6 Escapes Recommended by Local Outdoorsy Folks

Ah, sweet escape! We asked outdoor enthusiasts where they go to Zen out near Raleigh.
by Melissa Howsam

photograph by Joshua Steadman


“I find peace and serenity anywhere I can get out from under a roof—hiking out near Boone, fishing on  Jordan Lake or even just cloud-watching from a picnic blanket with my kids in the yard.” Eva Shockey Brent, CEO of the Eva Shockey Lifestyle Brand

“When I’m looking to escape into nature, Falls Lake is the most peaceful local spot I’ve found. There are plentiful trails so everyone has space. Every visit is refreshing!” Jordan M. Foreman, Arborist

“Fortunately, the Triangle has plenty of space to roam! My nearby favorite is the Loblolly Trail inside William B. Umstead State Park. It meanders by creeks, ponds and an abundance of nature.” Chuck Millsaps, Minister of Culture, Great Outdoor Provision Co.

Carl Alwin Schenck Forest is where I start a lot of my trail runs. It has great trails, some hidden, unique wildlife and feeds back into the back of Umstead State Park. We are so lucky to have a park where you can get completely lost in nature in our backyard!” Alex Warren, Owner of Runologie

“There’s nothing like the Appalachian balds. These grassy mountaintops are ecologically unique to our area and offer wide-ranging views, rare and endangered plant species and even ripe berries for the picking. Two of my favorites are Max Patch and Craggy Garden. Both are accessible via short hikes—though once you arrive at the tops, you feel worlds away.” Tina Currin, Appalachian Trail thru-hiker and outdoor guide

“I love the Walnut Creek Wetland Park. The center has designated areas for wildlife, green spaces and more! They also offer on-site rentals for you to stay and enjoy the park.” —Lauren D. Pharr, Ornithologist and science writer