3 places to play in North Carolina: Soak on the sand, soar in the sky or cast a fly


Hang gliding

The sweeping sand dunes of Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head are the tallest in the eastern part of the U.S. and offer a variety of outdoor experiences. Stroll an easily navigated 1.5-mile trail, loop around a 1-mile circle or hit the shorter boardwalk trail that spans the hills while still providing sweeping views. But one of the best ways to see the natural wonder is from the harness of a hang glider. Near the park’s visitors center is a hang gliding center with areas clearly marked for the sport. Those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground can opt for a few rounds of sandboarding, allowed in the park from October through the end of March.

300 W. Carolista, Nags Head 27959. 252-441-7132, jockeysridgestatepark.com.

Fly fishing

Looking for a spot to cast a line? Follow the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, a 4,600-mile stretch that meanders through Jackson County and connects some of the state’s best trout streams. A total of 15 prime waterways are identified as excellent spots to find a variety of trout. One of the most popular is the Tuckasegee River, with water that remains at a fairly constant temperature year round. Maps of the area, along with suggestions for places to stay, are available through the county tourism office.

Jackson County Tourism, 773 W. Main St., Sylva 28779. 800-962-1911, flyfishingtrail.com.

Ocean Isle Beach

Sure, you can spend hours sunning on the soft sand. But at this Brunswick County beach town there’s also a plethora of activities to enjoy. Check out the local sea life at the Museum of Coastal Carolina where interactive exhibits detail the area’s underwater inhabitants. It also has a planetarium that stages star and laser light shows set to music, and a hurricane simulator that mimics winds up to 78 miles per hour (museumplanetarium.org). The nearby Shallotte River Swamp Park has more than a mile of zip lines, swamp tours and a giant jungle gym with 53 challenging bridges, ropes and tunnels (shallotteriverswamppark.com). Stop by the Ocean Isle Beach Sea Turtle Protection Organization to find out where and when to see the hatchlings making their way to the water (oibseaturtles.org). Other outings include visits to area lighthouses, ghost tours and tastings at the Silver Coast Winery.

Brunswick County Tourism, 712 Village Rd., Shallotte 28470. 910-755-5517, www.ncbrunswick.com/islands/Ocean_Isle_Beach.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Questions and answers on proposed ban on laptops in luggage

WASHINGTON (AP) — First the U.S. government temporarily banned laptops in the cabins of some airplanes. Now it is looking to ban them from checked luggage on international flights, citing the risk of potentially catastrophic fires.  The Federal Aviation Administration recently recommended that the U.N. agency that sets global aviation standards...
Giving wing to no-frills flights
Giving wing to no-frills flights

In the history of airline pioneers, William Franke is a name most airline passengers have probably never heard.  But the 80-year-old managing partner of Indigo Partners in Phoenix is considered by many industry experts as the man most responsible for the creation of the ultra-low-cost carrier in the U.S. His private equity group has invested in...
In Jackson Hole, Wyo., even the hummus has meat
In Jackson Hole, Wyo., even the hummus has meat

It has a year-round population of only about 20,000 people and one of the shortest growing seasons anywhere in the country (50ish frost-free days per year), but these inconveniences don't stop the outdoorsy, second-home haven of Jackson Hole, Wyo., from having a legit food scene. (The expansive alpine views at many restaurants are a bonus.) Menus here...
A dozen online travel agents can no longer sell JetBlue tickets

Southwest has avoided online travel agents from the start. Delta started to back away from third-party booking sites a few years ago. Now, JetBlue is the latest airline to clip ties.  As part of its "new online distribution strategy," JetBlue will no longer allow a dozen sites to list its flight information or sell its tickets. The carrier...
Hard-boiled eggs, iPads and more, but don’t rush her.
Hard-boiled eggs, iPads and more, but don’t rush her.

Martha Stewart keeps famously busy. She is a host of “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party,” now in its second season on VH1. Her latest book, “Martha Stewart’s Slow Cooker,” was published in August, and she started her own wine company in the spring.  Work keeps her on the move; she travels at least once a...
More Stories