State Parks Wilmington NC

7 State Parks Near Wilmington NC: Discover the Natural Beauty of North Carolina

With the warm weather returning to Wilmington and Earth Day coming up on April 22, it’s the perfect time to embrace the great outdoors and explore the natural beauty of North Carolina. If you’re looking for parks in Wilmington NC or outdoor activities in Wilmington NC, you’re in luck! There are several stunning state parks near Wilmington that offer a myriad of recreational opportunities and breathtaking natural landscapes.

Despite the wildfires and damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, North Carolina hosted 18.8 million visitors in 2016. The state parks, in particular, are enticing with their accessible locations and affordable entrance fees (most don’t charge any!). Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature lover, or a family seeking a fun day trip, these state parks are sure to captivate your senses and provide unforgettable experiences.

So, get ready to embark on exciting adventures and immerse yourself in the splendor of these state parks near Wilmington NC. From tranquil hiking trails to camping beneath towering trees, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the natural beauty of North Carolina by visiting state parks near Wilmington NC.
  • These parks offer a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and more.
  • Most state parks charge no entrance fee, making them accessible to all visitors.
  • From Hanging Rock State Park to Fort Macon State Park, there are plenty of options to explore and enjoy.
  • Celebrate Earth Day by immersing yourself in the stunning landscapes and diverse ecosystems of these state parks.

Hanging Rock State Park

Hanging Rock State Park is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking to reconnect with nature. Situated just a short drive from Wilmington, North Carolina, this picturesque park offers a range of activities for visitors of all ages.

hiking trails in Wilmington NC

One of the main attractions at Hanging Rock State Park is its extensive network of hiking trails. With over 20 miles of trails to explore, hikers can immerse themselves in the beauty of the park’s scenic views and clear streams. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there are trails available to suit every skill level.

In addition to hiking, the park also features a campground where visitors can set up their tents and enjoy a night under the stars. The campground is equipped with all the necessary amenities, including picnic grounds and a stocked lake for swimming and canoe rentals.

Families visiting Hanging Rock State Park will appreciate the family-friendly atmosphere and the variety of activities available. From mountain biking to rock climbing, there is something for everyone to enjoy. It’s the perfect destination for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Activities Description
Hiking Over 20 miles of scenic trails
Camping Campground with picnic grounds and stocked lake
Swimming Stocked lake for swimming
Canoe Rentals Rent canoes to explore the lake
Mountain Biking Trails for mountain biking
Rock Climbing Rock climbing opportunities for all skill levels

Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike, a peaceful camping experience, or thrilling adventures, Hanging Rock State Park has it all. Plan your visit and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this stunning park.

Stone Mountain State Park

Welcome to Stone Mountain State Park, a magnificent outdoor destination that offers a wide range of activities and breathtaking natural beauty. Located near Wilmington, NC, this park is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

At the heart of Stone Mountain State Park is the impressive granite dome, a remarkable feature that sets it apart from other parks in the region. This massive dome provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of outdoor adventures, including hiking, camping, climbing, fishing, and picnicking.

Hiking Trails

With 18 miles of well-maintained trails, Stone Mountain State Park offers a diverse hiking experience for visitors of all skill levels. Explore the park’s scenic trails that wind through lush forests, rocky terrain, and along cascading waterfalls. Hikers can choose from easy, moderate, and strenuous trails, providing options for every level of fitness and interest.

One of the highlights of the park is the Stone Mountain Loop Trail, a 4.5-mile loop that takes you to the summit of the granite dome. As you ascend the trail, take in the panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty of nature.


For those looking to immerse themselves in nature, Stone Mountain State Park offers several camping options. Set up your tent or RV at one of the park’s campsites and enjoy the tranquility of the great outdoors. Wake up to the sound of birdsong, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and witness stunning sunrises and sunsets from your campsite.

Whether you prefer primitive camping or sites with amenities like water and electrical hookups, Stone Mountain State Park has camping options to suit every camper’s needs. Spend your evenings around a campfire, sharing stories and making memories under the starry night sky.

Rock Climbing

If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush, Stone Mountain offers exceptional rock climbing opportunities. The granite face of the mountain is a challenge for climbers of all levels, with routes ranging from beginner-friendly to advanced. Test your skills, conquer the rugged terrain, and experience the thrill of reaching new heights.

For those interested in rock climbing, it’s important to note that a permit is required. Be sure to check the park’s regulations and safety guidelines before embarking on your climbing adventure.

No matter how you choose to enjoy Stone Mountain State Park, you’ll be surrounded by the unparalleled beauty of North Carolina’s natural landscapes. From the towering granite dome to the peaceful hiking trails and abundant wildlife, this park offers an unforgettable outdoor experience for all who visit.

