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Archive for the ‘Things to Do Outside’ Category

Pick Your Own Flower Farms: Charlotte, NC

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Would you like to visit a flower farm in Charlotte, NC to pick your own flowers? If you’re looking for u-pick flowers in Charlotte, NC, you’ve come to the right list. We have flower farms in Charlotte and flower farms within an easy day trip where you can pick everything from tulips to sunflowers. You can’t beat a fully blooming flower field when it comes to beauty, and many of these farms invite you to come and enjoy the fields, pick your flowers, and even hang around for a picnic. Go enjoy a beautiful spring day in a field of flowers. Try one of these u-pick flower farms near Charlotte, NC.

Pick your own flowers in Charlotte NC

Dewberry Farm: Pick Your Own Tulips & Sunflowers

Dewberry Farm is ready for its 7th annual U-pick Tulip, springtime farm events. They anticipate opening for tulip picking on March 25th, 2024. They also offer U-pick Sunflowers in the summertime. Both options are ticketed events, so you’ll need to get those u-pick tickets in advance. In 2023 tickets were $8 for adults and $5 for kids over age 2. Tulips were $1.25 each. We will update with 2024 prices when available. You can also follow the Dewberry Farm Facebook page for updates and current picking conditions.

  • Kernersville, NC (About 1 hour and 20 minutes from Charlotte, NC)
  • Spring and Summer Flowers
  • Dewberry Farm Website
  • Purchase tickets in advance

McLawland Farms: Sunflowers & Dahlias

McLawland Farms offers pick-your-own flowers in the summer by appointment. They offer sunflowers and dahlias as well as blackberries, blueberries, and figs when available. Look for summer flowers to be ready in June and July and fall flowers in October. The McLawland Farms Facebook page is a good place to check for field updates.

Aurora Flora: Pick Summer Blooms

Aurora Flora offers a quarter-acre garden of blooms you can pick yourself at their u-pick events on Saturdays which typically begin in May for the summer season. You’ll need to make a reservation before you visit to ensure the garden doesn’t get too crowded. Cut flower prices are $25 for a cup of 20-25 flowers, or $75 for a bulk bucket that holds 60-75 stems.

Curiosity Farm: Pick Tulips, Daffodils, Dahlias, and More

Located in Concord, NC, Curiosity Farm offers spring, summer, and fall you-pick options including tulips, anemones, daffodils in the spring, and dahlias in the summer and fall. This farm also offers cut bouquets and gardening classes at venues in the community. Follow Curiosity Farm on Facebook to see when they will begin their 2024 U-Pick Events, look for tulips, anemones, and daffodils starting in March! Prices vary by season, but in 2023 were $15-20 per jar of picked flowers in the spring.

Blackberry Ridge: Cut Your Own Flowers

Blackberry Ridge offers cut flower subscriptions as well as pick-your-own events in the spring and summer. In 2023 they offered tulips, snapdragons, sunflowers, dahlias, and more. Follow Blackberry Ridge on Facebook to see when they will open their field for you-pick.

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard: Spring Tulips

The apple farm you know and love also offers tulips in the spring! Pick your own spring tulips at Stepp’s Orchard. We visited this farm in 2023 and it was so gorgeous. Check the Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard Facebook page for tulip picking availability, but look for them to be open in March 2024.

Stepp's tulips

Jeter Mountain Farm: Pick Your Own Summer Blooms

Jeter Mountain Farm is an apple orchard, but they also offer u-pick zinnias in July and sunflowers in early August. That means if you time it right, you can pick your flowers, get apples, and enjoy a coffee on the farm, in one fabulous day trip. Don’t miss their fun (free) indoor play area! We love the wagon rides that bring you around the farm. The views are totally amazing as you approach the flower fields!

Jeter Mountain Farm

Thompson Family Farms

Thompson Family Farms offers cut-your-own tulips in early spring and sunflowers in summer. Follow the Thompson Family Farms Facebook page for updates. We got to experience picking flowers at Thompson Family Farm and we had such a lovely time. Here’s our review of Thompson Family Farms.

