One of the greatest things about living in North Carolina is that the weather outside is rarely frightful. And the outdoor activities in the winter are so delightful!

North Carolina typically offers up a short and mild winter that affords residents and visitors alike with a bounty of fun things to do. Whether you’re a thrill seeker who enjoys the speed of a downhill slope or someone who prefers to cozy up with a good book and a cup joe in a quaint café, our beloved Tar Heel State has it all.

The winter solstice officially kicked off on December 21, so we wanted to provide a few ideas for how you and yours can crank up the excitement as the temps cool down.

It’s peak ski season in NC

For people in some parts of the country, North Carolina’s booming ski scene may be a bit of an unknown. But North Carolinians are well aware the state boasts six full-service ski areas with 90 slopes for snow enthusiasts of all ability levels. Not a skier? You’ll find an abundance of ice skating, tubing, sledding, and freestyle terrain parks for those of you who want a little slower pace. The winter sports season usually kicks off around mid-November and remains open through late March. There are discount cards available for frequent skiers that allow adrenaline junkies to hit a number of participating slopes for one inclusive price. The state’s tourism organization, Visit North Carolina, has a bevy of information on winter sports in NC.

Slow down and enjoy the beauty of NC’s waterfalls

Looking for something that’s more of a spectator sport? Try traversing North Carolina’s U.S. Highway 64, also known by its more spectacularly fitting nickname, the Waterfall Byway. Drive along this scenic path for access to a number of the 250 waterfalls located near Brevard—a picturesque city at the entrance of the gorgeous Pisgah National Forest. Rainbow Falls might be the most well-known of the Carolina waterfalls, but Whitewater Falls has to be the most impressive. The highest waterfall on the East Coast at 411 feet, it encompasses a stunning combination of water volume, height, and visibility. Just up the parkway is Looking Glass Falls, which many believe to be one of the country’s most photographed waterfalls. Some of these falls do require a hike over some uneven and slippery terrain, so exercise caution if and when you go. But one of the best things about the Waterfall Byway is that you can get a glimpse at many of these majestic waterfalls from the comforts of your heated car.

Root, root, root for the home team

Our next suggestion is a perfect compromise if you’re looking for something that’s fast and action-packed but comes with the warmth of an arena and the protection of plexiglass. The Carolina Hurricanes continue their 2019 playoff push with regular season games at Raleigh’s PNC Arena through the beginning of April. Tickets are available on the ‘Canes website but be on the lookout for promotions and theme nights the team offers for a little extra fun. If you prefer the roundball to the puck, check out the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) annual basketball tournaments. The men’s tourney is in Charlotte from March 12-16, while the ACC’s women square off in Greensboro, beginning on March 5.

For more information on things to do in North Carolina this winter, check out Happy winter!

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