North Carolina

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Carolina Beach

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/cabe/main.php

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. Located in an area steeped in both history and natural diversity, the park includes a visitor's center with exhibits depicting the wonders of its environment. Visit Carolina Beach State Park to relax, enjoy nature or embark on an eye-opening adventure.

Carvers Creek

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/cacr/main.php

Authorized by the General Assembly in 2005, Carvers Creek State Park in Cumberland County is in the early stages of development for public use. A master plan is being prepared for what will be North Carolina’s 36th state park and will likely encompass more than 4,000 acres.

Chimney Rock

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/chro/main.php

In 2005, the N.C. General Assembly authorized a new state park in the scenic Hickory Nut Gorge area of western Rutherford and the surrounding counties of Polk, Henderson and Buncombe. The unit was designated as Chimney Rock State Park shortly after the state had acquired Chimney Rock Park, a private nature park surrounding the striking 315-foot spire on the gorge’s southern side.

Cliffs of the Neuse

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/clne/main.php

At the turn of the century visitors flocked to the area. They drank mineral water from local springs to cure their ills and they took riverboat excursions to the cliffs. Things have changed since then, however, the cliffs remain virtually unaltered, standing as a journal of the geological and biological history of the land. Look down this spectacular formation to the river far below, now protected within the boundaries of Cliffs of the Neuse State Park.

Crowders Mountain

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/crmo/main.php

Raptors soar gracefully in the wind; vegetation reaches to the sky; sheer vertical cliffs drop 150 feet. Enjoy the spectacle from a front-row seat. High atop Crowders Mountain, the second highest point in Gaston County, views stretch for more than 25 miles.

Dismal Swamp

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/disw/main.php

Feel your daily stresses melt away as you cross the historic Dismal Swamp Canal and walk along the 2000-foot boardwalk into this geological wonder. Experience first hand the lush swamp forest and get up-close and personal with the wide variety of wildlife.

Elk Knob

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/elkn/main.php

Elk Knob State Park is one of the newest additions to the North Carolina state parks system. Currently, it is in an interim development stage with a park office/contact station, picnic area, parking areas, and trail to the summit of Elk Knob, with plans to add a maintenance facility and road improvements. At this time, visitors can hike to the summit by following a newly constructed trail most of the way and then taking an old dirt road the last 200 yards to the summit.

Eno River

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/enri/main.php

Minutes from Durham, Hillsborough, and Chapel Hill the Eno River State Park offers secluded wilderness trails with the serenity of a clear river drifting and cascading over a rocky stream bed. The Eno River is a swift, shallow stream flowing from northwest Orange County into Durham County for 33 miles where it joins the Flat River to become the Neuse and flows into Falls Lake. Its waters roll through wilderness, passing historic mill sites, river bluffs covered with flowering shrubs, and fords used by early settlers.

Falls Lake

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/fala/main.php

Hours of relaxation await you at Falls Lake State Recreation Area. Just moments away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Falls Lake is a great way to escape urban life. With a 12,000-acre lake and 26,000 acres of woodlands, Falls Lake State Recreation Area offers a choice of recreation areas Beaverdam, B.W. Wells, Highway 50, Holly Point, Rolling View, Sandling Beach and Shinleaf.

Fort Fisher

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/fofi/main.php

Enjoy a leisurely day at the ocean shore. Comb the beach for sea stars, keyhole urchins and whelk shells. Or, simply lie back on the sand and enjoy the aerial acrobatics of seagulls, terns and brown pelicans as they soar above the waves. You may want to venture into the mud flats and marshes to watch sandpipers and other shorebirds as they search for food. Learn about endangered species. Loggerhead sea turtles, piping plovers and other rare species nest along this sandy shore. Explore the North Carolina coast; visit Fort Fisher State Recreation Area. This stretch of pristine shoreline offers many enjoyable activities.

Fort Macon

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/foma/main.php

Fort Macon offers public access to the surf, sun and sand of the Crystal Coast—as well as a historic landmark. Located at the eastern end of Bogue Banks, one of a series of barrier islands along the North Carolina coast, the park is surrounded on three sides by water—the Atlantic Ocean, Beaufort Inlet and Bogue Sound. This area of undisturbed natural beauty is the perfect place to explore salt marshes and estuaries vital to the coastal ecosystem.

Goose Creek

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/gocr/main.php

Giant, old oaks draped in Spanish moss welcome you to this special world where broad, lazy Goose Creek joins the Pamlico River. A primitive camping area, picnic sites, swim beach and hiking and paddling trails offer a variety of ways to savor the tranquil surroundings at Goose Creek State Park. Goose Creek is conveniently located between historic Bath and the original Washington.

Gorges

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/gorg/main.php

Plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, sheer rock walls and one of the greatest concentrations of rare and unique species in the eastern United States are found within Gorges State Park. An elevation that rises 2,000 feet in only four miles, combined with rainfall in excess of 80 inches per year, creates a temperate rain forest and supports a collection of waterfalls.

