Quad sitting is nice, and playing soccer or Frisbee on the athletic fields is a fun time, but there are many other places to enjoy the upcoming sunny days near UNC. Here are some of my favorites:
Consisting of 93 acres of protected forest and 1.5 miles of walking trails, Battle Park sits on the eastern edge of campus.
A quick walk down one of the several trails leads into quiet woods, where only the birds and flowing creeks interrupt the calming stillness. Bring a friend or a book, and let the shady forest remove your mind from the hustle and bustle of the college life.
Its nearby location is perfect for a quick escape when time is an issue.
Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area
A mountain near Chapel Hill may sound like a fictional creation, but just a short distance away sits Occoneechee Mountain.
Officially located in the nearby town of Hillsborough, Occoneechee boasts the highest point in the area, along with three miles of hiking trails, ponds for fishing and picnic tables.
While it's a far cry from the peaks of western North Carolina, the elevated land provides a sweet retreat from the Piedmont lowlands.
The highlight of this state park is surely the peak surrounded by evergreen that overlooks Eno River. Take a friend and relax at the summit while giving your legs a rest from all the work it took to get there.
Eno River State Park
Located northwest of Durham is one of the most popular outdoors spots for students. Covered by nearly 30 miles of hiking trails, Eno River State Park provides easy access to its namesake, the Eno River.
Many of the trails parallel to the river cross through shady woods, providing easy walking with great views. Canoeing, kayaking, fishing and camping are also allowed in the park, creating a diverse range of possible activities.
Highlights include a suspended wooden bridge crossing the river and the infamous Eno Quarry swimming hole.
The cascading river and the many options the park offers assure the Eno River will be a spot you’ll want to visit over and over again during the warm spring months.
Maple View Farm
The three previous spots all offer several physical activity options, making them attractive to visitors.
But, let’s be honest: sometimes we don’t feel like exerting ourselves — sometimes even walking is too much.
Not to worry though, as I wouldn’t dare leave out a place for the lazy and weary among us.
Maple View Farm is the perfect place to go when physical activity isn’t in the cards, as long as you don’t consider devouring ice cream to be physical activity.
Surrounded by rolling hills and country roads, Maple View is an ice cream parlor overlooking a picturesque farm. With dozens of flavors of fresh ice cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet, the short drive to Hillsborough for a sweet treat is a must.
Snag a cone (don’t be afraid to go big here — you won’t be judged) and settle down on one of the picnic benches overlooking the farm to enjoy some scenery alongside your ice cream.