake Glenville has campgrounds, you can hook up your RV or you can lodge. If you have the chance, take a peek at the gorgeous falls of Lake Glenville. 

Located near the Great Smoky Mountains, Fontana Lake is popular for boating, fishing, and swimming enthusiasts. The lake has boat rentals for those ready to ride and a launch ramp. For those looking to stay and enjoy the beautiful scenery a little longer, campsites and other lodging are available. Primary fish to catch in Fontana Lake are largemouth and smallmouth bass, spotted bass, black crappie, bluegill, brown trout, channel and flathead catfish, muskie, rainbow trout, steelhead, sunfish, walleye, and yellow perch. Nearby, dine at restaurants such as the Stecoah Diner for a full stomach. Find bait shops nearby as well, including the always-reliable Great Smokey Mountain Bait and Tackle in Bryson City.

A lake of 1,600 acres, Nantahala is a fishing spot of kokanee salmon, the only lake of the south to have them. As well as kokanee salmon, you’ll find largemouth, striped, and smallmouth bass, blue catfish, black crappie, bluegill, brook, brown, and rainbow trout, catfish, walleye, and yellow perch. In the Nantahala National Forest, the lake provides anglers with lodging, RV hookups, campsites, and boat rentals. To grab gear and supplies before you hit the water, stop at Bryant Bait and Tackle. This is “the one and only hunting and fishing store on Nantahala Lake.” 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-spots-in-north-carolina http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-spots-in-north-carolina Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in North Carolina Fall in North Carolina is the perfect time to camp and enjoy the outdoors. Not only is the weather cooler, but the leaves begin to change color and make for a gorgeous view. Pitch a tent, park your RV, or rent a cabin at these five perfect fall camping spots in North Carolina!

At South Mountains State Park, camp with a beautiful view. The state park has 18 backcountry campsites available. The campsites are a convenient stay near the parking area, a restroom, bathhouse, and water spigots. To take in the sights and sounds the park has to offer, there are over a dozen trails ranging in difficulty to choose from. To view the beautiful fall foliage, there are several trails. But the High Shoals Falls Loop, a difficult trail, is well worth the effort. As well as camping, visitors can travel the trails, cast a line, and fish the streams, or dine with a picnic. 

Located near Hollister, Medoc Mountain State Park offers campers 34 sites on the campgrounds. Twelve of these campsites have electric hookups. Each campsite has tent pads, a table, and a grill. Nearby, wash up at the bathhouse with hot water. Are you planning on camping with a large group? There are four campsites that accommodate up to three dozen people each. The camping areas are complete with picnic benches and fire circles. Equestrians may camp at one of the five primitive sites. These sites offer guests a picnic bench, tent pad, and fire ring. Hike one of the seven trails as you enjoy the cooler air and the beautiful foliage that brings nature lovers every year. Take any of the seven trails to enjoy the fall weather and leaves as they change their colors. 

With over two dozen campsites and an extra four reserved for groups, Stone Mountain is a great campsite for a night or two. RV hookups are also available on site with 40 electric and water campsites. The campsites are close to the bathhouse, water spigots, and roads for easy access. For the fall view of a lifetime, choose one of the nine trails to view all nature Stone Mountain State Park offers. Along with the beautiful turning leaves, you will experience waterfalls, streams, and a chance to visit the top of the Stone Mountain.

At Hanging Rock, if you would like to pitch a tent or park a trailer, 73 campsites are available for reservation. On your campsite, enjoy a grill, picnic table, and tent pad. For groups up to 16, camp primitive style with access to nearby toilets and drinking water. For up to six people, cabins can be reserved every day of the year apart from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In the cabins, guests have a bathroom, kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms. For your stay at Hanging Rock Park, there are a variety of activities to choose from. There are trails for biking or hiking, a lake for boating, swimming, and fishing, rock climbing, and there are picnic areas and shelters for picnics.

