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Mountain biking at Lake James State Park is a wonderful way to celebrate one of the 41 amazing spots across the state.

The weather is beautiful and it’s time to start thinking about summer adventures at all 41 of the North Carolina State Parks.

There are currently 41 areas part of the NC State Parks system, including 34 parks, four recreation areas, and three state natural areas, according to NC Parks.

That opens up the door for a ton of adventure, whether you like camping, hiking, beaches, mountains or everything in between.

“Come to our parks to marvel at our state’s most beautiful natural resources, enjoy your favorite outdoor activities, and learn about the rich science, culture, and history that make our parks great,” NC Parks says on their site. “From Gorges State Park on the Blue Ridge escarpment to Jockey’s Ridge State Park in the Outer Banks, you’ll find mysterious bay lakes, wild swamps, sandhills with their longleaf pine habitats, piedmont river systems, and bold mountain streams.”

The closest state parks to Fayetteville are Carvers Creek (right here in Cumberland County!), Raven Rock, Jones Lake, Weymouth Woods, Singletary Lake, and Lumber River.

So here’s a look at all 41 of those amazing places to check out, with links to each park, so you can learn more for your North Carolina State Parks adventure!

North Carolina State Parks map

Image Courtesy NC State Parks System


  • Carolina Beach State Park

    Carolina Beach State Park

    With a marina providing access to some of North Carolina's best fishing spots, a secluded camping area beneath towering trees, and miles of hiking trails that traverse a variety of distinct habitats-not to mention the presence of the Venus flytrap, one of the world's most unique carnivorous plants-it's no wonder Carolina Beach State Park is a popular coastal attraction.

  • Carvers Creek State Park

    Carvers Creek State Park

    Amenities at the relatively new Carvers Creek State Park have centered on Long Valley Farm, the historic retreat of a Rockefeller family member, as the park continues to develop recreation opportunities. The farm offers fishing and scenic, contemplative hiking through longleaf pine forests, and rangers lead regular interpretive programs, including occasional tours through the vacation home of the late James Stillman Rockefeller, who bequeathed the property for conservation.

  • Chimney Rock State Park

    Chimney Rock State Park

    Some of North Carolina's most dramatic mountain scenery is found at Chimney Rock State Park, with the signature 315-foot spire overlooking Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Admission is charged at the principal Chimney Rock Access, though the nearby Rumbling Bald Climbing Access is admission-free and offers one of the park's six trails.

  • Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

    Cliffs of the Neuse State Park

    The site of Cliffs of the Neuse State Park, with impressive cliffs overlooking the Neuse River, has been a landmark for centuries. Five hiking trails explore the riverside habitats and their mature forests and lead to some quiet fishing spots along the waterway.

  • Crowders Mountain State Park

    Crowders Mountain State Park

    Companion peaks at Crowders Mountain State Park-The Pinnacle and Crowders Mountain-offer challenging hikes, towering cliffs and 25-mile views of the surrounding piedmont. Eleven trails range from pastoral to strenuous, including the Ridgeline Trail, which links to Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina.

  • Dismal Swamp State Park

    Dismal Swamp State Park

    Dismal Swamp State Park allows a unique wilderness experience in a landscape that has been witness to American Indian hunting parties, exploration by George Washington and the story of the Underground Railroad. The park features 20 miles of trails, beyond a 2,000-foot boardwalk that puts visitors in the midst of the Great Dismal Swamp.

  • Elk Knob State Park

    Elk Knob State Park

    Elk Knob State Park features one of the highest peaks in North Carolina's high country at 5,520 feet and one of the parks system's finest trails to the spectacular views from the summit. Other trails are being developed at this relatively new park.

  • Eno River State Park

    Eno River State Park

    Eno River State Park-like its namesake-flows near urban areas of Durham and Orange counties with five scattered access areas, each just minutes from town amenities. The Eno River's waters roll past mature forests, historic mill and home sites and river bluffs covered with flowering shrubs and across fords used by early settlers.

  • Falls Lake State Recreation Area

    Falls Lake State Recreation Area

    Falls Lake State Recreation Area is a collective of seven access areas scattered around the shoreline of this undeveloped, 12,000-acre reservoir. More than 300 campsites at four of the access areas offer a range of outdoor experience from RV hookups to primitive tent camping and group camps.

  • Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

    Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

    Alternate between nearly six miles of pristine beach and trails through salt marsh brimming with wildlife at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, a park touching both the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River. Development on this protected shoreline is limited to a visitor center and related facilities and boardwalks that attract birders and photographers.

  • Fort Macon State Park

    Fort Macon State Park

    Fort Macon State Park has multiple personalities as the site of a perfectly restored Antebellum-era fort, a museum-quality coastal education center, and an unspoiled shoreline for swimming, surf fishing, and beachcombing. Nearly surrounded by water at the eastern tip of Bogue Banks, the park offers undisturbed natural beauty and opportunities to explore and learn about salt marshes, estuaries, and dune fields.

