I’ve lived in NC for about 15 years now since moving from Florida in 2006 and while there is so much to do in this beautiful state no matter the season, after exploring and venturing out myself, here are some of which I found to be among the most exciting things to do in the Spring. From the beautiful gardens in bloom to nature’s picturesque, breathtaking beauty to outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
My top 5 picks for spring
THE BILTMORE ESTATE – The Biltmore Estate is a must visit in the Spring. You’ll not only experience the crisp, cool mountain fresh air, unique dining, outdoor activities, and meticulous natural landscapes on the Biltmore grounds, you’ll fall in love with the beautiful Biltmore gardens in full bloom. It’s one of the most magical places you’ll ever visit. It’s like something you see out of a storybook!
One of my favorite things to do here is take the winery and wine tasting tour after taking a tour of the house itself which is something you have to do at least once. So much history lives here. Then, chill on the patio while listening to live music. So much fun!
They keep adding to the estate grounds so there is always something fun and new to explore if you decide to go back.
DAVESTE VINEYARDS – This is one of my favorite wineries local to Charlotte. I’ve been here quite a few times and absolutely love it!
Between the beautiful landscaped setting and the rustic, timber frame-style tasting room that makes you feel like you’re nestled in the mountains somewhere in a log home cabin, you’ll find yourself relaxing to the sounds of nature as you sip and savor the moment. They also have live bands to just chill and relax to after your guided wine tasting (glass included!) or you can take a vineyard tour that includes a sneak peak of their barrel room and their wine making process.
It’s a perfect way to enjoy your Sunday afternoon! The last time I was here was Mother’s Day a couple of years ago and it was one of the best days ever. I’m thinking it’s time for another Daveste trip!
They usually have a Groupon you can use so be sure to check before you go. Otherwise, you can just purchase your ticket when you get there or explore other winery Groupons in the area. These Groupons come in handy! 🙂
AIRLIE GARDENS IN WILMINGTON – If there is one thing I love, it’s history. I love learning where things come from and how things develop and evolve. Airlie Gardens is one of them. The history of the gardens dates back to 1545 when the Airlie oak began to take root. Fast forward, it became one of the most flocked to gardens in the Wilmington area and is known for its history and natural beauty. It aims to provide the local residents and visitors a cultural and environmental experience they’ll never forget.
The first time I visited the historic garden was with Melissa (my daughter) when she was in college at UNCW. It was such a magical experience. I’m looking forward to going back at the end of this month!Be sure to explore their events and sign up before they fill up. Their yoga and meditation walk would be perfect amidst these magical gardens. Keep in mind though that because of limited capacity due to covid, spots do fill up fast.
STONE MOUNTAIN STATE PARK – If you like hiking, Stone Mountain is the place to go. It’s one of my faves right next to South Mountains State Park. It’s not super crowded and if your timing is good, you’ll get to experience the roaming wildlife like I did the first time I visited. It was one of the most beautiful experiences I ever had. Being able to get so close to deer and roaming elk was amazing. What I love about Stone Mountain are the steep stairs for those who like a more strenuous hike like me! But, it also has less intense trails for the novice hiker.
The park also has amazing streams and waterfalls with seating and viewing areas for you to sit back and absorb the views. If you like rock climbing, they have that too but not for beginners and something you would have to do at your own risk. They do have huge boulders at the base of the granite dome you can have fun with if you’d like as well. Something the child in me loves to do! Just make sure you don’t leave home without your backpack, snacks and water bottle because you’ll need it!
Make sure you take your picnic basket or picnic backpack for a lunch spot in the wide open grass field that overlooks the dome and your camera for some shots you won’t want to miss out capturing. I use my GoPro for trips like this because they capture some of the best angles you wouldn’t otherwise get with your phone or camera. You can also find picnic tables and trees to sit under if the sun is too much. But don’t leave before taking a walk through the historic mountain homestead that takes you back in time to the days when families of English, German, Irish, French and Scotch-Irish descent settled in the area after building up a self-sufficient community of log homes, farms, mills, churches and schools.
Fun historical fact: Stone Mountain was protected from granite mining and established as North Carolina’s 13th state park in 1969. It became a designated National Natural Landmark in 1975.
LAKE LURE – This hidden gem is only about 1-½ hours west of Charlotte and an absolute must! Whether you’re just looking to escape the daily hustle and bustles for the day or if you’re looking for a nice weekend outdoor getaway, the quaint historical village of Chimney Rock will make you feel like you’re in a whole new world. This little town borders the Rocky Broad River lined with cool little shops and stops you’ll have fun getting into.
If you love the outdoors, you’re going to love the Lake Lure area. Not only is it beautiful, there is so much to do here! You can visit Chimney Rock State Park for some hiking fun, do some rock climbing, and after you’re done strolling through the gift shop, sit back and enjoy some down-home North Carolina music by the park’s entertainer, John Mason.
If you want to skip the park, there’s always camping, kayaking and paddleboarding which is what Melissa and I did some years back when we stayed at Hickory Nut Falls Family Campground in a site right alongside the river. There’s nothing like relaxing by a campfire while listening to nature and the sounds of the river flowing and crashing against the rocks. Even better falling asleep and waking up to it! So therapeutic. I’m thinking it’s time to go back!
We also paddle-boarded with a Groupon we found from a rental company just outside of town. They don’t seem to be open anymore but you can always rent a board from the Lake Lure Adventure Company.
I’m no newbie to paddle-boarding but never in the mountains so it was such an amazing experience. If you’ve never done paddle boarding, I highly encourage you to give it a try. It’s so much fun and relaxing. Be sure to also check out the Flowering Bridge. It’s one of a kind and something you’ll want to do before you leave.
Fun Fact: Several areas of Lake Lure were used in the filming of the 1987 classic film Dirty Dancing! While here filming many of the cast and production team lodged at the beautiful 1927 Lake Lure Inn and Spa, where you can book the exact same rooms that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey stayed in while filming.
Come back in September for the Dirty Dancing Festival! 😉
I know I said 5, but I found it difficult to wrap it up without mentioning the U.S. National Whitewater Center which is just outside of Charlotte and perfect for the outdoor adventurer with all kinds of outdoor activities from zip-lining to mountain biking to hiking to whitewater rafting to kayaking to paddleboarding and so much more!
Have a favorite NC activity you like to do in the Spring? Let me know in the comments below!
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