If that wasn’t reason enough to jump in your car for an impromptu weekend getaway, the state parks near Asheville also provide guests with top-notch activities and adventure sports for a state-of-the-art camping experience.
Not sure where to begin? These five state parks, including the ecologically rich Grandfather Peak State Park and the mountain biking paradise that is the Lake Norman State Park, will undoubtedly be excellent choices.
Map of State Parks Near Asheville NC
Here is a map of the North Carolina state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Asheville
Here is the list of five exceptional state parks near Asheville, North Carolina. We’ve included a brief detailed description of each park, so you know what to expect.
1. Crowders Mountain State Park
Location: 522 Park Office Ln, Kings Mountain, NC 28086
Crowders Mountain State Park is a 5,217-acre park with two companion peaks — the Pinnacle and Crowders mountain, the latter of which offers spectacular views of the surrounding Piedmont, making it a popular weekend getaway for rock climbers.
The park features 11 trails of varying difficulties, including the strenuous 6.2-mile Ridgeline Trail that allows hikers to travel between two states and the 4.5-mile Crowder’s Trail that winds along the base of its namesake mountain and takes visitors through rocky terrains adorned with wildflowers and breathtaking views.
Birdwatchers will be delighted by the wide variety of resident species that call the park their home, which includes songbirds and birds of prey.
There is also a nine-acre lake with plenty of fishing opportunities and paddling activities, with rentals available.
You can also avail of the park’s tent sites with amenities such as an amphitheater and picnic shelters for a pleasant, family-friendly camping experience.
2. Grandfather Mountain State Park
Location: 9872 Highway 105 South, Banner Elk, NC 28604
Grandfather Peak State Park is home to a beautiful mountain that stands at 5,945 feet and offers hikers challenging terrain along the cliffs along with excellent views of the surrounding area. Remember that the area is known for its harsh weather, so proceed with caution.
Because of its exceptional ecological diversity, the park has been designated as a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve. And if you enjoy bird watching, this state park is home to 200 kinds of birds and will quickly become one of your favorites. It also takes you to wildlife habitats where you can observe cougars, bears, and other animals.
The park has 13 miles of hiking trails ranging from mild climbs to strenuous treks. The Grandfather Trail, for example, is a difficult trail where you have to use ropes and ladders that will offer your body a solid workout.
The park also has the country’s highest suspension footbridge, positioned above sea level, that offers 360-degree panoramic views of the mountains below. There’s a fee to use the bridge.
The state park features ADA-accessible park offices, parking, and restrooms, as well as tent sites, group tent sites, and firewood for camping. It also has more than 100 picnic tables with grills distributed throughout the area for convenient picnicking for families.
3. Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Location: 300 W Carolista Dr, Nags Head, NC 27959
The 427-acre Jockey’s Ridge State Park is a haven for nature and adventure enthusiasts alike. It is home to the Atlantic coast’s tallest sand dune system, providing spectacular views and pleasant weather, tempting you to take a break from your busy life and appreciate nature in all its glory.
The park also features a hang-gliding school for adrenaline junkies. For a more instructive and educational state park experience, visitors can also avail themselves of the on-site interactive museum to experience wetland habitats.
The park’s main access offers a 1-mile hike, picnic areas, and other activities, but the park’s second access is where the real fun happens. It features kiteboarding and windsurfing opportunities, as well as plenty of options to relax and cool off in the Roanoke Sound. The Roanoke Sound also acts as a hatchery for croakers, blue crabs, and other types of freshwater and saltwater fishes.
The park is only open for day use, so there are no campgrounds, although there are several rental options nearby. The park also offers other amenities such as sandboard rentals, a foot rinse station, and picnic shelters as well as a wheelchair-accessible visitor center, parking, and restrooms. Those with mobility issues can also contact the park office to request an all-terrain vehicle ride to the top of the dune.
4. Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
Location: 280 State Park Road, Apex, NC 27523
Jordan Lake State Recreation Area, which covers 4,558 acres, has something to offer to everyone.
The state park includes two swimming beaches, three boat ramps, one canoe launch, and a privately run marina that hires out fishing boats, kayaks, and paddleboards to make water sports more accessible. There are 15 miles of hiking paths in the park that provide spectacular views of the area as well as a glimpse into its flora and fauna.
If you’d rather sit back and birdwatch, the park’s magnificent Jordan lake, one of the largest summertime homes for bald eagles, also comes with an observation platform. It also has picnic areas where you can have a family lunch while being surrounded by peaceful, beautiful nature.
The park has over 1,000 campsites spread across five park access areas, accommodating tents, trailers, and RVs, many offering electric and water hookups. There are also dump stations, showers, bathhouses, and firewood available, as well as ADA-accessible parking and restrooms at each entrance to provide more convenience to visitors.
5. Lake Norman State Park
Location: 759 State Park Rd, Troutman, NC 28166
Sprawled across 1,952 acres, Lake Norman State Park is a recreational enthusiast’s ideal paradise.
The Itusi Trail is the most popular mountain biking path system in the area, with over 31 miles of single-track trail. Hikers of all levels will enjoy the gorgeous 6-mile Lake Shore Trail as well as the 0.8-mile Alder Trail. There are also picnic shelters where you may spend some quality time with your family.
The park is also home to the state’s largest man-made lake, a perfect spot for fishing, swimming, and canoeing. There’s also a 125-yard sandy beach where you can sunbathe. The park provides boat ramps and boat, kayak, canoe, and paddleboard rentals for a top-notch boating experience.
Visitors can access camper cabins and tent sites as well as trailer and RV sites (some with water, electric, and sewer hookups) and facilities like a dump station, showers, and firewood for a truly enjoyable camping experience. To make the park more accessible for persons with mobility issues, the park offers several ADA-accessible amenities and facilities, as well as a beach wheelchair to rent for free.
Asheville, NC, is a popular city that welcomes thousands of visitors each year. Apart from its local, cultural, and historic attractions, the city’s easy access to numerous state parks offers the perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy picturesque views from the most serene parks. A visit to any of these stunning state parks near Asheville might just become your perfect weekend trip.