How to stay active in North Carolina during winter
BY MELISSA WISTEHUFF
According to Forbes.com, the most common New Year’s resolution is to get in shape. Finding the motivation to stay active when it’s cold outside—and when darkness sets in so early in the day—can be a challenge. But as natives will tell you, if you don’t like the weather in North Carolina, wait a minute or two.
From the mountains to the coast, a state as glorious and diverse as ours—with such frequent contrasts in weather—offers winter activities for everyone in the family, with plenty of chances to stay active and in shape. Here are destinations offering indoor and outdoor activities to get your kids off the sofa and into adventure.
Winter Fun in the Triangle
American Tobacco Trail
Wake, Chatham and Durham Counties
This 22.6-mile-long trail runs alongside an abandoned railroad bed originally constructed in the early 1900s. The trail is 10 feet wide, allowing plenty of space for cyclists, runners and walkers. The majority of the trek runs through the city of Durham, but portions wind through Cary and Apex as well.
Big Air Trampoline Park
6421 Hilburn Drive, Raleigh
Are your kids bouncing off the walls this winter? Head to Big Air for high‑flying fun for the whole family! With trampolines, rock walls, bull‑riding, adventure courses and basketball, Big Air is the perfect place to go with kids of all ages.
Raleigh, Garner and Cary
If you like to strike out, then bowling is right up your alley! Locals have been knocking down pins at Buffaloe Lanes since 1978. And with an arcade room and snack shack, it’s an ideal way to spend a winter day.
6901 Play Golf Way, Raleigh
Swing on over to Drive Shack, where golf aficionados and novices alike can enjoy private bays, TVs and food. Drive Shack blends an upscale sports bar atmosphere with a family-friendly putting competition.
Lace up for the perfect winter pastime. Skate the Square at Fenton in Cary through February 5 to experience authentic Hallmark movie vibes, complete with twinkling lights and holiday cheer. The Rink at Red Hat Amphitheater offers a winter wonderland in the heart of downtown Raleigh through January 15. Drink hot cocoa under the stars surrounded by stunning skyline views.
The Triangle also offers several indoor ice skating facilities. Polar Ice has locations in Raleigh, Cary, Garner and Wake Forest. Orange County SportsPlex offers ice skating in Hillsborough.
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett Street, Raleigh
Turn on your imagination through discovery and play. Climb aboard a three-story pirate ship, race a boat down a 65-foot-long water table, become a vet for the day or don your banker’s cap in “Moneypalooza.”
Rock Solid Warrior
Fuquay-Varina and Apex
Channel your inner American Ninja traversing obstacle courses, swinging from rafters and climbing rock walls.
Rush Hour Karting
Garner and Morrisville
Start your engines at one of the Triangle’s only indoor go-karting facilities. Try the Garner location for traditional racing with gas engines, or head to the Morrisville location to experience high-speed electric carts and a golf simulator room. Both locations feature axe-throwing and full-service restaurants.
Tar River Life
3240 Sledge Road, Bunn
Rent a kayak and explore Robertson Millpond Preserve. This 85-acre kayaking gem in eastern Wake County attracts nature lovers with a unique destination set amongst the only bald cypress habitat in the Raleigh area.
Triangle Rock Club
Raleigh, Durham and Morrisville
Rock climbing can be a great bonding experience for families, as each climber has to learn problem-solving skills and overcome fears. Triangle Rock Club offers terrains for every skill level at its three Triangle locations.
Xtreme Park Adventures
7460 Highway 98/Wake Forest Highway, Durham
Bring your child’s love of Fortnite to life. From airsoft to paintball and laser tag, Xtreme Park Adventures offers something for every level of battle. If you’d rather holster your weapons, try the ATV adventures, zip lines and ropes courses.
WINTER ACTIVITIES BEYOND THE TRIANGLE
Appalachian Ski Mountain
940 Ski Mountain Road Blowing Rock
Beech Mountain Resort in Beech Mountain
1007 Beech Mountain Parkway
Cataloochee Ski Area
1080 Ski Lodge Road, Maggie Valley
578 Valley View Circle, Mars Hill
Ski Sapphire Valley
127 Cherokee Trail, Sapphire
Sugar Mountain Resort
1009 Sugar Mountain Drive, Sugar Mountain
Hawksnest Snow Tubing
2058 Skyland Drive, Seven Devils
Elk Knob State Park
(Snowshoeing and Cross-country Skiing)
5564 Meat Camp Road, Todd
Chetola Fly Fishing
185 Chetola Lake Drive, Blowing Rock
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Parkway, Charlotte
North Carolina Zoo
4401 Zoo Parkway, Asheboro
Great Wolf Lodge
10175 Weddington Road, Concord
Uwharrie National Forest
789 Biscoe Road, Troy
Busco Beach and ATV Park
1243 Bryan Boulevard, Goldsboro
North Carolina Lighthouses
1610 Fort Fisher Boulevard South
Fort Macon State Park
2303 E. Fort Macon Road
Nags Head Golf Links
5615 S. Seachase Drive, Nags Head
Jockey’s Ridge State Park
300 W. Carolista Drive, Nags Head