Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to weather out the season in your home. Instead, get out and see all that North Carolina has to offer. From museums to outdoor activities to festivals, there’s something for everyone throughout the Tar Heel State. Here are just a few suggestions to consider for your next outing.
1. Take a Tour of the USS North Carolina
Moored along the Cape Fear River across from downtown Wilmington, the USS North Carolina is one of the most interesting museums and historical sites in the country. Built by the U.S. Navy during World War II, this battleship earned 15 battle stars in the Pacific, making it the most decorated warship in American history. For the history buff, it’s a must. If it’s mild outside you can walk along the deck of the ship, or if it’s cold, head inside. The museum is open 365 days a year and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m from September to May.
2. See Some Oddities at the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival
If you haven’t been to Asheville, you’re missing out on one of the strangest, quirkiest, and yet most inviting cities in the country. Keeping Asheville weird is part of the city’s mantra, and the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival is a testament to that goal. Since 2002, this festival has showcased the work of musicians, artists, and other performers from the city. Ticket prices vary depending on the event, and the festival takes place Jan. 26 through Jan. 29, 2017.
3. Raleigh WinterFest
The Fringe Arts Festival isn’t the only spectacular cultural event during winter in North Carolina. At the Raleigh WinterFest, people from around the state celebrate the season with fun-filled activities, performances, and even an outdoor skating rink that’s open for two months. Plus, everything’s 100 percent free, further adding to the appeal.
4. Hit the Slopes
Although states out west get the most accolades for top-notch skiing, North Carolina has a surprising amount of ski areas that are perfect for beginners, intermediates, and experts alike. Nearly all the resorts are situated among the Appalachian Mountains, providing amazing views and superb slopes at the same time. If you aren’t into skiing or snowboarding, snow tubing is another popular activity that doesn’t require much physical prowess or talent. Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, and Cataloochee are three of the top-rated ski resorts in the state.
5. Go Hiking in a State Park
Even if the temperature is freezing, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy North Carolina’s scenic natural backdrop. With 41 state parks, there’s always somewhere to go for a hike and to soak up the views. Just outside Asheville, Pisgah National Forest is one of the best hikes. However, if you don’t feel like getting out of the comfort of a heater, take a nice drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The views are unbeatable, and you can go for a day or an entire weekend.
Although winter is sometimes gloomy and depressing, these activities are guaranteed to put you in a good mood and light the way to the spring ahead. Don’t miss out.