14 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors this Summer in Chatham and Orange Counties

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By Laney Dalton

Person Running Outdoor Summer Activity Checklist Chatham County
Run the historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail in Hillsborough. Photo Courtesy Alliance of Historic Hillsborough.

Go Exploring – See How Many You Can Check Off the List!

Head to Eno River Farm in Hillsborough, which opened this spring, to try its homemade ice cream. Though the U-pick strawberry and tulip season is over, the farm also offers a variety of plants and produce for purchase.

Visit the Coker Arboretum at UNC while campus is at its quietest. It offers 5 acres of beautiful greenery and blooms, perfect for a picnic lunch or quiet reading if you’re solo.

Walk on the historic Occoneechee Speedway Trail in Hillsborough. The leafy loop was originally a half-mile horse track, and it was later expanded for NASCAR races.   

Take a self-guided walking tour of the murals in Chapel Hill.

Hike at George and Julia Brumley Family Nature Preserve. It consists of more than a dozen trails that are easy to moderate and that range from 0.2 miles to 3.5 miles.

Take a hike to the top of Occoneechee Mountain, the highest point in Orange County! 

Have a picnic at the Eno River State Park. There are many spots on the river to stop for a snack, as well as various picnic shelters. 

Go fishing, paddle boating, kayaking and more at Lake Michael in Mebane. This 59-acre lake is idyllic for a day’s getaway on the western edge of Orange County. 

Explore the Lower Haw River State Natural Area by walking its trails with views of the river.

Go swimming at Jordan Lake or spend the night at one of the open campsites (Crosswinds, Parkers Creek and Poplar Point; boat ramps inside camping facilities open for campers only, and campers must reserve in advance) and stargaze. 

For a dry-land family picnic, Parkers Creek and White Oak beaches offer picnic tables and wide-open sandy access to the water (tentatively opening in Phase 3). You can also rent a kayak or paddleboard for a full day or half day at Crosswinds Boating Center. For more information, click here.

Walk the Riverwalk in Hillsborough. There are many spots to stop and enjoy the view along the 1.8-miles-long trail.

Watch the sunset as you munch on a cone piled high with homemade ice cream on the Maple View Farm lawn.

Maple View Farm Ice Cream Cones Orange County Outdoor Summer Activity

Visit Gold Park in Hillsborough – the 24-acre park has a multipurpose field that is perfect for games. 

Take your dog for a walk at Battle Park. Walk the stairs at the historic stone amphitheater, Forest Theatre.  

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Chatham Mag Intern

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