Grandfather Mountain

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/grmo/main.php

In 2008, agreement was reached for the state parks system to acquire 2,456 acres along the crest of Grandfather Mountain to become North Carolina newest state park. The property is commonly known as the backcountry of the famous travel destination.The purchase completes a long-held vision of Grandfather Mountain Inc. and the Morton family (the heirs of company founder Hugh Morton) to guarantee the mountains continued preservation. The acquisition was arranged with the help of The Conservation Fund and The Nature Conservancy, which holds conservation easements on the mountain covering nearly 4,000 acres. The acquisition was financed by the Parks and Recreation and Natural Heritage trust funds.In early 2009, the General Assembly formally authorized Grandfather Mountain State Park. This gives the state parks system the option of seeking additional acreage for traditional park facilities. Any additional tracts or facilities would be identified and prescribed through a public master planning process.Grandfather Mountain AttractionThe Grandfather Mountain attraction will continue to operate as it has since the 1950s, alongside the new state park but under the continued private management of Grandfather Mountain Inc. The attraction's admission fees continue to provide visitors the grand vistas from the mile-high swinging bridge, and access to the park's nature center, wildlife habitats and other amenities. Popular events, such as the Highland Games and the Singing on the Mountain will still be held at the attraction.Complete information about the attraction, its activities and events can be found at www.grandfather.com.As a way to guarantee that Grandfather Mountain will remain in its current state forever and assure the public continued access to its peaks, the owners of the attraction have decided to actively pursue the conversion of the company to a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit entity.The acquisition agreement gives North Carolina a conservation easement on the 749 acres where the attraction is located. However at this time, the state parks system has no management responsibilities for the Grandfather Mountain attraction and its facilities.

Hammocks Beach

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/habe/main.php

Venture to Bear Island and reward yourself with vivid memories of one of the most unspoiled beaches on the Atlantic coast. Accessible only by passenger ferry or private boat, there's just one thing at Hammocks Beach that's crowded—the list of things to do.

Hanging Rock

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/haro/main.php

Not far from the cities of the Triad area, off the four-lane highways there's another North Carolina to be discovered sheer cliffs and peaks of bare rock, quiet forests and cascading waterfalls, views of the piedmont plateau that stretch for miles.

Haw River

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/hari/main.php

Authorized by the General Assembly in 2003, the Haw River State Park is in the early stages of development for future public use.

Jockey's Ridge

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/jori/main.php

There are many reasons why millions of people visit Jockey's Ridge State Park. Some come to see the tallest sand dune on the Atlantic coast; others come for the spectacular sunsets.

Jones Lake

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/jone/main.php

Venture to Jones Lake State Park and view one of the greatest geological mysteries of the eastern United States—the phenomenon of the Carolina bays. Adjacent to the Bladen Lakes State Forest and home of two natural lakes, Jones and Salters lakes, the 2,208-acre park is a nature lover's delight. Peaceful surroundings and a variety of facilities, including a trail with several outlooks that circles Jones Lake, make this state park a favorite for hiking, picnicking, swimming, fishing and camping.

Jordan Lake

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/jord/main.php

Imagine relaxing in a cove, listening to the sounds of water rippling. Then, you feel a firm tug on your fishing line. It's going to be a big one! Picture the surface of the lake glistening, water spraying your face, the boat motor ahead roaring. Suddenly, your skis give way — a splash landing! Hear the laughter of children, smell burgers roasting over a charcoal fire, feel a breeze blowing through the campground. With almost 14,000 acres of water, all this and more is yours to discover at Jordan Lake. The NC Division of Parks and Recreation operates nine recreation areas on the lake — Crosswinds Campground, Ebenezer Church, Parker's Creek, Poplar Point, Seaforth, Vista Point, Robeson Creek, New Hope Overlook, and White Oak Recreation Area. Whether you're looking for fun in the sun or an evening under the stars, Jordan Lake offers it all.

Kerr Lake

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/kela/main.php

Set a course for Kerr Lake State Recreation Area to enjoy sailing, fishing, water skiing and camping. This 50,000-acre, man-made lake is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and landlubbers alike. The lake is situated in the northeast corner of the Piedmont region and lies in both Virginia and North Carolina. The recreation area's headquarters are located north of Henderson at Satterwhite Point. More than 800 miles of wooded shoreline provide access to a variety of fun-filled activities on the lake. Relax and enjoy water sports at any of the seven recreation areas operated by the NC Division of Parks and Recreation along this expansive reservoir.

Lake James

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/laja/main.php

Tucked away in rolling hills at the base of Linville Gorge is Lake James, a 6,510-acre lake with more than 150 miles of shoreline. This impressive waterway is the centerpiece of Lake James State Park. Here, nature offers scenic vistas of the Appalachian Mountains and beckons to those with an appetite for recreation.

Lake Norman

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/lano/main.php

At Lake Norman State Park, fun is just a matter of scale. On one hand, there's the largest manmade lake in the state, Lake Norman. When filled to capacity, its surface area is 32,510 acres with a shoreline of 520 miles and a main channel 34 miles in length — thus its nickname, the "Inland Sea." Thirteen miles of the shoreline are in the state park, which provides boating access.

Lake Waccamaw

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/lawa/main.php

The cool, tea-colored waters at first appear similar to other lakes in the area, but Lake Waccamaw is one of the most unique bodies of water in the world. You will find here species of animals found nowhere else on the planet, rare plants and endangered animals.

Lumber River

http://www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/luri/main.php

The Lumber River flows through the south-central portion of our state. The river's headwaters are in Montgomery, Moore, Richmond and Scotland counties where the waterway is known as Drowning Creek. The creek becomes a river at SR 1412/1203 along the Scotland-Hoke county line, and its waters flow into South Carolina, eventually joining the Little Pee Dee River.
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