Countless breweries, vineyards and distilleries dot the North Carolina landscape – yet these hotspots are not just for imbibing. Chill out with the help of a goat, pedal a boat built for 10 or try to catch a pop fly in right field without spilling your drink.
Bike down trails at Beech Mountain Resort in Beech Mountain, the highest-elevation town in the eastern U.S. Like during ski season, there’s terrain for every skill level. After a ride, relax with a seasonal brew at the resort-owned Beech Mountain Brewing Company at the bottom of the mountain or 5506' Skybar at the top. Bikes and brews also go together at Oskar Blues Reeb Ranch near Hendersonville. Reeb (“beer” backward) is a cycle brand founded by the folks at Oskar Blues Brewery. Try the on-site bike park or ride singletrack trails in DuPont State Forest.
Pedal power works on water too. Take a cruise on the Cape Fear River with BrewBoat Wilmington. Bring your own beer or wine and your feet – there are 10 seats for pedalers and a bench seat for five. Prefer paddle power? Head to the mountains and kayak or SUP to Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Mills River. It’s on the French Broad River, a paddler’s paradise.
If pairing yoga with wine isn’t too much of a stretch, visit Linville Falls Winery in Linville Falls. Yoga in the Vineyard on select summer Friday afternoons promises inner calm amid the winery’s green, peaceful setting. Stick around afterward for sips. Near the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, nature-loving Ecusta Brewing Company has outdoor seating along the Davidson River. Stop for a beer after a hike or ride, or stock up on their canned brews, such as First Descent IPA, for camping or fishing.
Hike with a partner who’s cute (if a bit hairy) and carries your gear at Divine Llama Vineyards in East Bend. Lead a leashed llama on a leisurely 2-mile trek through the hills, then sample some Merlina, a red wine named for one of the female animals.
For yoga that’s maaa, not meh, Weeping Radish Farm Brewery in Grandy is your goat-to spot. During spring yoga classes, adorable baby goats “help” with poses. At the brewery’s pub or store, buy seasonal Maibock beer (look for the goat on the can).
See more goats at The Vineyard and Winery at Catawba Farms in Newton, plus pigs, chickens, barn cats, Henry the peacock and a horse named Major Tom. Tour the vineyard and try a tasting that includes five wines.
A haven for wildlife and domesticated life, Greene’s Lake Conservation Park in Elizabethtown creates a meditative space with easy hikes and a paved walking path along the shore. Take the trail to Cape Fear Vineyard and Winery, which houses the Cape Fear Distillery pouring bold Frying Pan Shoals Bourbon and smooth Cape Fear Rum. Try to make friends with the resident peacocks!
Take yourself out to the ball game in Durham and buy some peanuts, Cracker Jack and cocktails. Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home of the famed Minor League Baseball team, sells canned Gin and Tonic and Vodka Soda from Durham Distillery. Or grab a cold brew from the in-stadium Bull Durham Beer Co., the first brewery in the country owned by a Minor League team.
Craft beer lovers score at Fayetteville’s new Segra Stadium, where the Woodpeckers play. The park’s Healy’s Right Field Bar keeps local beers on tap, including Blood Orange Kolsch from Dirtbag Ales Brewery and Taproom in nearby Hope Mills.
More spirited adventures await in The Official 2023 North Carolina Travel Guide. Prasana William contributed to this story.