1. SKATE AMONG THE SKYSCRAPERS
When was the last time you strapped on a pair of ice skates for some classic winter fun? For those a ways away from a frozen-over pond, head downtown to some of North Carolina’s biggest cities to skate with a sparkling view of their skylines. Greensboro, Raleigh, and Charlotte each have their own outdoor rinks.
2. SCOPE OUT FROZEN WATERFALLS
When a cold snap hits the Pisgah National Forest, magic happens at some of the state’s most beautiful waterfalls. See why Looking Glass Falls got its name for the way the sun glistens against its frozen-over edges in the winter. For some exercise, drive a mile north on U.S. 276, park, and take the easy 0.7-mile hiking trail to the lesser known but equally majestic Moore Cove Falls.
3. HIT THE SLOPES AT BEECH MOUNTAIN
beechmtn.com • (828) 387-3572
Head up to Beech Mountain, the highest town east of the Rockies, for its pristine slopes ideal for skiing and sledding. For a more moderate thrill, book a guided snowshoe excursion.
4. PARTICIPATE IN THE DOLPHIN DIP
January 1 • dolphindip.net
If it’s the beach that calls your name, head to Surf City for the annual Dolphin Dip, which is said to be the nation’s largest New Year’s Day swim event. Be one of thousands to plunge into the frigid Atlantic Ocean to raise money for charity.
5. TOUR LINVILLE CAVERNS
linvillecaverns.com • (800) 419-0540
A winter visit to Linville Caverns provides the perfect opportunity to meet some of the caverns’ more elusive residents: eastern pipistrelle bats, which hibernate in the cool, damp quarters from late fall until early spring. While the weather outside is perhaps a little frightful, the caverns are open on weekends in the winter, roads permitting, and they stay at a comfortable 52 degrees all year long.