Check out our visit to Thompson Family Farm

Find more fun things to do in Charlotte, NC.

Spend the Day: Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park in Belmont, NC

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Are you thinking about a visit to Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park in Belmont, NC? With a recently updated playground and a beautiful riverfront location, this park has a lot to offer families and anyone who loves the outdoors. Put a kayak in the water, enjoy the wooden bench swings on the dock, or pack a picnic, whatever you choose you can make a full afternoon of fun out of your visit to Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park.

Playground at Riverfront Park in Belmont, NC

The Playground at Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park

The recently updated playground has a fun treehouse theme that my kids enjoyed, with lots of climbing structures and equipment for all ages. We absolutely love the solid ground cover and the ground-level equipment that make much of this playground accessible for all kids.

The playground is fully fenced, with a larger playground for older kids to one side, and a smaller climbing structure for younger kids on the other side. Swings take up the space in the middle.

Restrooms are conveniently located beside the playground just outside the fence and up the short path. You’ll also find a large pavilion here that can be rented out.

Playing at the playground, Riverfront Park in Belmont, NC

Picnic Spots

In addition to the large pavilion, there are two smaller picnic shelters that can be rented for your events in the park. They are spread out along the park’s sidewalk across from the playground with a view of the river through the trees.

Restrooms at Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park

If you don’t need a whole picnic shelter, there are several other spots where you can enjoy your picnic. Bring a blanket and spread it out on the grass beside the playground or head down to the dock and enjoy your meal from there.

View of the river at Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park

The Dock

The dock has both benches and wooden bench swings so there are plenty of places to sit, relax, and enjoy the view. When we visited this seemed to be one of the most popular spots in the park, and for good reason. It was quite beautiful and spacious.

If you like paddling, there is a wide dock where you can put a kayak, canoe, or even paddleboard to explore the river. Access to the Catawba River here is free.

More at Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park

This park also offers a short but paved walking trail that is accessible, perfect for taking in the river views after a bit of playtime or lunch. Plus, there’s an amphitheater for public events.

The annual event, RiverFest, is hosted annually in May at Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park with live music, kayaking, local vendors, food trucks, and more. In 2024, the event is scheduled for May 18th.

Swings at Riverfront Park

Village Park Kannapolis

Want to visit another awesome park? Check out Village Park in Kannapolis, NC.

5+ Places for FREE Sledding: Charlotte, NC

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Hoping for some snow for a little sledding? Charlotte, NC doesn’t get a lot of snow so if you’re tired of waiting, you can plan a totally free little day trip up to the mountains for some sledding. Really! These spots are just a couple of hours’ drive from Charlotte, and they are A LOT more likely to have snow.

Places for Snow sledding, Charlotte, NC

Of course, if you want a “guaranteed” snow-ish experience you can visit any of the snow tubing places near Charlotte, NC. But if there’s snow in the mountains, and you come armed with a sled and a good sense of fun (and maybe a thermos of hot cocoa and some favorite snacks) you can have a great time without spending any more money than the gas it takes to chase down that snow.

Check out these free sledding hills you can visit.

Free Sledding Hill in Beech Mountain, North Carolina

About 2 1/2 hours from Charlotte, NC

In addition to the Beech Mountain Ski Resort, the city offers a free sledding hill behind the Brick Oven Pizzeria at 110 Bark Park Way, Beech Mountain. This new sledding hill location is considered much safer than the previous hill behind the visitor’s center. There is more parking, the hill is fenced in, and there is no longer a power pole in the middle of the run. You’ll also find a bathroom and playground, so you can stay all day.

The Sledding Hill is open seven days a week, weather permitting. And, the city will often make snow for this hill, giving you lots more opportunities for sledding even if nature isn’t being cooperative. This is the only free sledding hill we know about that makes snow.

Blowing Rock, North Carolina Sledding

1 hour and 45 minutes from Charlotte, NC

Blowing Rock, North Carolina has several parks that offer a great opportunity for snow play!

