samantha standing in front of sand trail

It’s no secret that North Carolina is an outdoor lovers paradise. Mountains in the western part of the state and the beaches on the east coast draw millions of visitors. I have to say though, that some areas of North Carolina, however fun and beautiful, are just too crowded. On a day with good weather, even lesser known attractions in the state are full of locals and tourists.

However, nestled into the pine forests of central North Carolina, there is a little slice of heaven unweathered by sun-seekers and adventure junkies. Carvers Creek State Park is about an hour drive from Raleigh, NC. If you are looking for a way to escape the city and truly step into nature, Carvers Creek is a perfect day trip from Raleigh for you!

my daughter standing in tree along the trail, looking up at the sky

Let’s Talk Trails

All of the state parks trails are rated “easy” which is awesome for any fellow family travelers. Although, the trails are easy and you won’t come across many rooted and rocky areas, I still recommend wearing closed toe shoes. Don’t forget, you are in North Carolina the path is sand, not dirt. I made the mistake of wearing sandals my first time in the park, sand was all in my shoes and the friction BURNED my feet in places. (don’t pull a Samantha, have your kids and yourself wear closed toe shoes, haha)

The majority of the trails in the park are simple relatively short walks through the pine forests. The following trails have unique features that other trails don’t. They will most likely be more entertaining for your little ones and will also be great for photo opportunities.

1. If you want a trail were you can see water, try the Turkey Oak Loop Trail. This trail is marked by white hexagons and is 1.7 miles. You will walk past two bodies of water while on this trail.

2. Longleaf Pine Trail and RCW Loop Trail both have footbridges along them. Longleaf is marked by white triangles and is 4 miles one way. RCW is marked by orange hexagons and is a 1.5 mile loop

3. Cypress Point Loop Trail will allow you to overlook the mill pond and see historic structures from across the pond. There is also a bank fishing access and a floating observation deck.

4. To see the Rockefeller House take the James S. Rockefeller Loop Trail. It’s marked by white circles and is a 2 miles loop. James Rockefeller passed away in 2004, but was the oldest living Olympic gold medal recipient at the age of 102!

What Carvers Creek Has To Offer

Although the walking trails are great, you can also ride horse and bikes, fish, and picnic in the park. If you like to hammock, you won’t have trouble finding a place to string up! There’s a large area by the visitors center that’s perfect to lay out a blanket to read a book or picnic. It’s also a perfect place to pay if you bring a frisbee, football, etc. along with you.

When you first get to Carvers Creek, park in front of the visitors center and check out the trail maps. You can also pick up a North Carolina State Park Passport. If you aren’t familiar with the passports, they are basically a little book that is full of information about all of the state parks in NC. You can get stamps in the passport for each one you visit at the parks visitors centers. This can be super fun if you are traveling through the state, try to get as many as possible while you are in North Carolina.

The visitors center has a clean and convenient restroom outside of the building. Across from the visitors center, you will notice areas with picnic tables. When traveling, one of my favorite money saving tactics is to picnic whenever we get the chance. Carvers Creek is perfect for this!

The Best Time To Visit

I tell anyone who asks that I highly recommend anyone who asks when to visit North Carolina.. SKIP THE SUMMER. Y’all it’s miserable. Yes, it’t hot. But what really makes it miserable is the humidity and the bugs. Mosquitoes. Mosquitoes everywhere. As long as you avoid June through September you should have a great time. If you do visit during that time frame, just makes sure you bring sun screen and bug spray so you will be able to enjoy your time in the park.

I particularly enjoy visiting Carvers Creek in November and December. This photo below was taken just three days before Christmas. Late December/early January feels more like typical autumn weather and is a really enjoyable time to explore the park.

I’m always traveling to new destinations with my daughters and I’d love to have toy follow along. You can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!

Related Post: The Best Thing To Do With Kids In Raleigh North Carolina

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