#Roadtrip: 30 outdoor adventures in the Carolinas


Photo by U.S. National Whitewater Center

And while we know that Asheville is a mecca for all things outdoors, but there are also adventures to be had across the border in South Carolina or up-state in Charlotte. We can share the love a little (especially during tourist season 😉).

Here are 30 outdoor excursions to shake up your weekend adventures – Right at home, and down the mountain.

🚶Take a hike | We would tell you our favorite trails, but there are just too many. Here is our ongoing must-try hiking guide.

🚴Road bike 22 miles of trails | Swamp Rabbit Trail | Greenville | 1 hour away | Cruise through downtown Greenville S.C., through Furman University’s historic campus on to Traveler’s Rest on railroads-turned-paved trails. Don’t want to bring your bike? There are tons of rentals right off the trail.

💨Try the fastest zip line in the country | The Gorge Zipline | Saluda, N.C. | 50 min. away | Take your pick of 11 zip lines that stretch through the tree canopy + travel down 1,100 vertical ft. | $97 | Bonus: Navitat is just down the road if you do want to stay closer to home. (More on this next month, when we release a full #AdventureSeries guide).

🏊‍Swim in a natural spring-fed rock quarry | Carrigan Farms | Mooresville, N.C. | 2 hours away | Cool down with a day of open swimming at the granite quarry or test your adventurous side and cliff jump into the water | $15 (cash or check only)

🍓Forage for your own food in the AVL wilderness | No Taste Like Home | Asheville, N.C. | Asheville| A 3-hour tour will take you into nature with guided foraging, cooking demos, and make your own snacks/dinner with your finds | $75/adult, $30/child

🌊Whitewater rafting on the World’s Largest Man-Made Whitewater River | U.S. National Whitewater Center | Charlotte, N.C. | 2 hours away | Choose between the more intense adventure rafting (for ages 11+) or family rafting for a more chill experience (ages 8+)| $59/adult day pass (access to all land + water activities)

Jet ski on lake Keowee | Endless Adventures | Sunset, S.C. | 1 hour, 15 min away | Rent a few jet skis and spend a day feeling the wind through your hair | $260/half day, $360/full day

Try out bellyaking | Bellyak, Inc. | Candler, N.C. | 1 hour + 10 min. away | Get up close + personal with the rapids on a bellyak (a kayak where you lay on your stomach) – if you’re feeling spontaneous, try their whitewater bellyaking class | $95/person (minimum of 3 people)

A perfect hike for the whole family | Tom’s Creek Falls | Marion, N.C. | 1 hour + 45 min. away | Waterfall views, streams to explore, and pools to wade in – all in less than a mile, so the kids won’t be exhausted and cranky afterwards | Free

Learn how to outdoor rock climb | Thrifty Adventures | Spruce Pine, N.C. | 2 hours away | A 6-8 hour full introduction to rock climbing outdoors for anyone aged 5+, with tutorials in knot-tying, climbing techniques, lingo, and safety | $95/weekends, $85/weekdays (bring $8 cash to rent shoes)

Sunset kayaking or paddleboarding on Lake Norman | Aloha Paddle Sports | Cornelius, N.C. | 2 hours away | $35 for a 90 min. guided tour (and they’ll take pics of you at sunset for the ‘gram)

  • They also offer paddle board yoga on Wed. – Sat. at Lake Norman for $15 with your own board, $25 to rent

Tandem kayak the French Broad River | Asheville Outdoor Center | Ashevill | A 7-mile kayak trip (that you can also float or paddleboard), with views of the Biltmore, plenty of wildlife, and a perfect picnic stop at Hominy Creek Park | $60/tandem kayak, $38/single kayak

Learn how to fly fish | Hunter Banks | Asheville| Wade or float WNC’s streams and fly fish for anglers on a half- or full-day guided trip | $200 – $450 to wade, $350 – $450 to float

Go to the beach (while being in the mountains) | Lake Lure Tours | Lake Lure, N.C. | 50 min. away | Take a day of fun under the sun (and under the mountain peaks) on the beach or cool off at the water park | $9/adults, $8/seniors, $7/kids

Tube the Catawba River | Kayaking 4 H20 | Rock Hill, S.C. | 2 hours 20 mins away | A scenic 3 mile float down the Catawba River. Pro tip: Rent a floating cooler for your drinks. | $20 (cash only)

Hike the trails at Anne Springs Close Greenway | Fort Mill, S.C. | 2 hours 15 mins away | 40+ miles of hiking, mountain biking + horseback riding trails in a nature preserve open 7 days a week, from 7 a.m. to sunset | $5

Spider lily kayaking on the Catawba River | Catawba River Expeditions | 2 hours 40 mins away | Spider lily season is just about to end, so spend a weekend kayaking among the flowers in Landsford Canal State Park (or on a 1.5-mile hike, if water isn’t your thing) | $40/single kayak, $50/tandem kayak ($5 to hike)

Explore 1,460 acres of wildlife and nature | Latta Plantation Nature Preserve | Huntersville, N.C. | 1 hour + 50 min. away | A preserve for heritage + endangered species – bring your camera to snap shots of bald eagles, wild turkeys + red foxes (and birds at the Carolina Raptor Center), or spend the day hiking and horseback riding by Mountain Island Lake | Free

Visit the butterflies at Butterfly Bungalow | Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden | Belmont, N.C. | 2 hours away | Visit the 380-acre garden’s butterfly exhibit + learn about their journey from caterpillars and which butterflies are native to our area | $3 + garden admission

Take an RTV tour through the mountains | Navitat | Asheville | See the Blue Ridge Mountains’ best vantage points from a high-speed RTV on a 1.5-hour guided tour | $39.95

Take a scenic drive up to Pretty Place | YMCA Camp Greenville | Cleveland, S.C. | 1 hour away | Roll the windows down, bring your camera, and soak in the mountain views (just make sure to check the calendar to see if there’s an event scheduled that day) | Free

Ride horses through the water like a cowboy | Riverside Riding Stables | Lake Lure, N.C. | 40 mins away | Try a two-hour river ride on horseback (14 and up) with a scenic ride up to Bald Mountain | Call for rates + reservations

Two mountain trails for experienced hikers | Crowders Mountain State Park | Kings Mountain, N.C. | 1 hour + 30 minutes away | Crowders Mountain (2.8 miles one way) and King’s Pinnacle (2 miles one way) are both strenuous hikes, but worth it for both views from the summits | Free

Stand up paddleboard through AVL’s River Arts District | Wai Mauna Asheville SUP Tours | Asheville | A 4-mile paddle through the hub of breweries, art galleries, and top-notch restaurants Pro tip: Try it at sunset for extra ambiance. | $80

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