Boone, North Carolina: Sledding Spots

2 hours from Charlotte, NC

Boone, NC sees a fair bit of snow, which means they have several parks used for winter fun. If snow is on the ground, these parks would be fun to visit for sledding. Of course Boone is a fun town for a day trip anyway, so just pack your sleds and boots and be ready for an adventure.

Check conditions before you go: Use the town of Boone’s webcam so you can check up on the snow status in real-time!

  • Moses H. Cone Memorial Park: Hills for sledding and even cross-country ski trails
  • Daniel Boone Park is a public park that offers sledding on Strawberry Hill. (Be sure to stop for a bathroom break before you head to the park because the restrooms are closed during the winter months.

Getting to some of these spots can be a challenge at times due to weather. The Blue Ridge Parkway often closes during inclement weather, making spots along this highway difficult to access.

But, this road closure can actually be really fun. When the road closes to traffic, it is open for walking, using snow shoes, and it even offers families a unique opportunity to sled right on the road. For road closure information, visit the Road Closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway page. To take a peek at what Milepost 241 on the Parkway looks like, head to the Bluffs Restaurant Webcam.

For more safety tips and info about The Blue Ridge Parkway in winter, head to the Blue Ridge Parkway Facebook page.

Brevard, North Carolina: Sledding Spots

2 1/2 hours from Charlotte, NC

Lots of Winter Family Fun at Black Bear Snow Tubing in Hendersonville, NC

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Are you thinking about snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing in Hendersonville, NC? Western North Carolina has great snow tubing and Black Bear Snow Tubing is a stellar option for families! They have a huge mountain to get your winter in high gear with a fun snow tubing trip for the whole family! We took a trip up to try out that snow-tubing mountain and it was so much fun! Now we have all the details to share so you can plan your trip!

Media tickets were provided for this review and the opinions are solely those of the author.

Snow tubing at Black Bear in Hendersonville, NC

While there aren’t any places to snow tube in the Upstate, SC, there are definitely options nearby and one of them is Black Bear Snow Tubing in nearby Hendersonville, NC, just over an hour from Greenville, SC. The snow tubing family-owned operation has been in business for over seven years and they really have a good thing going there, which I’m going to tell you all about in this story.

Scenes From the Slope

Take a sneak peek at this video at Black Bear Snow Tubing.

Snow Tubing at Black Bear

The slope at Black Bear Snow Tubing is 600 feet long with an 80-foot drop and it’s pretty fast. They make their own snow (unless they get a big snowstorm, which doesn’t happen too often) and the hill is well-maintained by their attentive staff.

How it works is that when you get to Black Bear, you go to a little shed to watch a short safety video, where you learn how to get out of your tube on the run and not to start snowball fights, sign a waiver, and head inside the cozy lodge to pay. Then you get your tubes and head to the hill.

They have a pulley system to get you to the top of the hill, which works by slipping the handle of your tube on a cable that takes you, while sitting inside your tube, right up the hill to the top. Once at the top, you’ll wait for a few minutes before being situated into your group by the staff and then sliding down the hill.

On the snow tube pully at Black Bear in Hendersonville, NC
Black Bear Snow Tubing Pulley System

Why Black Bear is Different

I’ve snow tubed at many places in our area and I think Black Bear Snow Tubing is pretty fantastic. Here’s why:

