Summer Fun in Sandhills

04 Jun 2019

Adventurous, educational things to do when the temps go up and the kids are out of school.

By Lauren Kruchten

Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve

Take in the beauty of North Carolina’s signature longleaf pine trees with a day at Weymouth Woods Nature Preserve. The park features four miles of various trails for hiking or running, with ample scenery of James Creek and the lush flora and fauna native to the area. A 300-foot boardwalk and observation deck overlooks the swampland, where rare birds and other wildlife can be seen by the curious observer. Picnic tables offer a place for hikers to rest while enjoying the beautiful views of the park.

Sandhills Horticultural Gardens

The delightful Sandhills Horticultural Gardens feature 27 acres of plant life, both from the natural environment of the area and beyond, within ten major gardens. Stroll through the Rose Garden, Sir Walter Raleigh Garden, Ambrose Japanese Garden and more on a beautifully sunny North Carolina day. Sculptures from local artists also are featured throughout the gardens, which are maintained by the horticultural students at Sandhills Community College. When the weather is too nice to stay inside, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy surrounded by lush flora and fauna of the gardens.

Reservoir Park

A picturesque 95-acre lake is the main attraction at Reservoir Park, allowing for boating, fishing and other water activities to be enjoyed. The park also contains more than 12 miles of Greenway trails, two covered picnic shelters, play areas and a disc golf course. Whether you choose to engage in one of the park’s many amenities or just take it easy while enjoying the view of the lake, Reservoir Park makes for a fun-filled afternoon for the whole family on a beautiful day.

Camelot Playground

Camelot Playground is the winner of Best Park of Moore County, making it a great place to take your kiddos on a nice, sunny day, whether they’re three years old or 12. The park consists of a wooden castle, aptly named Camelot, for children to play on, complete with ropes, swings, slides, monkey bars and more fun activities. The playground is bounded by a fence and benches, so parents can keep an eye on their children as their imaginations run wild.

Creation Museum

Perhaps one of the most curious museums you’ll ever step foot in, Southern Pines’ Creation Museum, located in the basement of a Christian bookstore, is full of tons of interesting objects. The Taxidermy Hall of Fame is the biggest draw, displaying over 200 stuffed animals both native and non-native to North Carolina, including deer, scorpions, caribou and a curious fur-bearing trout. Also of interest is the antique tool collection, and the assorted random antique objects you’ll find throughout the shop. On your way out, stop for a taste of some of their signature fudge. 156 NW Broad St, Southern Pines, NC

Black Rock Vineyards

Black Rock Vineyards is the first vinifera vineyard in Moore County, offering nine red varieties and five white varieties of young wines in their tasting room. From Thursday to Sunday enjoy a tasting of either a selection of dry wines or a selection of sweet wines, then grab a glass or bottle to enjoy within their cozy seating area or outside on the patio on a gorgeous day. The vineyard also carries a variety of tasty local products for purchase, including Paradox Farms Goat Cheese, My Sweet Handcrafted Chocolates and Vintage Bee creamed honey.

Pool Park

To escape the summer heat, take a dip in Southern Pines’ 3,000-plus square foot pool, complete with a separate wading pool for toddlers. The park also features a basketball court, a playground with a kids’ zip-line, a large open field for sports or other activities plus a new splash pad to help visitors cool down from the brutal summer heat. Pool Park also contains part of the Greenway Trail, as well as a covered performance stage that’s perfect for hosting community events.

Sunrise Theater

On rainy days, catch a showing at the historic Sunrise Theater on Broad Street in downtown Southern Pines. Originally a hardware store in 1898, the building was converted to a movie theater in the 1940s and instantly became a popular hub for the town’s residents. The theater features weekly showings of first-run and independent films, as well as musical concerts, live community theater and a variety of other offerings. Additionally, during the summer Sunrise Theater participates in the town’s First Friday series with free live music, local beer and food trucks.

Aberdeen Lake Park

Aberdeen Lake Park boasts a scenic two-mile trail around the picturesque Pages Lake. Take your dog, friends or the whole family out for a nice stroll, then enjoy a picnic at the shelter and let your kids run wild at the playground. Fishing and boating is also available, though no gas engines are allowed. If you’re hosting a special event, their gazebo can be rented in advance, making for the perfect outdoor outing amidst the gorgeous views of the lake and surrounding forests.