  • Goose Creek State Park

    Goose Creek State Park

    The eight miles of trails at Goose Creek State Park lead visitors through a broad range of coastal experiences-live oaks draped in Spanish moss, wetlands along the Pamlico Sound and a cypress swamp viewed from an extensive boardwalk. A visitor and environmental education center explains it all with detailed exhibits.

  • Gorges State Park

    Gorges State Park

    Gorges State Park is set in the midst of plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and a high concentration of rare species, and exploration of this unique environment often begins at the expansive visitor center with its museum-quality exhibits, augmented by picnic grounds and shelters.

  • Grandfather Mountain State Park

    Grandfather Mountain State Park

    Grandfather Mountain has been an icon in North Carolina's landscape for generations, offering stunning scenery and unmatched ecological diversity. This state park opens the mountain's 2,456-acre backcountry to spectacular hiking and backpacking. The park is known for some of the South's most severe weather and challenging terrain, with trails that have hikers scrambling along cliffs and up ladders.

  • Hammocks Beach State Park

    Hammocks Beach State Park

    A crown jewel of the North Carolina coast and Hammocks Beach State Park is Bear Island-a 4-mile-long, undeveloped barrier island accessible by the park's passenger ferry or private ferry, or by paddling a canoe or kayak. A wide beach between massive dunes and the ocean is interrupted only by primitive campsites and a modest concession/picnic complex.

  • Hanging Rock State Park

    Hanging Rock State Park

    Since its creation as a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps project, Hanging Rock State Park has offered the best of a traditional outdoor experience with 73-site campground, picnic grounds, stocked lake for swimming and canoe rentals and more than 20 miles of hiking trails that climb onto spectacular views and weave alongside clear streams and waterfalls.

  • Haw River State Park

    Haw River State Park

    Haw River State Park Located in the northern Piedmont Triad region, picturesque terrain makes Haw River State Park the perfect place to connect with nature. Housed within this natural setting is The Summit Environmental Education and Conference Center, N.C. State Park's first residential environmental education center.

  • Jockey's Ridge State Park

    Jockeys Ridge State Park | NC State Parks

    The tallest living sand dune on the Atlantic coast is a premier location for kites, sightseeing and sunsets, with a view arcing from the ocean to Roanoke Sound. A visitor center with museum and 360-foot boardwalk with exhibits explain the dune's ecology and are a gradual entry to the massive dune field.

  • Jones Lake State Park

    Jones Lake State Park

    Jones Lake State Park has long been a community destination for lazy picnics under the shade of tall pines and swimming in the lake's shallow, warm waters. The park surrounds two of the many mysterious bay lakes found in eastern North Carolina, though access to the remote Salters Lake is by permit only.

  • Jordan Lake State Recreation Area

    Jordan Lake State Recreation Area

    Jordan Lake State Recreation Area is a collective of nine access areas scattered around the shoreline of this undeveloped, 14,000-acre reservoir. More than 1,000 campsites among five of the access areas offer a range of outdoor experience from RV hookups to primitive tent camping and group camps.

  • Kerr Lake State Recreation Area

    Kerr Lake State Recreation Area

    Kerr Lake State Recreation Area is a collective of seven access areas scattered around the shoreline of this 50,000-acre reservoir that reaches into Virginia. Hundreds of campsites among five of the access areas offer a range of outdoor experience from RV hookups to group camps.

  • Lake James State Park

    Lake James State Park

    Lake James State Park offers a full menu of activities. Along with boating, swimming and fishing in the beautiful, clear waters of the 6,812-acre lake, there are 25 miles of trails, 15 of which are open to mountain biking.

  • Lake Norman State Park

    Lake Norman State Park

    Lake Norman State Park, on the largest manmade lake in North Carolina, boasts one of the region's more popular mountain biking network, offering 30.5 miles of single-track trail. Nearby are a 125-yard-long swim beach and bathhouse complex as well as a boat ramp and opportunities for fishing from spots along park trails.

  • Lake Waccamaw State Park

    Lake Waccamaw State Park

    A visit to Lake Waccamaw State Park unveils one of the most unique bodies of water in the world and one of the greatest geological mysteries-the phenomenon of Carolina Bays with species of aquatic life found nowhere else.

  • Lumber River State Park

    Lumber River State Park

    On a national wild and scenic river, Lumber River State Park is all about eastern North Carolina paddling, fishing and exquisite scenery. The Princess Ann and Chalk Banks access areas anchor two ends of the riverine park, with tent-friendly campgrounds, group campsites, picnic grounds and short hiking trails at both.

  • Mayo River State Park

    Mayo River State Park

    Envisioned as a riverine park along the Mayo River from the Virginia state line to the confluence with the Dan River near Madison, N.C., Mayo River State Park is under development but now offers amenities that people have come to expect at state parks.