  • You can (and should) make a reservation ahead of time, which is crucial for us in Greenville who need to travel out of state to go snow tubing. It’s quite a bummer to get to our snow tubing place and either find out that they are sold out or having to wait hours for an open slot.
  • The staff is attentive and efficient. They were always around watching the hill to make sure things were running smoothly and safely. When there was a slight backup at the top of the hill, they figured out how to manage to get us all down the hill and back up to keep snow tubing without interruption.
  • The lodge is super cozy and warm and has reasonable concessions. I got a $2 hot chocolate and it was amazing. Plus, they have food, including apple cider donuts, that is affordable and you can get warm by the wood-burning stove inside or watch on the deck if you don’t want to go tubing.
  • The setup takes into account smaller kids. There is playground next to the place where you wait in line to go up the hill so smaller kids can get out their energy and there is a big fire pit also near the waiting area where you can warm up.
  • If you forgot a hat or gloves, they have them for sale inside the lodge. I feel like us parents can relate when our kid gets out of the car to go snow tubing and forgot his or her winter hat.
  • The check-in is fast. This is important because you want to get on the hill and start having fun as soon as possible!
  • Black Bear has excellent communication. They post daily on their Facebook page about current snow conditions, which is super helpful when you’re unsure about the weather.
  • The snow is real. They don’t have any synthetic chemicals in the snow – it’s the real deal.

My kids, ages 11 and 8, and I had such a blast snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing. We went down the hill about 10 times (maybe more, I lost count honestly) and had so much fun together. I really love places where adults can carelessly be kids again. My kids are already asking to go back. The hill was super fast and seeing my kids faces light up with joy was special. I love those moments.

Tips on How to Enjoy Snow Tubing at Black Bear

Winter being winter, it’s usually cold when you go snow tubing. I’ve found that bringing hand and foot warmers is a really good trick to keeping everyone warm and comfortable. You can get them at Wal-Mart, Amazon, or most drug stores and they stay warm for hours.

Sliding down in a tube at Black Bear Tubing

It’s also really important to make a reservation when you know you want to go snow tubing. This is especially true during school breaks and holidays. Snow tubing is an awesome family activity on a day off but a lot of people also have the same thought. Don’t forget to make a reservation.

You don’t need to wear snow bibs or snow pants. I had on fleece leggings, hiking boots, and a couple layers of tops with a heavy coat (it was really cold when we went!) and I was fine. I saw people wearing all kinds of clothes that worked for them like pants, leggings, jeans, and sweatpants. The snow wasn’t wet at all when we went but if you go on a warmer day, you may want to bring a change of pants in case they get wet.

There are port-a-potties outside the lodge to use and no bathrooms indoors.

Double-check Black Bear’s Facebook page before heading out. Snow tubing is very dependent on weather, which changes often in the mountains. They will post current conditions and if they are open or closed most days.

Ticket Prices and Policies at Black Bear Snow Tubing

Tickets are $30/hour or $40/two hours for snow tubing. Kids must be 4 years old in order to go snow tubing. You can either sign a waiver when you get to Black Bear Snow Tubing or print one out online ahead of time. Either is fine.

While Black Bear Snow Tubing does take walk-ups, it is much better to make a reservation ahead of time instead of getting there and finding out they are full. Online reservations are fantastic for this very reason so definitely make use of them.

And be sure to check Black Bear Snow Tubing’s Facebook page before heading out to double check they are open and running. Winter tubing runs mid-December through February usually depending on the weather, of course.

And if you want to tube during other times of the year, you totally can! They have warm-weather tubing in the fall.

Black Bear Snow Tubing
373 Kerr Road, Hendersonville, NC
828.685.1155

Want to spend the day in Hendersonville? We’ve got lots of ideas on what to do in this fun town!

Things to Do in Hendersonville, North Carolina

Hendersonville is full of family fun.
Check it out!

Kidding Around Guide to Hendersonville

Ride a Carousel & Train: Village Park in Kannapolis, NC

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Have you visited Village Park in Kannapolis, NC? Not only does this park have two amazing playgrounds and multiple picnic shelters, but you’ll also find North Carolina’s only double-decker carousel lit with 1800 lights! As if that weren’t enough, the park also has a real miniature train that families can ride around the park. Tickets for the carousel and train are very inexpensive. Topping all that off is a free holiday light display and seasonal events. We loved our visit to Village Park in Kannapolis and we have all the information for you!

Carousel at Village Green Park

Village Park Carousel

Manufactured in Italy, this carousel is the only double-decker carousel in North Carolina. It features over 1,800 lights, hand-painted murals, and traditional carousel music. The classic carousel is set beside a green space as you enter the park in its own covered shelter, making this park feel whimsical and inviting.