Activities Description
Hiking Explore 18 miles of scenic trails through forests, waterfalls, and rocky terrain.
Camping Select from a range of camping options, from primitive sites to those with amenities.
Rock Climbing Challenge yourself with thrilling rock climbing routes on the granite face of the mountain.
Fishing Cast your line into designated trout waters and try your luck at catching a variety of fish.
Picnicking Enjoy a scenic picnic in the park, surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Eno River State Park

Eno River State Park, located near the urban areas of Durham and Orange counties, is a haven of natural beauty and outdoor adventure. With nearly 30 miles of trails that wind along the scenic Eno River, this park offers a wealth of opportunities for hiking, exploring, and reconnecting with nature.

“Eno River State Park provides a stunning escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The trails are well-maintained, and the views along the river are simply breathtaking.”

– Local Hiker

Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking for a tranquil escape, Eno River State Park has something for everyone. The park’s hiking trails cater to all skill levels, from easy strolls to challenging treks through wooded areas and along the riverbanks. As you hike, keep an eye out for the diverse array of wildlife that calls this park home.

Eno River State Park is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy fishing, photography, and sightseeing. The crystal-clear waters of the Eno River attract anglers seeking a peaceful day by the water, while photographers can capture stunning shots of the park’s natural landscapes and wildlife.

For those looking to spend more time in nature, Eno River State Park offers backcountry camping and group camping options. Spend the night under the stars, surrounded by the peaceful sounds of the river and the serenity of the forest.

Whether you’re seeking an active day of hiking, a serene getaway, or a camping adventure, Eno River State Park is a must-visit destination. Immerse yourself in the beauty of North Carolina’s natural landscapes and discover the wonders of Eno River State Park.

At a Glance: Eno River State Park

Location Durham and Orange counties, North Carolina
Trails Nearly 30 miles of hiking trails
  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Photography
  • Sightseeing
  • Camping
  • Picnic areas
  • Backcountry camping
  • Group camping

Experience the natural beauty of Eno River State Park, with its miles of scenic trails and opportunities for outdoor activities in Wilmington, NC.

Hiking trails at Eno River State Park

Carolina Beach State Park

Carolina Beach State Park is a popular coastal attraction just a half-hour’s drive from Wilmington. It offers a marina for fishing, a secluded camping area beneath towering trees, and miles of hiking trails that traverse diverse habitats. The park is also known for its unique carnivorous plants, including the Venus flytrap.

Carolina Beach State Park

Looking for a family-friendly park in Wilmington NC? Look no further than Carolina Beach State Park.

Carolina Beach State Park is a gem in the coastal region, providing an ideal setting for outdoor activities in Wilmington NC. Whether you’re an avid angler, nature enthusiast, or thrill-seeking hiker, this park has something for everyone.

Hiking Trails and Diverse Habitats

One of the main highlights of Carolina Beach State Park is its extensive network of hiking trails. These trails wind through lush maritime forests, along scenic waterways, and across pristine sand dunes, showcasing the park’s diverse habitats and stunning natural beauty. Whether you’re strolling along the riverbank or trekking through the forest, you’ll be surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature.

Fishing and Marina

For those who enjoy fishing, Carolina Beach State Park offers a marina where you can launch your boat or cast your line from the fishing pier. The park is known for its excellent fishing opportunities, with species such as red drum, flounder, and bluefish abundant in the surrounding waters. Spend a peaceful day on the water, reeling in your catch of the day.

Camping Among Towering Trees

If you’re in search of a secluded camping experience, Carolina Beach State Park has you covered. Tucked away beneath the shade of towering trees, the park’s camping area provides a tranquil retreat for families and outdoor enthusiasts. Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and immerse yourself in nature as you unwind around a campfire under the starry night sky.

“Carolina Beach State Park is a hidden gem in the heart of coastal North Carolina. Its pristine hiking trails and unique carnivorous plants make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers.”

With its breathtaking scenery, exciting outdoor activities, and family-friendly atmosphere, Carolina Beach State Park is a must-visit when exploring the parks in Wilmington NC. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a weekend getaway, you’re sure to create lasting memories in this coastal paradise.

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area

When it comes to family-friendly parks in Wilmington NC, the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is a top choice. Located on the southern tip of Pleasure Island, this beautiful coastal park offers a variety of outdoor activities for visitors of all ages.

One of the main attractions at Fort Fisher is the six miles of pristine beach, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Families can spend a day building sandcastles, playing in the waves, or simply relaxing under the sun. The beach is easily accessible and provides ample space for picnics and outdoor games.

For those looking to explore the natural beauty of the area, the park also offers trails through salt marshes. These trails allow visitors to observe the unique coastal ecosystem and spot a variety of wildlife, including birds and other marsh-dwelling creatures. Birdwatchers and photographers will especially appreciate the boardwalks and facilities that provide excellent vantage points for capturing nature’s beauty.

