I once went on an epic camping trip to a state park with my extended family. On this trip, my cousin “accidentally” bumped into me while I was kneeling beside our campfire. “Luckily,” I caught myself on the hot coals around the perimeter. Then, this same cousin–we’ll call him Teddy (cough…Michael)–“accidentally” ran into my brother with the twig he’d been using to toast marshmallows with. But Teddy’s reign of terror wouldn’t last long; the final day of our trip he got hit in the head with a Frisbee. Ever since then, he’s been an alarmingly pleasant fellow, though I don’t think I’d invite him on another camping trip…ever.
This weekend, lie to your scariest cousin and pack up the rest of the family for a trip to one of North Carolina’s many state parks (there are 39 to choose from!). Whether you’re in the mood for camping, day hiking, or just a simple picnic, there’s sure to be a state park nearby. And you’re in luck, it just happens to be Celebrate Our State Parks Weekend.
And of course, what trip would be complete without some trusty UNC Press guides to use while exploring the great outdoors? If you’re into birds, bring along a volume of The North Carolina Birding Trail (Mountain Trail Guide, Piedmont Trail Guide, or Coastal Plain Trail Guide). If you’re into turtles, lizards, and snakes (and let’s be honest…who isn’t?), bring along Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia. If you’re near the water, grab a copy of Life along the Inner Coast for a naturalist’s perspective on the inland waterways from Norfolk to Key West. For a guide to NC parks, nature preserves, and hiking trails, try Exploring North Carolina’s Natural Areas.
But, remember–Teddy could have been hit in the head with a Frisbee again; if you see him, steer clear of the campfire.