Tickets to ride the carousel at Village Park are $1.50.

Think your kids are too big? Think again. Even my preteens enjoyed a whirl on this carousel.

Village Park train

Village Park Train

The train shed at Village Park is located across from the carousel. From there, families can hop on board the rotary express train and ride around the park, past the splash pad, both playgrounds, and across the paved and shaded walking paths. The train is a g-24 scale replica CP Huntington engine.

Tickets to ride the rail at Village Park are $1.50. The train hours are seasonal, running weekends April through mid-October and daily in the summer. Find exact hours on the Kannapolis Parks website.

Purchase tickets for both the train and the carousel at the exterior window of the main building at the park’s entrance.

Village Park Playground

City of Kannapolis, Village Park Playgrounds

Climb high, bounce, swing, and slide at both of Village Park’s playgrounds. Located side by side, one playground is intended for the 5 and under crowd, while the other is meant for older kids. We loved the climbing options and long slides at this park!

Paved Walking Trails

Taking a walk or a run? The paved walking trails at Village Park and connected to other trails in the area could be just the right place for you. You can take the 2-mile loop between Village Park and Bakers Creek Park on the 8th Street Greenway and the Bakers Creek Greenway.

Greenway Trail Map

Free and Cheap Holiday Fun at Village Park in Kannapolis

We love FREE and low-cost holiday fun, and Villiage Park is packed with it. They have a totally free holiday light display with thousands of lights! Walk through the displays at your own pace for a magical holiday experience. Check out the FREE Holiday Lights at Village Park.

Or, if you want to turn it up a notch, book tickets for the park’s holiday train, the Winterland Express! Tickets are $2 per person. Ride the train through the park’s lights and see them in a whole new way. End your evening with a ride on the two-story carousel for just $2 per person.

Tree Lighting Celebration for the Holiday Season

The Kannapolis tree lighting at Village Park is one of the park’s most exciting events of the year! Thousands gather throughout the park on Saturday evening before Thanksgiving to see the park illuminated by 250,000 lights strung through trees, along buildings, and adorning the Christmas tree in the green space of the park. To kick off the Celebration of Lights, there is an annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Kannapolis Tree Lighting Ceremony at Village Park

The Tree Lighting Ceremony

When the ceremony begins, various speakers say a little about the past year and the year that is to come. Then, the crowd is introduced to Santa Claus himself! As he counts down with the crowd, the large Christmas tree illuminates as the crowd hits 1, along with dozens of LED Christmas trees that surround to tree. This creates a gorgeous display of color, and the crowd begins to move and weave through the trees, now bright with the Christmas spirit!

Where to Gather Your Family for the Tree Lighting Ceremony

You can sit pretty much anywhere in the circumference of the tree to get a good view. If you plan to ride the carousel, train, or visit Santa right after the lighting, I would recommend standing toward the back closer to the lines for those activities. The lines grow long quickly, so anything you can do to get you closer to the front of the line, the better. The train lines seem to be the longest of the three attractions, so if that is on your holiday bucket list, stay close to that line during the tree lighting ceremony.

You can also choose to stand closer to the main stage area to hear the wonderful messages from community leaders. Here, your kids will get an up-close view of Santa as he greets the park! There are also a few carols sung, and you are best able to hear and enjoy the thrill of the countdown here (it’s a little hard to hear once you get closer to the tree). 

Fireworks 

My family’s favorite part of the tree lighting ceremony was hands down the fireworks that immediately preceded the lights. The fireworks rose into the sky behind and to the left of the main stage, so we were able to position ourselves so that the fireworks rose into the sky right above the Christmas tree.

The fireworks display lasted around 5 minutes and was a great way to start the celebration and helped stabilize the crowd movement for a few minutes. If you have little ones, be sure to bring ear protection (our two-year-old didn’t find the fireworks as thrilling as the rest of us).

