From rugged mountain peaks and lush forests to pristine beaches and cityscapes, there are plenty of opportunities to get active in North Carolina and South Carolina. Take advantage of the diversity of the terrain to plan one of these eight outdoor adventures. Driving? You may even be able to hit up a few adventures in one trip!
1. Catch a rapid in Charlotte
Passengers paddle to navigate the whitecaps while rafts careen down class II to IV rapids at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, home of the largest man-made whitewater river in the world. The rapids can be adjusted for families and experienced rafters. Sign up for rodeo rafting for a real wet and wild adventure.
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2. Dive into history in Myrtle Beach
Several ships lie on the ocean floor off the coast of Myrtle Beach. Dive shops can arrange tours to explore the underwater graves of vessels like The Sherman, a 200-foot blockade-runner that engaged in battle during the Civil War or the JELL II, a cargo ship once used to run drugs. The shipwrecks serve as artificial reefs that attract abundant marine life.
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3. Ride off into the sunset in Asheville
The storied Biltmore Estate is an equestrian’s dream. More than 80 miles of trails wind through estate grounds. The onsite stables offer guided trail rides through woodlands and across open pastures with phenomenal views of America’s largest home. For an unforgettable experience, book a private trail ride with a picnic lunch.
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4. Learn to surf in Hilton Head Island
Hang ten off the coast of Hilton Head Island. Surf schools teach the basics of paddling into a wave, balancing and riding a surfboard to shore, offering a mix of land-based lessons and practice time in the ocean. Experienced surfers can rent equipment from one of many outfitters on the island.
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5. Explore on two wheels in Greenville
Rent a bike and ride along the popular 21-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail, stopping for a picnic on the banks of the Reedy River. Or, pedal through picturesque downtown Greenville, checking out the art galleries, boutiques and restaurants that helped the Southern city earn accolades as one of America’s Best Downtowns by Forbes.
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6. Strike a pose in Chapel Hill
The Triangle might be known for its universities and research parks but it’s also home to Jordan Lake where adventurous yogis can take their practice to the next level during SUP yoga classes through LYF SUP. The popular classes combine yoga and standup paddleboarding, testing balance by doing poses like downward dog while floating on the water.
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7. Hit the trail in Greensboro
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore some of the hiking trails winding across Greensboro. The city boasts 42 miles of trails, including the West House Trail, a one-mile trail that ends at an historic home called the West House built between 1815 and 1820 featuring rare Flemish Bond brickwork.
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8. Golf an Arnold Palmer course in Raleigh
Just 20 minutes from Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the Lonnie Poole Golf Course is a city favorite. Enjoy Raleigh skyline views on the Arnold Palmer Design Company course, situated on North Carolina State University’s campus. The Audubon-certified links — which facilitate turf grass and storm water research for NC State — offer a challenge to seasoned pros and leisure players alike.
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