Our NC Nature Bucket List: Gorgeous Scenery Awaits at the Beach! At the Falls! And Beyond!


You are probably well aware of the gorgeous, outdoor space locally, given your choice of a home in Fuquay Varina at the South Lakes neighborhood. However, another selling point that helped you decide on where to live, your centralized location, opens new doors “in nature” for you statewide. With beaches in one direction, mountains to another and so many gorgeous spots outside and between, you are never far from experiencing any of this beauty. Thus, what follows is our definitive NC Nature Bucket List. We aren’t saying you have to see this all at once but do yourself a favor and be sure you at least see each of these once.

Parks, lakes, falls…they are all here and they are now in the state you call home. We will start with several points of our NC Nature Bucket List that will take you to the beach.

NC Nature Bucket List : Around the Beach

White Lake

Known as a “residential resort community,” White Lake is actually a 1,200-acre body of water in Bladen County. On average about 200,000. visitors come to see the beauty and fun that awaits at this entry on our NC Nature Bucket List.

The true reason for its inclusion though is not the “touristy” aspects. It is the amazing crystal-clear water in White Lake and the white sandy bottom below it. With no tides, currents, or real danger, White Lake is the water-loving family’s paradise. Likewise, it is now right in your home state.

Jockey’s Ridge State Park

Another addition to our NC Nature Bucket List and another gorgeous spot that is located near or in one of the most traveled spots among the NC beaches, Nagshead.

With Jockey’s Ridge State Park, however, the popularity is not just the town’s. See, this is the number one most popular state park in all of North Carolina. It boasts an array of ecosystems you can see, walking and hiking trails that lead to the ocean, and the East Coast’s largest living sand dune.

Sand Dollar Island

Located near another great NC beach attraction, Sand Dollar Island is just off Beaufort. This entry to the NC Nature Bucket List will find you taking a ferry ride to our beautiful destination. 

We forewarn you though as you plan the ferry ride over, yes, you will see sand dollars as you’ve never seen before. However, you will not have facilities and amenities you’d be used to at a point such as this. Likewise, there is almost no shade, so again PLAN ACCORDINGLY. That being said, this is an adventure if planned out correctly that is an experience the whole family will not soon forget.

The Beauty of the Falls Awaits Across NC

While many speak of heading to the beach or a weekend in the mountains, some of the most spectacular scenery in the state is in areas with falls. Now, due to the surroundings of these areas, they are not always the easiest to navigate by trail. However, if you are physically capable, these stops on the NC Nature Bucket List are some of the most majestic to view and well worth the extra effort.

Crabtree Falls

The first of our stops to see “the falls” on our NC Nature Bucket List is located at mile marker 339.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

While that may sound like a very remote spot to visit, it is not difficult to get to. Basically, you take the two-and-a-half-mile looing trail to arrive at Crabtree Falls. It is admittedly not the easiest of trails to maneuver. However, if you are capable, this 70-foot emerald waterfall sits amazingly in the forest that goes along the parkway.

Elk River Falls

A much easier spot to get to than our previously mentioned “falls.” Likewise, though, this entry on our NC Nature Bucket List is a true sight to see. However, in certain spots here at Elk River falls, you must proceed with extreme caution.

To get to Elk River Falls, you will drive into a parking area for Elk River Park. Once you park, there is a trail (0.3 miles) that will lead the way to a beautiful rock beach. The beach sets at the base of Elk River Falls. Be very careful though if you are thinking of trying to head to the top of these falls. Also take great caution if rafting in these beautiful waters. Don’t get us wrong, this is spectacular hike and one of the prettiest scenes in al of NC. But there have been several fatalities at this spot due to carelessness both at the top of the falls and rafting, so we implore you to just be safe.

McGailliard Falls Park

This is a true “hidden gem” among our NC Nature Bucket List. It is located in a city park near the town of Valdese, NC and sits directly alongside the trail you would arrive here on. 

This waterfall features a gorgeous, sandy beach at its bottom and is great for taking a swim on a warm day. (It’s very safe, too!) Honestly, if you live close to this spot, it may become your new “go to” picnic area.

Beyond Your Beautiful Home at South Lakes is State Full of Natural Beauty

Once again, supporting your move to the South Lakes community and your new home in Fuquay Varina is the proximity to all these spectacular outdoor locations. This NC Nature Bucket List gives you a starting point and some ideas for enjoying the incredible places across the state. 

For more information on the location of the South Lakes neighborhood in respect to other great stops across NC and for any further details on the Fuquay new home community, visit southlakesliving.com.