- Wednesday, June 29, 2011
is now upon us in Garner, North Carolina
. Sometimes it's hard to come up with different activities to keep the kids happy and the parents from going crazy. As much as your kids will tell you they can't wait for summer, the words "I'm bored," inevitably cross their lips – sometimes sooner than you think! While children do enjoy the freedom that comes with the summer months, and playing at the Abberly Place pool
is a blast, they still like to have a little structure to their fun. This summer, more than ever, families are trying to stick to a budget while still having fun with their kids
is full of great mountain hikes. Most are free, so grab the kids and head out.
Stone Mountain State Park
Stone Mountain, three hours west of Raleigh, is a family favorite for hiking. Not only does it have the mandatory waterfalls that make a hike in most kids’ mind, it also has a sliding rock for cooling off. Trails range from 1 mile to 4.5 miles and are ranked as moderate or strenuous.
Located on Catawba River Road in Old Fort (off I-40 at exit 73) and four hours west of Raleigh, Catawba Falls Trail is a great hike to the picturesque lower Catawba Falls. This hike involves water crossings, so wear appropriate shoes and be prepared to go knee-deep if it has rained recently. The moderate-level hike is about 2.5 miles round-trip.
Linville is three and a half hours from Raleigh, with its outdoor outlet mall, fudge shop and great restaurants. One of the favorite hikes is at Linville Falls near Blue Ridge Parkway mile marker 316. The falls are gorgeous, and if you park at the visitor's center, the hikes aren't bad. All five views of the falls are within a 4-mile (various difficulty levels) hike. Public restrooms and a picnic area are available at the visitor's center, as well as plenty of space to run around and a river to soak your feet.