Camp at Raven Rock State Park your preferred way—backpack camping, canoe camping, or camping with your group. To backpack camp, campers can pack a bag and get away from all the hustle and bustle. To camp with your group, travel to the wilderness camp that offers five campsites. Each campsite provides up to 20 campers with a fire ring and vault toilets. To camp along the Cape Fear River Canoe trail, there are six campsites canoers can reserve. Along with camping, visitors hike or ride the beautiful trails by horseback. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-north-carolina http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-north-carolina Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Archery Outfitters in North Carolina No matter if you’re an expert archer or simply a prospective one, the right gear is essential. From target shooting to hunting big game, you’re going to need high-quality bows, arrows, and accessories for a successful and safe experience. Gear up with the best at these 10 archery outfitters in North Carolina. 

New to archery or experienced with a bow, Bowsmithe is a one-stop shop for apparel, bows, and tree stands. An authorized dealer for Bowtech, Mathews, Mossy Oak, and Browning, they are fully stocked with everything you need. A knowledgeable, patient staff is ready to gear you up with the best. 

Just me and my beau❤️ We're ready for deer season!🦌🏹

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Terry’s Archery Plus of Ernul, North Carolina, offers you fast, friendly service for your archery necessities. Bows, crossbows stabilizers, releases, arrow rests, and nocks are all carried in several different, trusted brands. Open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., excellent customer service is always available to give you advice, offer help with archery equipment, and go beyond your expectations. 

Located in Raleigh, North Carolina, First Flight Archery offers archery equipment, gear, and classes to take “your skill to the next level.” With insightful bow and string services, First Flight is a great place for every archer of all backgrounds. 

First indoor round in a while #chasing300

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Prepare for your next adventure with a wide range of products and services at Droptine Archery. Products include bows, crossbows, arrows, bolts, tree stands and plenty of accessories to properly supply you. Services at Droptine Archery are amazing for repairs to bows, strings, cables, and more. Droptine also provides a wonderful space to hone your skills.  

Really love watching so many people love archery🎯🏹#fullhouse

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8 Point Archery Outdoors of Hendersonville has anything and everything to prepare an archer. Take a class, repair your equipment in store, practice on the three acres of practice areas, and shop various archery products. Arrows, arrow rests, bows, broadheads, clothing, quivers, sights and scopes, stabilizers, targets, and accessories all await you. Open since 2004, 8 Point Archery is family owned and ready to supply you with high-qualiyu archery equipment. 

2018 Bear Kuma #badlandscamo #legionseries

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The incredible service of Cooper’s Trading alone makes it a must-visit for archery enthusiasts. Patient staff members answer your questions, concerns and help you choose from all kinds of products. Bow hunters, tournament archers, or hobbyists will all find this paradise a comfortable setting to start something new or continue a passion. 

Used Bow Heaven . . . . . #bow #archery #elitearchery

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Buttermilk Creek Outfitters goes above and beyond to provide excellent customer service, great prices, and all the right equipment. Service includes priceless advice and answers to your questions and assists with your equipment. Head over to Buttermilk Creek Outfitters to suit up and get to shooting. 

An archery pro shop, archery services, and ranges, Boneyard Archery is a sportsman’s heaven. Shop the best selection of bows, strings, arrows, and sights. Located in Madison, North Carolina, shop and let the staff members go the extra mile to prepare you properly. Services include customization, lessons, repairs, and practice ranges indoors and outdoors. 

Serving the Mineral Springs, North Carolina, area for almost half a century, receive the best service and shop the best brands of products. Products include bows, arrows, sights, arrow rests, release aids, broadheads, and additional accessories for both hunting and target archery. To prep or repair, Skip’s Archery provides customers with repair to bow or string, bow tuning and initial bow set up. 

Archery supplies galore, shop Gods Country Archery for everything archery related. Bows, arrows, bowstrings, stabilizers, release aids, broadheads, archery accessories, and apparel are all high-quality, trusted products to meet your needs and exceed your expectations. Services of Gods Country Archery give you the opportunity to receive custom tuning, adjustments to your equipment, and amazing knowledge from the friendly staff of the Gods Country team. 

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10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in North Carolina Before you hit the water for your catch of the day, every fisherman must have the right equipment to do so! Fully stock your tackle box with line, hooks, bobbers, sinkers, worms, lures, pliers and more to make your fishing trip a successful one. Bait your hook and cast your line with the 10 best bait and tackle shops in North Carolina.