Celebration of Lights

This free holiday light display in Village Park is daily from November 18th through December 30th, 2023. Hours are Sunday through Thursday 6 pm to 9 pm and Friday and Saturday 6 pm to 10 pm. The display will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

In addition to the lights, Santa will be on-site to visit with the kids every evening! Plus enjoy live holiday music, entertainment, crafts, and a miniature train display.

Celebration of Lights in Kannapolis, North Carolina

Here’s everything you need to know about Celebration of Lights at Village Park

Tickets for the Winterland Express and Carousel

Book your tickets in advance for the Winterland Express at the Celebration of Lights.

Carousel tickets can be purchased nightly on-site.

Places to see Christmas lights in Charlotte, North Carolina

Looking for more places to see Christmas lights? We’ve got you covered!

Here’s our list of more than 10 places to see Christmas lights near Charlotte, NC.

Kannapolis Holiday Events

Tree Lighting Ceremony: November 18th, 2023 6 pm in Village Park
Christmas Parade: December 19th, 2023 6 pm in Downtown Kannapolis

Downtown Kannapolis
Downtown Kannapolis, NC

Village Park, Kannapolis
700 West C Street, Kannapolis

Pick apples, explore a corn maze, and eat pumpkin donuts at Stepp’s Orchard in Hendersonville, NC

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Stepp’s Apple Orchard is a family-owned orchard in Hendersonville, NC. They have u-pick apples, lots of fun family activities on weekends, and pretty amazing cider and pumpkin donuts.

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard is the very first u-pick apple orchard in Henderson County and has been in operation for more than 50 years. They know what they’re doing, and we had to go check it out for ourselves. Honestly, I went for the pumpkin donuts. I love apple cider donuts, but pumpkin? Yes, please!

One thing that stood out to me immediately was just how super nice and helpful everyone at the orchard was. They have u-pick apples, pre-picked apples, a big store that sells homemade soap, t-shirts, and honey, a bakery, corn maze, pumpkin patch, jumping pillow, apple canon, and wagon ride. Some of these activities are only available on weekends, which I’ll tell you about in this review.

Stepps Apple Orchard
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Get into the Fall Spirit with a Visit to Sky Top Orchard

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Fall is just about here! Time for corn mazes, fall festivals, and apple picking! One of the local favorites is Sky Top Orchard near Flat Rock, NC. Read on for local mom Jackie Vest’s tips and things to expect when you visit Sky Top Orchard, so you can make the most of your visit!

See our full list of Apple Orchards Near the Upstate. For more fall fun check out our Pumpkin Patch Guide and our Corn Maze Guide!

Guide to Fall in Greenville, SC

Looking for more fall fun? Here are over 30 things to do this fall near Greenville.

Experience Sky Top Orchard

The Sky Top apple season starts in August and runs through the Sunday after Thanksgiving, giving families plenty of opportunities to seek out their favorite varieties of apples. This orchard has over 22 different kinds of apples to choose from! They also churn out a regional sensation: apple cider donuts!

As soon as you pull up to the orchard and open your car door, you are drawn in with the delicious fried cidery-sugary smell wafting through the air. Plan on buying at LEAST a dozen. If you come on a busy weekend, you’ll need to wait in line for them, but don’t let that stop you!

Apple picking is an enjoyable activity for kids of all ages. While you may need to walk a bit to the row of choice, the picking is quick and easy work. Many apples are available low to the ground, easy picking for even the smallest kiddos. My boys (ages 5 & 7) hopped off the hayride, took off down a row, and filled up their bags before I even caught up with the little stinkers!

The orchard also offers plenty of play structures, Bee Train, a Gold Rush Gem Mine, a honeybee hive (in which kids can usually spot the queen bee behind the glass), a bamboo forest, some farm animals like sheep, chickens, goats, and peacocks, and plenty of delectable goodies in addition to the apples and cider donuts.

Pies, jellies, hot cider, fudges, and frozen apple cider slushies, to name a few! Outside food is acceptable and there are plenty of picnic tables or areas to spread a blanket – just be mindful of bees and limit sugary foods.

