Let’s Get Outside
A Local Guide to Our Favorite Outdoor Places
This month on the Brookview Wellness blog and social feeds we are all about the great outdoors! The health benefits of getting out into the fresh air are plentiful, both physically and mentally. We are lucky to have many months of great weather each year here in North Carolina, and it is easy to find a great day to go on a hike, pick some local produce, ride your bike, or go for a swim. Let’s explore some great places to get outside!
Why Get Outside?
We all know that a little fresh air and a walk are great for our mind and body, but maybe you don’t know HOW great that little commitment to a daily walk can actually be. Some of the incredible physical and mental benefits of getting some daily outdoor exercise are:
Not to mention that it is free, easily accessible and a great way to diversify your routines without the hassle of classes and memberships. So, where are you going to go on your next outdoor adventure? Keep reading as we share some of our favorite local places to take advantage of all the benefits of outdoor exercise.
Our region is covered in walking and hiking trails for all fitness levels. From slow strolls through natural settings to some pretty challenging hikes, you can find a trail that suits your mood and desired difficulty. Here are some of our favorites:
Bass Lake Park – 900 Bass Lake Rd, Holly Springs
Over 4 miles of natural trails around Bass Lake. Open daily 8am – sunset.
Harris Lake County Park – 2112 County Park Dr, New Hill
680-acre park located around the Shearon Harris Reservoir. Open daily 8am – sunset
Raven Rock State Park – 3009 Raven Rock Rd, Lillington
Miles of hiking trails of various difficulty. Open daily 7am – 10pm.
New Hope Trail – 280 State Park Rd., Apex
Two loops, one easy and one a more difficult hike, surrounding Lake Jordan. Open daily 8am – 9pm.
Carrol Howard Johnson Environmental Education Park – 301 Wagstaff Rd, Fuquay-Varina
Two miles of trails focused on environmental education. Open daily 8am – 7pm.
Great Places to Go With Kids
Make your outdoor excursion kid-friendly with these fun local destinations. These have an educational, hands-on element that gets the kids moving and learning.
Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve – 2616 Kildaire Farm Rd, Cary
Three miles of nature trails with access to the Stevens Nature Center.
Trails open daily 9am to sunset
Nature Center open M-F 10am – 2pm
Museum of Life and Science – 433 W. Murray Avenue, Durham
84 acres of open-end science and nature experiments with many outdoor, hands-on exhibits. Open daily 10am- 5pm
NC State Art Museum – 1900 Blue Ridge Rd, Raleigh
Visit the Ann and Jim Goodnight Museum Park which leads visitors along trails with art installations. Open daily from dawn until dusk.
Awesome Biking Trails
Perhaps your idea of getting outside includes a cool set of wheels! There is no shortage of places to bike in the area. In fact, many of the parks mentioned above would also be great places to take your iron stallion for a leisurely ride through nature. Want something more challenging, check out these great bike trail options that are just a short jaunt up the road to Apex and Raleigh.
American Tobacco Trail – 1309 New Hill Olive Chapel Rd, Apex
A long stretch of trails, both asphalt and stone, extending from Apex to Durham and connecting to White Oak Creek Greenway which ends in Fred Bond Metro Park in Apex.
27.5 miles of paved trail that is often called the best biking trail in the area with a variety of entry and parking points. Easy access available at Perry Creek Soccer Park in Raleigh. Open daily dawn until dusk.
Pick-Your-Own Produce Farms
Not all exercise has to feel like it, right? Visit one of these pick-you-own produce farms and walk the fields while gathering berries. A great way to get outside and so much fun for the kiddos, too.
Dr. Young’s Pond Blueberry Farm – 10865 NC 210 N., Angier
Porter Farms & Nursery – 3525 NC Highway 42, Willow Spring
DJ’s Berry Patch – 1223 Salem Church Rd., Apex
There is nothing like swimming in the summer heat, and we have some really great spots for you to dip your toes, rent a canoe or paddle board, and have a great time while getting in that essential vitamin D.
Cape Fear Adventures – 100 South Main St., Lillington
A fun place to rent a canoe, kayak, paddle board or go tubing down the Cape Fear River.
A strip of sandy beach and swimmable access to Jordan Lake can be found at the Ebenezer Church, Parker’s Creek, and Seaforth access points.
Rent a local pool! That’s right, you heard us. You can rent out local, privately owned pools for a day with this new hourly rental service. It’s like Airbnb for pools.
We hope this comprehensive list of great places to get outside inspires you to do just that. We love well-rounded health here at Brookview Wellness, and we are always here to encourage, support and guide you on your path to optimized health.