  • Medoc Mountain State Park

    Medoc Mountain State Park

    Serenity seems to pervade Medoc Mountain State Park, enhanced by gentle Fishing Creek and a scenic open meadow that spreads from the picnic grounds. Anglers and paddlers are drawn to Fishing Creek-considered to be one of the cleanest streams in the region-that flows for about 2.5 miles through the park.

  • Merchants Millpond State Park

    Merchants Millpond State Park

    Southern swamp and hardwood forest mingle at Merchants Millpond State Park, adorning the landscape with massive bald cypress trees, beech groves, Spanish moss and exotic wildlife. Canoes can be rented or visitors can bring their own for a unique paddling experience.

  • Morrow Mountain State Park

    Morrow Mountain State Park

    Choose an adventure at Morrow Mountain State Park, whether it's hiking, camping, paddling, fishing, horseback riding, swimming or just taking in scenery on one of the highest points in the piedmont.

  • Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

    Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

    Rising abruptly to more than 1,600 feet above the surrounding landscape, Mount Jefferson is often first viewed at a distance from the Blue Ridge Parkway and is a national natural landmark with a rich history. Five hiking trails allow exploration of rare geology and plant communities in Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, including a child-friendly TRACK trail and a strenuous scramble along the mountain's ridgeline.

  • Mount Mitchell State Park

    Mount Mitchell State Park

    One of those places that stand apart from the ordinary, Mount Mitchell's dramatic summit is the highest point east of the Mississippi at 6,684 feet and was the inspiration for one of the nation's first state parks. From its easily accessible observation deck, the spruce-fir forest of Mount Mitchell State Park leads the eye to unmatched views.

  • New River State Park

    New River State Park

    The New River was named a National Wild and Scenic River in 1976, and it wildly winds through some of the best North Carolina mountain scenery. New River State Park is base camp for exploration of this river at two principal spots-Wagoner Road access and US 221 access.

  • Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area

    Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area

    Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area offers a quick escape into nature with its three miles of trail exploring riverside forests, bluffs reaching to the highest point in the area and mountain laurel and rhododendron thickets. Visitors can fish in a pair of quiet ponds for bass and panfish or in the Eno River, either from the bank or by wading its shallows.

  • Pettigrew State Park

    Pettigrew State Park

    Visitors can explore 16,000-acre Lake Phelps and its surrounding landscape by land or water at Pettigrew State Park. The fishing is legendary and boaters with kayaks, canoes and shallow-draft boats will find easy launch sites. Also, nearby access allows boaters onto the placid, blackwater Scuppernong River.

  • Pilot Mountain State Park

    Pilot Mountain State Park

    Located in Surry and Yadkin counties 20 miles northwest of Winston-Salem, Pilot Mountain State Park centers around the iconic geologic knob that serves as a beacon to the surrounding Piedmont, inviting outdoor enthusiasts to a vast array of activities.

  • Raven Rock State Park

    Raven Rock State Park

    The Cape Fear River is the frequent hiking destination for visitors entering Raven Rock State Park, whether it's Lanier Falls, the Fish Traps rapids, or the massive Raven Rock, an ageless landmark for river travelers. Along the way, hikers will experience steep terrain, mountain laurel and rhododendron thickets, and tumbling creeks.

  • Singletary Lake State Park

    Singletary Lake State Park

    Singletary Lake State Park is open to the public for hiking, fishing, paddling and picnicking. The park also welcomes groups of 20 or more to enjoy camping, retreats and environmental education in the unique Carolina bay lakes region and within the 35,975-acre Bladen Lakes State Forest.

  • South Mountains State Park

    South Mountains State Park

    In one of the state's most rugged areas, South Mountains State Park features elevations to 3,000 feet, an 80-foot waterfall, mountain streams and more than 40 miles of trails for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. A true backcountry experience is offered at 24 backpacking campsites at seven locations.

  • Stone Mountain State Park

    Stone Mountain State Park

    The massive granite dome at Stone Mountain State Park keeps watch on park visitors enjoying nearly every type of outdoor activity - camping, hiking, climbing, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding and more. There are more than 18 miles of trails, matched by more than 20 miles of designated trout waters in this park that spreads below the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  • Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve

    Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve

    Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve is a unique window onto the longleaf pine forests that once covered millions of acres in the southeastern U.S. The towering pines - some of them hundreds of years old - tower over expanses of wiregrass and rare and intriguing species, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, pine barrens tree frog, bog spicebush, fox squirrel and myriad wildflowers.

  • William B. Umstead State Park

    William B. Umstead State Park

    Hikers, trail runners, bicyclists and equestrians cherish the extensive network of hiking and multi-use trails at William B. Umstead State Park. Trailheads on both sides of the park-accessible from Interstate 40 and US 70-surround three manmade lakes.