In addition to its natural attractions, Fort Fisher is home to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The state-of-the-art facility is a must-visit for families, offering interactive exhibits and educational programs that showcase the diverse marine life of the region.

To add a touch of history to your visit, explore the Civil War-era historic site located within the park. Here, you can learn about the role Fort Fisher played during the Civil War and gain insight into the area’s rich history.

Whether you’re seeking a day of fun in the sun, a nature-filled adventure, or an educational experience, Fort Fisher State Recreation Area is the perfect destination. With its beautiful beach, scenic trails, and captivating wildlife, it offers a unique combination of outdoor activities in Wilmington NC.

Fort Macon State Park

Fort Macon State Park is a unique coastal park located in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, just a short drive from Wilmington. This historical treasure offers visitors a chance to step back in time and explore a fully restored Civil War-era fort, as well as learn about the area’s rich history and natural resources.

The centerpiece of the park is Fort Macon, a brick and stone fort originally constructed in the early 19th century to protect the area’s vital ports. Today, the fort has been meticulously restored and is open to the public for exploration and discovery. Visitors can wander through the rooms and corridors, imagining the soldiers who once called this place home.

For those interested in the history of the fort and the region, guided tours and demonstrations are available, providing fascinating insights into the fort’s strategic importance and its role in shaping American history.

Besides the fort, Fort Macon State Park also boasts an unspoiled shoreline, perfect for swimming and beachcombing. The park’s pristine beaches offer a peaceful escape where families can relax and soak up the sun.

To enhance the visitor experience, Fort Macon State Park features a Coastal Education Center that provides educational programs and exhibits about the unique coastal ecosystem and wildlife found in the area. Visitors can learn about marine life, coastal habitats, and conservation efforts aimed at preserving these natural treasures.

Fort Macon State Park is truly a family-friendly destination, offering a range of outdoor activities and opportunities for exploration. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply enjoying a day at the beach, this coastal gem has something for everyone.

Key Features of Fort Macon State Park:

  • Restored Civil War-era fort
  • Unspoiled shoreline for swimming and beachcombing
  • Coastal Education Center offering educational programs and exhibits
  • Guided tours and demonstrations
  • Fascinating insights into the area’s history and natural resources

Lumber River State Park

Lumber River State Park, located in eastern North Carolina, is a true gem for outdoor enthusiasts. As a national wild and scenic river, it offers a wide range of activities that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the stunning natural beauty of the area.

One of the main highlights of Lumber River State Park is its opportunities for paddling. Whether you prefer kayaking, canoeing, or even stand-up paddleboarding, the meandering river provides a serene and picturesque setting for a leisurely paddle. As you navigate the river, you’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation, diverse wildlife, and the peaceful sounds of nature.

In addition to paddling, fishing is another popular activity at Lumber River State Park. Anglers can cast their lines into the river in search of black crappie, largemouth bass, catfish, and panfish. With its calm waters and abundant fish population, the park offers an ideal fishing experience for both beginners and seasoned anglers.

For those who prefer to explore on foot, Lumber River State Park also features short hiking trails that wind through the scenic landscape. These trails provide an opportunity to witness the park’s natural wonders up close and personal, from its towering trees to its colorful wildflowers. Whether you’re a casual hiker or an avid nature lover, there’s a trail for everyone to enjoy.


Are there any state parks near Wilmington, NC?

Yes, there are several state parks near Wilmington, NC that offer a variety of outdoor activities and natural beauty.

What outdoor activities can I enjoy at Hanging Rock State Park?

At Hanging Rock State Park, you can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, swimming in the lake, and canoe rentals.

What activities are available at Stone Mountain State Park?

Stone Mountain State Park offers camping, hiking, climbing, fishing, and picnicking. There are also designated trout waters for fishing enthusiasts.

What can I expect at Eno River State Park?

Eno River State Park has nearly 30 miles of trails along the scenic Eno River. It is popular for fishing, photography, and sightseeing. Backcountry camping and group camping options are available too.

What are the highlights of Carolina Beach State Park?

Carolina Beach State Park offers a marina for fishing, miles of hiking trails, and a unique opportunity to see carnivorous plants, including the Venus flytrap.

What can I do at Fort Fisher State Recreation Area?

At Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, you can enjoy six miles of pristine beach, trails through salt marshes, birdwatching, photography, and visit a state aquarium and Civil War-era historic site.

What does Fort Macon State Park offer?

Fort Macon State Park features a restored Civil War-era fort, a coastal education center, an unspoiled shoreline for swimming and beachcombing, and guided tours and demonstrations.

What activities can visitors enjoy at Lumber River State Park?

Lumber River State Park offers paddling, fishing, exploring the exquisite scenery of eastern North Carolina, tent-friendly campgrounds, group campsites, and short hiking trails.

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