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Photo courtesy of Rush Hour Karting

How to stay active in North Carolina during winter



According to, 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.

Buffaloe Lanes
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. 

Drive Shack
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. 

Ice Skating
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.

Photo courtesy of Triangle rock Club

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.




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 

Hatley Point
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 

Fort Fisher
1610 Fort Fisher Boulevard South 

Kure Beach 

Fort Macon State Park
2303 E. Fort Macon Road 

Atlantic Beach 

Nags Head Golf Links
5615 S. Seachase Drive, Nags Head 

Jockey’s Ridge State Park
 300 W. Carolista Drive, Nags Head

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