How many parks have you been to?
Check the main state park page to see the most current numbers! We average between 3-6 per month, and we visited 14 parks in the first quarter of 2019.
Why aren’t you going to more park programs?
We love the different programs offered by park rangers, and we attend them whenever we can. Some require pre-registration, which can be tricky when we’re not sure where we’ll be going on a particular day (park daytrips are completely weather dependent). We also don’t have a lot of flexibility for what time we’ll be available, and many programs are scheduled for weekdays or Saturdays. In the first quarter of 2019, we participated in two programs: a “first day hike” (January 1!) at Haw River State Park, and a tour of the Rockefeller home at Carver’s Creek State Park.
Why don’t you hike on Saturday?
As Torah-keepers, we observe a Biblically-ordained rest on the seventh day. Our Shabbat observance includes not traveling and not engaging in commerce, so state park trips are almost always on Sunday.
Can we go with you?
Sure! When we originally made our state park goal, we were hoping to have friends and family join us frequently, but we didn’t really consider that the distances would be a big factor. Charlotte is not the most central point in NC (it would be easier to travel back and forth from Raleigh), so the average park is at least 2.5hrs away. Only a handful are under 2hrs. We have gotten into a good routine of taking 12+ hour daytrips, but it’s definitely not for everyone. That said, shoot me an email if you’d like to meet us at a park!
Are you visiting all the state parks in order?
Kind of. We have them ordered seasonally, which has proved to be the best method so far. North Carolina is divided into three regions – mountains, piedmont, and coastal plain. The coastal plain is primarily beaches and oceanfront parks, while the piedmont has many lakes with swimming accesses. Since we started our family goal in January, it made sense to start with the mountain region and save the other areas for warmer weather. Our park spreadsheet has a general order, not a specific one, because keeping up a good pace means having options where the weather is good on a particular day.
How much does it cost to visit all the state parks?
We’re not entirely sure yet! However, most of the costs are minimal. There are a few recreation areas which charge $7 admission, but the main cost would be extra gas getting to and from the parks. There are options to rent kayaks or canoes for $7/hour, as well as per/person admission to Grandfather Mountain State Park (with a free alternate entrance) and Chimney Rock State Park. One larger cost we ran into was overnight accomodations at the Outer Banks. There is a grouping of parks about 6-7 hours from Charlotte – simply too long and too many for a day trip. We’ve booked an AirBnB for a few days in July to travel out there. Depending on where you live in the state, I’m not sure the goal can be reached without an overnight stay. Could be a possibility for Raleigh residents though.
What’s your favorite park?
So far, Greg’s favorite is South Mountain State Park, and mine is Gorges State Park.
How far can the berries hike? What was your furthest hike?
Their sweet spot is probably right around a mile, but we’ve gone as far as 5 miles in a day.