Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is healthy and safe today. State parks are one of your state’s treasured resources. These hidden gems are scattered all over the United States and are sometimes overlooked for their big brother national parks. However, state parks can be as nice, or even nicer, than the national parks, and the facilities and camping amenities are sometimes better than those of the National Park System. Most of these parks are less crowded than the national parks, which makes visiting more enjoyable. Here in North Carolina, there are 34 state parks and 7 recreational areas. At these parks, the experience can be anything from walking in the sand at the beach to hiking up to the highest peak east of the Mississippi. There are trails for hiking, riding your trail bike, riding a horse, or even riding your ATV or off-road vehicle. There are scenic overviews and wildlife viewing areas looking over the most pristine nature that you will ever see. To visit the parks is mostly free. You may have to pay to visit an exhibit or to camp, but other than that it's free. Your taxes have paid for the upkeep and management of these areas, and hopefully, it will last. I would love to see my grandchildren and their grandchildren able to enjoy the wilderness as I have.
The list of activities that you can do at these state parks is endless. There are too many to list them all, but some include hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, bird watching, a day at the beach, and hang gliding, just to mention a few. The state rangers at these facilities are well-trained and motivated to help assist and teach the public as much as they can while keeping the parks safe and fun to visit. Backpacking and camping are available to enjoy at most parks, from car camping with showers and all the luxuries of home to primitive camping and backpacking in the backcountry. Have an RV? Most parks are equipped to handle some of the largest RV’s around, with or without electrical hookups. If you don't have a tent, some of the parks have cabins to rent that are even heated and air-conditioned.
State parks are spread throughout the United States, and you probably have one near you. You might not even know it. I lived near one for years before I first visited the park. I visit it dozens of times a year now if for nothing more than just to exercise and have a quick hike in nature. So far this year, I have visited 32 of North Carolina’s state parks and plan to visit the last 2 before the year's end. I have also visited parks in neighboring states and states that I have lived in in the past. If you’re a photographer like I am, it is a great resource for landscape and nature photography. So get out and enjoy your local state park and keep exploring!