Lake Pinehurst

If you can’t get away to the beach, Lake Pinehurst is the next best body of water to cool down at during hot summer days, with a convenient location right in your backyard. The man-made lake is great for swimming, floating, laying out on the sand or catching the beautiful North Carolina sunsets. Umbrellas provide shade when you need to catch a break from the brutal sun, while picnic tables allow for family picnics at any time of day. Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding are also encouraged.

Rassie Wicker Park

Located in the heart of Pinehurst, Rassie Wicker Park is a delightful place to spend some time outdoors in the summer. The hundred-acre-plus park features a soccer field, inline skating rink, paved three-mile trail, arboretum, playground and splash pad, complete with fountains and a large tipping water bucket. Rassie Wicker Park’s variety of amenities make it the perfect place to visit on a beautiful day, whether you’re wanting to take a long walk, play a game of soccer, explore the flora and fauna of the area, or cool down from the heat.

Sandhills Gymnastics

Summer is the perfect time to get your kids to try something new, so why not enroll them in a class or camp at Sandhills Gymnastics? An array of classes are offered for all skill levels, whether your child’s a beginner who is just picking up a new hobby or has advanced skills and is looking to grow their competitive edge. Special programs for tumbling and trampoline classes are also offered throughout the day, making it easy to fit into your schedule. Or, enroll your children in an all-day camp to keep the fun going all summer long.

Sandhills Bowling Center

Get out of the heat and onto the lanes at the Sandhills Bowling Center! Enjoy a round or two with the whole family each day of the week, with daily specials like unlimited bowling on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, two dollar games on Tuesdays, and Cosmic Bowling on Friday and Saturday, where black lights, strobe lights, glow-in-the-dark lanes and pulsating music turn the alley into an exciting party while you bowl. Got a kids’ party to plan? Reserve a party package, which includes bowling time, gift bags, decorations, food and more.

Sunrise Theater Southern Pines NC

Carolina Adventure World

If you’re not afraid to get down and dirty, Carolina Adventure World is the place for you. The park is made up of 2,600 acres of private land, making it the largest ATV, UTV and dirt bike riding park in the Southeast. Four-wheelers, SBS and dirt bikes are available for rent to take on the over 100 miles of a custom designed train system, not for the faint of heart. For those who prefer to stay dirt-free, the park also offers horse trails, a disc golf course, camping, a rock crawl and more.

The NAV (National Athletic Village)

Looking to get you or your kids active this summer? The National Athletic Village offers both youth and adult programs like rugby, futsal and soccer, as well as summer camps for ages three to fourteen. Get a day, month, or year pass for athletic activities like archery, obstacle running and access to a competitive performance gym to stay fit all summer long. The NAV also accommodates birthday parties, reunions, team bonding activities, picnics and more, so no matter what event you’re planning or how many people you’ve got coming you can throw a fun-filled get-together outdoors.

Pine Needles

Pine Needles offers some of the finest golfing in Southern Pines. Their course was named the number four golf course in the state by Golfweek, making it the perfect place to tee off either before or after spending time in the gorgeous historic downtown Southern Pines. Treat yourself to a fine meal at one of their three restaurants, which each offer a different curated selection of food and drink to please all palates. To truly immerse yourself in Pine Needles culture, book a Golfari adventure, or a “safari of golf”, to learn how to play the game and partake in cocktail parties, dinners and other evening activities with fellow golfers.

Raven Rock 

A cherished destination for North Carolina hikers, Raven Rock State Park boasts a plethora of beautiful natural pleasures, with the main attractions being Lanier Falls, the fish trap rapids and of course, the infamous Raven Rock. Trails vary in difficulty, from steep mountain terrain to sloped hills to flat walkways along the Cape Fear River, anywhere from a half-mile track to a 6.6 mile round-trip. On each trail, hikers and bikers will witness lush forests and natural wildlife, which are home to such species as turtles, osprey, vultures and even the occasional bald eagle. Because the park is so popular, weekends tend to be busy, so try doing a weekday hike to truly experience the wonders of Raven Rock.

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