The orchard also does a great job accommodating large groups with hayride tours, apple picking, and educational programs which teach kiddos everything they could want to know about how apples grow through the seasons. This is a favorite field trip destination!

apple picking at Sky Top Orchard

Tips for visiting Sky Top

Be sure to check out Skytop’s FAQs for tips before you visit.

Bring cash or check – while they do accept credit cards, their wifi can be spotty so their credit card processing system isn’t always working.

Try to go on a Monday or early week. The weekends can get pretty busy.

Wear sneakers or other walking shoes that are okay to get dirty.

Bring quarters for feeding the farm animals.

Sky Top has real bathrooms now. No more having to use a port-a-potty.

Apple varieties are planted in accordance of when they are in season. They plant the earliest apples closest to the entrance and it progresses further away as the season goes on. In other words, the later in the season you visit the orchard, the further you will need to plan on walking to pick apples.

There are plenty of already-picked apples to choose from if you want all the fresh flavor without the work.

You must pre-pay for apples and you are required to pay for at least one peck per 6 people (around 10 pounds). A basket is provided.

Here is their picking schedule (which lists available varieties).

Sky Top Orchard is open 7 days a week from 9 am – 6 pm.

The orchard is located above Flat Rock, NC and here are directions to Sky Top Orchard.

We love this place and like so many others, we have made it an annual Mecca. I hope this has been helpful, see you at the orchard! Find our tips on picking apples with kids here.

When visiting Flat Rock, NC, consider our day trip guide to Flat Rock for more suggestions on activities in the area, including all that there is to do in very near Hendersonville, NC. Nearby attractions include the Team Ecco Aquarium, the Carl Sandburg House, and the Western NC Nature Center.

Has your family experienced Sky Top Orchard yet?

Cabarrus County Trails: Hiking, Biking, and Paved Walking Trails

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Are you looking to explore some hiking and biking trails in Cabarrus County, NC? Cabarrus is home to dozens of trail systems, and explorers are rewarded any time of year with the naturally beautiful landscapes the trails carve their way through.  From family-friendly hiking and mountain biking to leisurely strolls and water recreation, Cabarrus County has a nature trail for you to fall in love with!

Located just Northeast of Charlotte, Cabarrus County may be synonymous to some as the hub for NASCAR enthusiasts. However, the natural beauty of the rolling countryside throughout the county balances out nicely against the backdrop of major cities like Concord and Harrisburg. Many of the trail systems listed below highlight the ability of nature and civilization to combine positively, in a way that is beneficial to the natural system while keeping the growth and expansion of nearby cities in mind. So, lace up those boots and check out some of the top trail systems to hike or bike throughout Cabarrus County in the list below!

Natural Trails to Hike and Bike in Cabarrus County

Carolina Thread Trail

Length: 12.6 miles of completed land trails in Cabarrus County
105.1 miles planned for construction
Difficulty: Easy to strenuous 
Offers: Running, walking, mountain biking, and hiking

The Thread is a multi-county, regional trail system that offers 11 segments in Cabarrus County alone! There are over 300 miles of land trails to explore and 170 miles of water trails, with stunning views. The public can access launch points throughout the system to kayak, canoe, and participate in other watersports that connect to other land trails across North and South Carolina. The Carolina Thread Trail is expanding, with a master plan to eventually join the current 11 segments in Cabarrus for a total of 105.1 miles of trail in Cabarrus County. 

The Buffalo Creek Preserve Trail

Length: 2.1 miles one way
Difficulty: Moderate
Offers: Hiking, walking, mountain biking, running

The Buffalo Creek Preserve Trail is one of The Thread’s featured trails. The trailhead is particularly interesting due to conservation efforts by the Catawba Lands Conservatory, being made up of a restored Piedmont Oak Savannah. The trail continues past streams and wetlands, through working farmland, into serene habitats, and finally through young forests. The trail is also part of the Butterfly Highway, a conservation initiative to create networks of pollinator-supportive plants and habitats. 

