Summer is just around the corner, and with the earliest possible Memorial Day and the latest possible Labor Day, there are 15 exciting weeks of summer this year!! That means even more time to explore all that beautiful North Carolina has to offer during this extended season of possibilities! With long, warm summer nights just a few days away, I couldn’t help but day dream about all the fun that was ahead.

So pack your bags and hit the coast where people of all ages can learn how to surf the emerald green waters of Wrightsville Beach or Topsail Island or take a historical excursion and visit charming New Bern, where you can tour the birthplace of Pepsi!

If you like waterfalls, then planning a trip to Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina should definitely be on your bucket list! With so many hikes to chose from and so many breathtakingly gorgeous waterfalls, what are you waiting for? Check out a recent blog post I wrote to see my favorite waterfall hikes in Blue Ridge.

If beating the heat with a smile on your face is your thing, check out the U.S. National Whitewater Center where your entire family can raft, bike and climb your way to lasting memories. This $38 million whitewater park is the largest in the world and home to the U.S. Olympic team. You don’t have to be a medal-holder to take a guided raft trip on the challenging, 3/4-mile, artificial recirculating whitewater river, though. Alongside are mountain-biking and running trails, a climbing center, ropes courses, ziplines and a canopy tour.

And if you covet a respite from the heat, revel in an even more refreshing option like Transylvania County where you can enjoy a heart-racing slide down Sliding Rock into refreshing mountain waters or a romantic trek to any of the area’s 250 idyllic waterfalls.

Lastly, I suggest you join the millions who have walked across the famed Mile High Swinging Bridge — so named because the 228-foot suspension bridge with steel cables is a mile above sea level and spans an 80-foot chasm. On the way up are marked viewing areas to see bears, cougar, deer, eagles and more in their natural habitats. You can even watch playful otters above in the open and below in an aquarium-like viewing area!

 

Where will summer take you this year?