13 Ways to Get Outdoors NOW Including the World’s Largest Zoo


Just a few hours from Fayetteville, the Heart of North Carolina offers budget-friendly experiences including multiple hiking trails, local dining, exploring historic sites, flying among the treetops, and visiting the world’s largest natural habitat zoo.

Carolina blue skies, rolling hills among our scenic back roads, miles of hiking trails, and majestic roaring lions…yes, we said lions! We have it all in the Heart of North Carolina. We invite you to #TakeItOutside and find adventure solo or with your family and friends. Use this fun guide to find the outdoor gems that transform a getaway into a treasured memory. We want you to stay safe and travel smart.

#13 – Enjoy talented musicians, stroll the vineyards, and sip wine at Zimmerman Vineyards. Find an intimate setting and beautiful views at the base of Mt. Shepherd in Trinity (birthplace of Duke University). The vineyard is open Saturday 12 to 6 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 6 p.m. Songwriter Sunday at Zimmerman Vineyards is a FREE event from 3 to 5 p.m. every Sunday, March through October.

#12 – Plan a picnic at the Pisgah Covered Bridge – the ultimate place for a family Instagram photoshoot. Insider tip: Pick up a fried chicken to-go meal or pack your basket with goodies from the Fresh Cuts Deli in nearby Seagrove.

#11 – Take a Hike! Discover the Deep River Rail Trail, a three-quarter mile trail created by an old railroad bed. The route offers biking, jogging, and fishing. In search of something more challenging? A complete guide to Randolph County Trails – a total of 19 – can be found at bit.ly/RandolphCountyTrailsGuide .

#10 – Come play at Creekside Park and Disc Golf Course. This 107-acre park offers tennis courts, baseball/softball/t-ball fields, picnic shelters, shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, playgrounds, an 18-hole championship disc golf course with beginners’ loop, orienteering course, and three miles of scenic walking trails along Muddy Creek.

#9 – Spend a day at Kersey Valley Attractions. Fly high on the ziplines, test your endurance on the high ropes course, or get a workout throwing axes. Kersey Valley is also home to a cornfield maize, escape rooms, laser tag, and Spookywoods, voted scariest Haunted Attraction in NC, so visit again this fall!

#8 – Enjoy outdoor dining at The Table Farmhouse Bakery or Magnolia 23 in Downtown Asheboro. In case of rain, check out our list of local options following COVID-19 safety measures: bit.ly/SupportLocalDining

#7 –Pick strawberries or seasonal fruits at Millstone Creek Orchards. Stock up on freshly made cakes and cookies at the Apple Barn Country Store. Swoon over their famous, fresh-pressed apple cider and slushies.

#6 – Celebrate Earth Day throughout the month of April with offerings directly from the dirt – pottery! Make your way to Seagrove, the Pottery Capital of the U.S. and find a new coffee mug or gift as you design your own gallery crawl along Pottery Highway.

#5 – Enjoy the scenery at Commerce Square Park in Randleman, then scoot over to the Petty Museum and Petty’s Garage to see the cars and memorabilia of NASCAR legend, “The King” Richard Petty and his family.

#4 – Enjoy a picnic lunch in Bicentennial Park in downtown Asheboro with views of our uniquely themed murals. When you are finished, stroll Sunset Avenue for antique shops, “geeky” comics, collectibles, gifts, and crafts. Only a block away find your favorite carbon-neutral brews at Four Saints Brewing Company with a dedicated food truck, try small bites at Asheboro Popcorn Co and Asheboro Bagel Co.

#3 – Practice your golf swing and social distance while you play through the Asheboro Municipal Golf Course, designed by famed golf course architect Donald Ross in 1935. Additional courses can be found at bit.ly/GolfInTheHeartofNC

#2 – Love airplanes? Visit the NC Aviation Museum and Hall of Fame. See stunning military artifacts and civilian memorabilia from WWI to the present, including an impressive collection of military vehicles, weapons, equipment, uniforms, and a flight simulator; see the Piper J-3 “Flitfire” flown by Orville Wright.

#1 – About those roaring lions we mentioned earlier…explore the world’s largest natural habitat wildlife zoo in Asheboro. Our North Carolina Zoo works daily to save species globally. It showcases more than 1,200 animals from North America and Africa. Payton the polar bear, our newest addition, is looking for love with Anana. We have our paws crossed for bear cubs soon. Stop by the chimpanzee habitat to catch a peek at playful Asha and Obi. Visit the Watani Grasslands to check out our adorable baby rhinos!

When can we expect you? Visit HeartofNorthCarolina.com for places to stay and special military discount offers!

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Pisgah Covered Bridge

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Seagrove Pottery

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Creekside Park

Order a FREE travel guide and check out the listing of annual events on our bit.ly/HNCVBCalendar. We look forward to following along on your visit. Tag us at #theHeartofNC.

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