Dutchman Creek of Southport is a family-owned business that has served the fishers in the area for more than two decades. Fishing hot spots in the Southport-Oak Island area are plentiful and require the right gear and Dutchman has all you could need. And if they don’t? They will get it for you! Come in for all your bait and tackle needs from bulk line and hooks to swivels and more—all at reasonable prices. 

Stop by Intracoastal Angler of Wilmington and “see why Intracoastal Angler is your best stop for your outdoor adventures!” Shop line, rods, reels, baits, lures, and coolers to store those fish in to name a few. The store carries a huge selection of brands and goods. A fisherman who takes out the boat or who fishes on the shore, you will find what you need. And not only that, but the store has superb service! 

At Joe’s, all your fishing needs are met. The fishing store that puts the customer first, receive nothing short of amazing service. Knowledgeable about everything outdoors, find the perfect live bait, tackle, and more to get you out on the water. 

Chasin’ Tails Outdoors of Atlantic Beach has the most knowledgeable of the waters including those who are charter captains, experienced fishermen, and tournament anglers. Shop name brand equipment including but not limited to boat supplies, hooks, lures, nets, rakes, rigs, and apparel including hats, t-shirts, and visors. Weigh in that huge reel-in of the day at the official weigh station! 

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Shop with excellent customer service and an equally excellent supply of fishing needs. This full-service tackle shop has everything from rods and reels to lures, line, cast and landing nets, apparel, and bait pins. A fisherman who is particular with his or her brands? No problem at East Side! East Side stocks over a dozen different brands. At affordable prices, prepare for your inshore and offshore adventures.  

Baits, fishing line, lures, reels, and fish attractants galore! Shop 84 brands (at least!) at the fishing store opening seven days to get you on the water any day of the week. Open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., get in, get out and get on the water to cast your line and reel in a fish or two. 

A perfect stop on the Outer Banks, this great tackle shop includes incredible service and all the right fishing equipment. Whether you need knowledge of the area, fishing advice or the right gear, Red Drum has you covered. Bait, ice, tackle, and rods, shop the “Oldest Complete Tackle Shop at Cape Hatteras.”

T.W.’s Bait and Tackle of Nags Head is a friendly stop before taking the boat or taking a stroll to the water. Fishing hooks, line, lures, reels, and rods, reasonably priced fishing equipment is right at your fingertips. Don’t forget the knives, tackle box, and other various fishing accessories while you are in!

Every fisher’s paradise, Rigged and Ready carries a large selection of name brand fishing gear such as reels, rods, and lures. Brands include but are not limited to Berkley, Bimini Bay, American Fishing Wire, Penn, and much more.  

Don’t let the outside look fool you, this small building has the gear to supply all your fishing needs. Local information on the best fishing spots or assistance getting what you need, Ray’s is a classic stop for fishing gear at great prices.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-north-carolina http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-north-carolina Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
8 Best Outdoor Fall Activities in North Carolina From warm October days to cool November nights, it’s important to enjoy every moment of autumn. With everything from foliage kayaking on the river to whitetail deer hunting the Inner Banks region, North Carolina enjoys fall to its fullest. Here are the best outdoor activities in the state. 

It’s not for beginners, but those with some moderate hiking experience can make the hike to Calloway Peak. From the top you’ll enjoy a brilliant view of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Park your vehicle in the Boone Fork Parking Area. Its entrance is on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Start your hike on the Tanawha Trail to the Boone Scout Trail. From there you’ll see the trail to the summit. The second half of the trail is a bit challenging but is made doable with the existing ladders and cables. Day permits are required.

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The cliffs and rock formations inside Crowder’s Mountain State Park make it an excellent place for rock climbing. The views from the top are sublime. Climbing is allowed throughout most of the fall, weather permitting, and climbers must get a permit from the park office prior to the climb. These climbs are recommended for intermediate to experienced climbers only.

The Cape Fear River flows for approximately 200 miles through the North Carolina piedmont and eventually empties into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the most industrialized of all the state’s rivers but has parts that are tranquil and perfect for kayaking.

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Camping at Hanging Rock State Park is open all year, with sites for RVs, tents and several cabins available, too. Hanging Rock Trail takes avid rock climbers to a spot deemed safe for experienced climbers, and aptly called the Hanging Rock. In addition, there are miles of hiking trails—some leading to beautiful waterfalls, a lake for swimming, boating and fishing and majestic views of the Sauratown Mountains.

