Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean on its eastern side and bordered by four other states, North Carolina is blessed with some incredibly beautiful state parks.
Showcasing amazing landscapes that range from towering mountains and verdant forest to shimmering lakes and raging rivers, they represent perfect places to get away from the pressures of city life.
If you are the kind of person who likes to escape to nature every now and again, this selection of 5 of the best state parks near Winston-Salem will provide you with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreational activities.
This includes the likes fishing, swimming, hiking, kayaking and camping. All of which are available in abundance.
Map of State Parks Near Winston-Salem NC
Here is a map of the North Carolina state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Winston-Salem
These five state parks below are all located within easy driving distance of Winston-Salem. We highly recommend you go check them out, the next time you need some rest and relaxation.
1. Pilot Mountain State Park
Location: 1792 Pilot Knob Park Rd, Pinnacle, NC 27043
Lying just 20 miles northwest of Winston-Salem, Pilot Mountain State Park traverses both Surry and Yadkin Counties. Covering some 3782-acres, it incorporates the imposing peak of Pilot Mountain which stands some 2241 foot high.
Numerous hiking trails will take you around the mountain base and along the Yadkin River. While rock climbing and rappelling are allowed at certain parts of the park’s soaring cliffs.
Towards the lower slopes there are 42 spots for tent and trailer camping, scattered among the oak and hickory trees. Whilst there are also two paddle-in campsites along the river section for those who want to spend a night under the stars by it.
Two of North Carolina’s most popular state trails – the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail and the Yadkin River paddle trail – encompass some aspect of the park. Whilst there is also a fascinating visitor center too, with exhibits that showcase the cultural and natural history of the area.
2. Stone Mountain State Park
Location: 3042 Frank Pkwy, Roaring Gap, NC 28668
Incorporating some 14,353-acres that surrounds a spectacular granite dome, Stone Mountain State Park is a haven for all kinds of outdoor recreational activities like camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, climbing and picnicking.
Boasting over 18 miles of trails, the park also features 20 miles of designated waters for trout fishing that sprawls across the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The onsite campground is open all year round and offers 90 sites, some of which come with utility hookups. As well as other backpacking and group campsites too.
If you want to try and scale the 600-foot face of the landmark granite mountain, you will need to get a rock climbing permit.
While those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground can check out the recently restored mountain farm that dates back to the mid-19th century. Or simply enjoy a picnic at one of the many scenic shelters dotted around the park.
3. Mayo River State Park
Location: 500 Old Mayo Park Rd, Mayodan, NC 27027
Just over 36 miles north of Winston-Salem lies the magnificent Mayo River State Park.
Covering 2,778-acres, it runs along the 16-mile corridor of the Mayo River and adjoins a state park in Virginia that shares the same name.
Featuring a quaint pavilion-style picnic shelter, as well as a small picnic area, the 400-acre Mayo Mountain access acts as park’s current headquarters. You will also find plenty of hiking trails that will enable you to explore the park in more details, as well as fishing ponds, and restrooms.
One of these trails will take you to the stunning waterfall on Fall Creek, while others will take you to spots by the Mayo River where you can paddle or picnic.
Group camping is available for organized groups if you pre-book.
4. Hanging Rock State Park
Location: 1790 Hanging Rock Park Rd, Danbury, NC 27016
Only 30 miles north of Winston-Salem lies the stunning 9,011-acre Hanging Rock State Park.
A very popular park, it accommodates over 20 miles of hiking, mountain biking and horse trails which take you all round the park, including to remote waterfalls and rugged outcrops that provide magnificent views of both the mountains and the piedmont.
Fishing is available all year round on the Dan River and at the lake, while kayaking, canoeing, tubing and swimming is available in season too.
The park has a 73-site tent and trailer campground set out within two one-way loops, one of which has wheelchair accessible. Each campsite is also equipped with a grill, picnic table and tent pad that can fit up to six people in two tents.
While some of these sites can accommodate RVs, there is no dump station or hook ups here. Be aware that if you want to camp here, you must have a reservation.
5. Lake Norman State Park
Location: 759 State Park Rd, Troutman, NC 28166
Lying about 66 miles southwest of Winston-Salem is Lake Norman State Park.
Previously known as the Duke Power State Park, it takes the form of the largest manmade lake in North Carolina. Encompassing 1942-acres, the park resides on the northern shore of Lake Norman, at the mouth of Hicks Creek.
Offering over 30 miles of single track, it is renowned for having one of the most popular networks of mountain bike trails in the state. There is also a small, 125 yard long beach here for those who fancy a dip in the summer, as well as a bathhouse complex. While a nearby boat ramp provides plenty of opportunities for fishing.
Overall, the campground here has 44 sites. Of these 12 have hookups for water, as well as between 30 and 50 amp electricity and sewer too. All of them have paved picnic or tent pads, a fire ring with a cover and also a table.
In addition, the campground provides a well-equipped and modern community building with kitchen facilities, clean restrooms and fireplace, which can be rented as required.
While at the visitor center, there are also free interpretive programs and exhibits along the child-friendly Dragonfly Trail.