You know about the golf at Pinehurst. Its Donald Ross-designed No. 2 course has been around for more than 100 years and will host its third U.S. Open in June. But golf isn't the only thing the historic North Carolina town has to offer. Here are five higher-octane activities to pursue in and around Pinehurst.
Bike the scenic Sandhills
From the 22-mile American Tobacco route through nearby Durham to the woodsy Cape Fear River byway, there are literally hundreds of trails in the Pinehurst vacinity. But if you’re staying at the Village of Pinehurst’s Carolina Hotel (where I did), your best bet might be to start your ride in Southern Pines, just southeast of the resort. Get on Midland Road and make your way back toward the Village. You’ll pass golf courses, sweet-smelling pines and, if you’re lucky, a few Southern belles. Toil around the town of Pinehurst after the 15-20 mile ride, and then head back to the hotel for a tall glass of peach tea. You’ve earned it.
Run alongside history
Like biking, Pinehurst running routes can be found everywhere. Reservoir Park, about 15 minutes away, has a wide array of scenic, two-to-three mile trails. Sticking close to the resort, the twisting roads along the historic village walking tour can also present a nice challenge. But one of the best runs might be the 6.2-mile trail that’s used during the town’s International Triathlon. It hugs the 200-acre Pinehurst Lake and passes through some of the resort’s eight classic golfing grounds. Although it’s short, it’s extremely hilly. And let’s be honest, you’re on vacation—how far do you really need to push it?
Kayak and canoe through the changing seasons
Yeah, about that lake. The Pinehurst Beach Club offers paddle-boarding, kayaking, canoeing, pontoon-boating and more. Get out on the water for as little as $20 during the months of May-September and explore the piney wilderness along the lake’s edges. Come in the fall to experience foliage, wind surf in the summer, or put together a kayak race against your buddies in early spring—200 acres of surf should suffice all of your aquatic needs.
Tour the region on horseback
You can’t help but notice the number of equestrian farms on your ride from the airport into Pinehurst. McLendon Hills is just 20 minutes away from the resort, while Foxtrack Training Center, known more for its jumping trials, is a town over in Southern Pines. Patrol the 25 acres at McLendon, galloping over streams, Carolina hillsides, and grassy fields. Do a trail ride through the woods or take a ring lesson for just $50. If you get good enough, they might let you race at Pinehurst’s historic racing track. On second thought, probably not.
See the South from the sky
What? You didn’t expect to hear skydiving and National Historic Landmark in the same sentence? Well, you’re sort of right. Skydiving Pinehurst/Fayetteville is actually in Fayetteville, just 30 minutes from The Carolina Hotel. But it’s still too close not to experience. Hop out of a plane and see the South from 15,000 feet. If you’re in town for awhile, get a degree from the skydiving school (yes, that’s a real thing), or do a tandem jump with an instructor. Either way, your adrenaline will be higher than you ever thought it could be.