Summer Travelers Can Stay Cool Across North Carolina

With its mountain air, ocean breezes, freshwater lakes and flowing streams, North Carolina extends cool touches from the peaks to the beach. Throughout summer, travelers can soak up the sun without melting. Before putting plans into action, Visit North Carolina recommends checking state and local advisories about openings and regulations related to COVID-19. A review of tips for the beach and other outdoor activities further ensures a safe trip.
Wave-seekers flock to the barrier island beaches that form 300 miles of Atlantic coastline. Historic brick lighthouses and lively history add interest value to a full slate of water activities and the airborne adventures found along the windy stretches. The gentler waters of the Albemarle, Pamlico and other sounds ripple in counterpoint to the ocean’s rolling breakers and expand the coastal experience. They also make it possible to watch the sun rise and set over glistening the waters.
West of the tidewater, the vast Coastal Plain boasts stretches of lakefront beaches. Tradition draws families to White Lake, once believed to have been created by meteors, for its white sands and clear water. Lake Gaston, a Dominion Energy reservoir well-loved for fishing, has gained standing among wakeboarders, thanks to two-time world champion Adam Field’s AF Wake. Off Interstate 85 near Henderson, Kerr Lake and its state recreation area appeal to boaters, swimmers and fishermen.
Charlotte, Raleigh and Durham claim three of the state’s largest reservoirs as backyard amenities with hiking trails, swimming areas and boating access at Lake Norman, Falls Lake and Jordan Lake. Travelers can also find boat rentals and lake-related services in Mooresville, Cornelius, Wake Forest and other towns near the banks. Mountains add beauty and a breeze as they rise behind recreation-rich W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir in Wilkesboro and Lake James between Morganton and Marion.
As the highway reaches the Blue Ridge Mountains, cool-weather expectations rise and are usually met at the highest elevations. Temperatures in Cashiers, Highlands and the Blue Ridge Parkway’s High Country towns generally top out in the 70s while other places might see the mercury climb. Whenever a hotter-than-wanted day arrives, relief can be found in north-flowing rivers such as the Nantahala, the French Broad, the Green and the New, where whitewater rafting, tubing, kayaking and fly fishing mean refreshing splashes or full immersion. Rivers and tributaries also account for hundreds of waterfalls, some of which create old-fashioned swimming holes and a natural waterslide or two. Another way to appreciate a cool flow of water: sluicing for gems at mountain mines.
For more inspiration and helpful details for mapping a cool summer trip, stop by


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