Cheers to These Spirited Adventures Across North Carolina

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.

Natural Highs

Bike down trails at Beech Mountain Resort in Beech Mountain, the highest-elevation town in the eastern US. 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. You can also try the on-site bike park or ride singletrack trails in DuPont State Recreational Forest.

Two friends drinking beers on bar deck overlooking mountains and ski slopes
5506' Skybar

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 days 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.

Creature Features

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.

Two women petting a llama on sunny day at Divine Llama Vineyards in East Bend
Divine Llama Vineyards

See 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!

Diamond Draws

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.

View of Durham Bulls Athletic Park field in Durham from foul territory
Durham Bulls Athletic Park

Craft beer lovers score at Fayetteville’s 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. You can find a handful of other Minor League Baseball teams across the state too, including in Charlotte, Asheville, Winston-Salem and Greensboro.

More spirited adventures await in The Official 2024 North Carolina Travel Guide. Prasana William contributed to this story.

Updated May 3, 2024
About the Author

Gary Thompson

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