Fontana Lake is home to the famous Fontana Dam. The dam was featured in the film “A Walk in the Woods.” Fontana Dam is also the name of the town where the dam is located as is a good part of the lake. Fishing is a popular pastime on this lake, with some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the state taking place here. Check out Fontana Guides in Bryson City for some great guided fishing trip options. 

There are several trails at South Mountains State Park, offering miles of hiking for hikers of all levels. See waterfalls, cross over rivers and marvel at the wildlife that scampers all around. High Shoals Falls is the most popular of all the trails, leading hikers to an 80-foot falls and lots of smaller ones, too.

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The Ahoskie, North Carolina region is an excellent place for whitetail deer hunting. Deer hunting season varies depending upon what you shoot. Between archery, muzzle loading firearms and rifles, the ability to hunt lasts all throughout the fall.

Beach camping is a unique experience. For the utmost in beach camping, visit Bear Island at Hammock Beach State Park. Tent sites are available right on the beach, with water and other facilities available toward the center of the island. Hiking around the island and throughout the park is easy, but interesting, too. The coastal wildlife is plentiful. You never know what you’ll see. Fires aren’t allowed, so plan accordingly. Campsites are rented all year, but water isn’t available after late November.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/8-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-north-carolina http://stepoutside.org/article/8-best-outdoor-fall-activities-in-north-carolina Wed, 24 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Best Places to Fish in the East This Fall A smorgasbord of baitfish is served up to striped bass in the fall as they make their way south along the Atlantic coast from Maine to their wintering waters in the mid-Atlantic.

Hot Spots To Fish: Deservedly, Montauk, NY at the eastern end of Long Island is considered a storied mecca for striped bass fishermen. If you’re not going surf fishing on the beach or fishing from a jetty, Gone Fishing Marina (631-668-3232, gonefishingmarina78.com) can set up a charter trip for you. If it’s booked up, try Star Island Yacht Club (631-668-5052, starislandyc.com) or Montauk Marine Basin (631-668-5900, marinebasin.com).

Find the best fishing spots near you:

Down south, talk to the folks at Captain Hogg’s Charter Service (757-876-1590, captainhoggscharters.com) about fishing around the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Overdrawn Charters  (252-202-4623, overdrawncharters.com) in Manteo, N.C. can help as well.

Tackle You’ll Need: Stick with 30- to 50-pound braid or monofilament and a 60-pound-test shock leader of fluorocarbon, with saltwater-ready spinning tackle heavy enough to handle 10- to 14-foot rods. Penn, Quantum and Okuma specialize in fairly inexpensive surf-fishing rods, and reels to match. If you have a reel, but no rod yet, the new Black Inshore Rods from Lamiglas are up to the task. The five spinning and five casting models range from a 6-foot, 10-inch light finesse spinning rod to a 7 ½-foot casting rod rated for lures from 3 to 12 ounces in weight.

Quick tip: The most successful anglers are those who spot gulls or other wheeling seabirds feeding on baitfish driven to the top by stripers and who then cast into the melee without dispersing the bass. From a boat, the trick is to approach schools carefully and take advantage of wind or tide to drift to within casting range. The stripers will stay up as long as the baitfish are hemmed against the surface.

 

Best Lures/Baits: The 4 1/2-inch Acme Kastmater XL spoon, the 1 ½-ounce Odin Popper, and the 5-inch pencil popper from Tsunami are popular artificials up and down the Atlantic seaboard. Other popular options include the 6- or 7-inch Savage Gear Sandeel Swimbait, 9-inch Sassy Shad swimbait and the 6-inch Rapala X-Rap SubWalk.

Find the best bait and tackle shops near you:

For anglers who’d rather soak baits from a boat or in the surf, live or cut bait, such as Atlantic menhaden (peanut bunker), herring, porgies, eels, bloodworms, anchovies and mullet, can flip the switch on chaotic striper blitzes.

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Photograph Courtesy of Maine Office of Tourism The classic approach to surf fishing is still a great way to take advantage of the striper run along the Atlantic coast. http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-east-this-fall http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-east-this-fall Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500