Trip distance: About 80 miles north of the Lake Norman area, off U.S. 21.
The massive granite dome towers over the park, which features camping, hiking, climbing, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding and more. There are more than 18 miles of trails and more than 20 miles of designated trout waters in the park, which spreads below the Blue Ridge Parkway. A campground offers 90 sites, some with utility hookups, and group and backpacking campsites are nearby. Rock climbing is allowed by permit on the 600-foot granite face above Hutchinson Homestead, a restored mid-19th century mountain farm. Expansive picnic grounds with shelters also are available.
Where: 3042 Frank Parkway, Roaring Gap