Trails for Mountain Biking in Cabarrus County

Brown Mill Mountain Bike Trail

Length: 4.25 trail miles
Difficulty: All skill levels 
Offers: Mountain Biking

Located just a few miles from Downtown Concord, NC, the Brown Mill Mountain Bike Trail has something for all skill levels to enjoy. There are multiple dips, flow sections, jumps, switchbacks, rock features, and a gravity cavity that make it a premier spot for mountain biking. The trail is suitable for most riders and is perfect for biking multiple laps to hone your skills.

Rob Wallace Park

Length: 3.5 trail miles total
Difficulty: All skill levels
Offers: Mountain biking, walking trails, playground, picnics, fishing

Rob Wallace Park is located in Midland and offers a skills area for beginner to expert mountain bikers to perfect their skills along with balance features and berms. Within the park is the Powder House Trail, a one-mile-long riding trail, as well as the 0.7-mile Quarry Loop. 

Village Park Paved Trails

Paved Trails in Cabarrus County

Hector Henry Greenway

Length: 5.7 miles total
Difficulty: Easy
Offers: Walking, hiking, biking

The Hector Henry Greenway runs along the Rocky River and connects three segments, The Mills at Rocky River, Riverwalk, and Moss Creek. The trails are primarily paved and are considered easy for biking and walking. The Greenway is part of The Thread trail system and offers wildlife viewings, boardwalks, educational displays, and gorgeous views of the surrounding wetlands. 

Village Park

Length: Multiple paved trails throughout the 16-acre park
Difficulty:
Easy
Offers:
Paved walking paths throughout the park

Located in Kannapolis, Village Park offers over 16 acres to explore. There are paved walking paths throughout the park through green space, perfect for picnics and outdoor recreation. The park also offers a splash pad and a ride-on train, the Rotary Express Train, which is a g-24 scale replica. The cost for the train is $1.50 per person and it is open on weekends from April until September. In addition, there are picnic shelters, a carousel, music concert series, and special events at this park to enjoy during your walk or bike trip.

Harrisburg Park

Length: 2.5 miles of trails for hiking and biking
Difficulty: Easy, Moderate, and Difficult trail offerings
Offers: Hiking, biking, playground, amphitheater, splash pad (summer)

Harrisburg Park has over 2.5 miles of both paved and natural trails to explore for both hiking and biking. The Ball Field Loop is considered easy and is approximately 0.5 miles long, perfect for strolling or letting your kids join you on your walk. If you’re looking for something more difficult, the Harrisburg Extension Loop offers 1.5 miles of trails with some moderate to difficult hills to climb as you venture through the forest and across three creek crossings. In addition, the park offers a large playground, a splash pad in summer, and special events at the amphitheater.

Are you ready to explore the outdoors in Cabarrus County?

Take a Boat Ride on the Highest Lake East of the Mississippi River at Lake Glenville, NC

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You can explore Lake Glenville, the highest elevation lake in the Eastern US, in Jackson County, North Carolina by boat with Lake Glenville Scenic Scenic Waterfall Cruises. We did the beautiful boat tour and will tell you all you need to know to enjoy the scenic lake.
We have information about Lake Glenville, including:
What you’ll see on the waterfall tour
Tips for your boat trip
How to book your waterfall tour

Lake Glenville in Jackson County, North Carolina

Thanks to Jackson County, North Carolina for hosting us and providing the opportunity to take the boat tour.

There’s something really special about mountain lakes. Maybe it’s that crisp mountain air, the ancient hills that loom in the distance, that clear water – whatever it is, that’s where I want to be. So when I had the opportunity to take a boat tour with Captain Mark and his scenic boat cruise on Lake Glenville – the only boat tour company that operates on the lake – I was all in. We got to see waterfalls, a bald eagle nest, and enjoy the beauty of the lake. Plus, it’s only a short drive from Cashiers, so you can add it to your itinerary when visiting the area.

Man fishing on Lake Glenville
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