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Home Parks Top 10 State Parks in North Carolina

Top 10 State Parks in North Carolina

It wasn’t easy to choose the top 10 state parks in North Carolina. After all, North Carolina has an expansive ecosystem stretching from the mountains to the sea.

In an attempt to honor the natural diversity of our epic state, we narrowed it down to the 10 most popular state parks in North Carolina.

Hanging Rock State Park

Danbury

(336) 593-8480

Looking for a weekend getaway with the family? Swimming, canoe rentals, mountain biking and rock climbing are just a few of the recreational offerings at Hanging Rock.

chimney-rock-formation
Expansive views of Lake Lure and valley below is the reward for climbing all those stairs to reach the top of Chimney Rock (there’s also an elevator).

Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock

(828) 625-9611

At Chimney Rock, your kids will be excited to climb the 315-foot rock formation that gives the park its name. Alternatively, babies and toddlers can join you for the ride to the top in a state-of-the-art elevator for incredible views.

The mile-high swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain
The mile-high swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain in Linville.

Grandfather Mountain

Linville

(828) 963-9522

Spectacular hiking and backpacking are available in Grandfather Mountain’s 2,456-acre backcountry. This is a challenging hike, but worth it for the sheer grandiosity of this human-looking rock formation.

Morrow Mountain State Park

Albemarle

(704) 982-4402

Experience simpler times with your children at Morrow Mountain State Park. The waters of Lake Tillery and the Pee Dee River offer fishing and boating, and the landscape provides miles of trails for exploring on foot or horseback.

Medoc Mountain State Park

Hollister

(252) 586-6588

Hit the trail in one of three ways. This park features ten miles of trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding encircling Fishing Creek and Medoc Mountain.

Dismal Swamp State Park

South Mills

(252) 771-6593

Don’t let the name fool you. This state park represents lowland beauty and culture. Enjoy nearly 17 miles of former logging roads that serve as trails for hiking and mountain biking through the Great Dismal Swamp.

family sledding down a sand dune
Sledding down the sand dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nag’s Head is a great family activity.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Nags Head

(252) 441-7132

Jockey’s Ridge State Park hosts the tallest living sand dune on the East coast is an outdoor classroom for studying coastal ecology. Your family will get first-hand experience with the constantly changing geology that forms our beaches.

Courtyard view of Fort Macon
Take in a little Civil War history, then hit the beach at Fort Macon in Atlantic Beach.

Fort Macon State Park

Atlantic Beach

(252) 726-3775

Fort Macon is the scene of a perfectly-restored Civil War fort, a museum quality coastal education center and an unmatched stretch of beach for swimming and fishing. The fort holds cannon and musket demonstrations and even offers guided tours.

Pilot Mountain State Park

Pinnacle

(336) 325-2355

Miles of trails and spectacular scenery await your family at the 2,000 foot-tall Pilot Mountain.

A young girl takes in the view from atop Crowder's Mountain
Wide gravel trails make hiking easy at Crowder’s Mountain in Gastonia.

Crowders Mountain State Park

Kings Mountain

(704) 853-5375

The twin peaks of Crowders Mountain provide challenging hikes along miles of trails with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Best of all, you don’t have to drive deep in the mountains to experience this incredible range.

What’s your favorite North Carolina State Park?

We love to hear from our readers. Let us know what your favorite state park is by tagging @CarolinaTravelr on Instagram.

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