Uwharrie is three miles from the geographical center of North Carolina, which makes it an ideal vacation destination for outdoor activities. It’s easy to find what you enjoy right here, whether it’s swimming, boating, hiking, skiing, or horseback riding. How much would the kids enjoy panning for gold at Reed Gold Mine in Midland? From the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman to North Carolina BBQ in Lexington, Uwharrie vacations offer plenty of fun. Here is a list of the top 12 Uwharrie vacation rental locations.

1. Uwharrie National Forest, North Carolina

Are you a history buff? Do you like covered bridges? Vacation rentals in the Uwharrie National Forest area place you about 14 miles northeast of the town of Uwharrie. Take your family to see a piece of history by visiting the Pisgah Covered Bridge, which is one of two remaining covered bridges in the state. The bridge construction cost $40 when it was built in 1911 to cross the West Fork Branch of the Little River. You will want to take your camera or smartphone, so you can snap multiple pictures for lifelong memories, as you can drive down to the bridge and walk across it.

2. Troy, North Carolina

The friendly folks at Uwharrie Hoof and Paddle in Troy want to make your day. If you bring the picnic and the family, they’ll fix you up with canoes or kayaks, paddles, life jackets, and instructions for an exciting day. All that’s left is to float along the Uwharrie River, where you can stop for a swim, picnic, or sun yourself along the way.

3. Biscoe, North Carolina

Sometimes you just want to hide out in a small town where you can catch your breath and slow down; Biscoe is that kind of town. Part of the town is inside the boundary of the national forest; that’s how far away from the daily grind you are. Once you set those suitcases down, you can get to Uwharrie Stables in less than a half hour for a guided trail ride to settle your jangled nerves and enjoy sightseeing from a new perspective.

4. Candor, North Carolina

Candor, the home of the annual North Carolina Peach Festival, is a charming place to get away from it all. You can take the family to Johnson’s Peaches to buy fresh fruit that is in the season, including peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, and pears. The farmers market offers other crops as well, including okra, corn, and various melons. A highlight of the visit is enjoying some of the delicious, homemade ice cream.

5. Mt. Gilead, North Carolina

It’s all about that rustic country road when you vacation in Mt. Gilead. This is country living at its most charming, and the lush rural landscapes are breathtaking. The best scenery awaits you along the country back roads. You’re within three miles of the national forest’s woodlands, lakes, and rivers to enjoy hiking, biking, horseback riding, or fishing. The kids will enjoy Town Creek Indian Mound, one of the most popular historic sites in the state. Exhibits include replicas of a Native American village and genuine artifacts.

6. Norwood, North Carolina

Everything your vacation needs is within minutes of your reach in Norwood, and you can take the kids to visit popular attractions, including Rockingham Speedway in less than an hour. Residents and visitors use all types of watercraft to enjoy water skiing, boating, inner tubing, and jet skiing on picturesque Lake Tillery and the Pee Dee River. For your convenience, several marinas at the lake rent small boats and other equipment.

7. Albemarle, North Carolina

You can have a great vacation without having to rough it by booking your vacation rental in Albemarle, a small city that lies within 15 minutes of the southwest boundary of the national forest. It’s easy to pack a picnic and gather up the family for a day of exploring the Pee Dee River on a guided float tour. When you’re ready to kick it up a notch, Carowinds, a 398-acre amusement park in Charlotte, is about an hour’s drive to the west.

8. Badin Lake, North Carolina

If you bring your boat, you can drive up to the lake and put her into Badin Lake, then fish or cruise around the lake. Each passenger needs a life jacket to be ready to make some waves. On another day, a jet ski adventure gets the adrenaline pumping, as you zip past the beautiful lake scenery with the breeze in your hair and the mist on your face.

9. Star, North Carolina

When your creative inner self-longs to breathe, the quaint little town of Star fills the bill. It’s on the map, but off the beaten path. If you want to go hiking or fishing in the national forest, you can get there within minutes. For indoor adventure, you can visit STARworks to learn the art of glassblowing or see how it is done.

10. Seagrove, North Carolina

Seagrove is often referred to as the pottery capital of North Carolina and the pottery capital of the world, owing to more than 100 potteries operating in it and surrounding towns. Bring your family to the local potteries invite to see how potters work and browse collectible pieces. The town is also the home of the North Carolina Pottery Center, which opened in the late ’90s and has since received visitors from all over the world.

11. Asheboro, North Carolina

The North Carolina Zoo is only about six miles from the northeast boundary of the Uwharrie National Forest, making the Asheboro area a rich resource for vacation activities. The zoo features a 30-minute paddle boat tour to view lake wildlife, as well as two Dino Bus tours that pass by animatronic dinosaurs. You can get close to the animals, including the polar bears when they swim right up to the window to peer at you. The aviary features more than 3,000 plants and birds for a fun-filled, educational trip.

12. Silver Valley, North Carolina

The quiet Silver Valley area is the ideal place to unplug and unwind. In just 20 minutes, you can get to Kersey Valley Attractions in Archdale, a little to the northeast. Laser tag and the rock climbing wall let you enjoy some action with the kids. Escape rooms provide great opportunities to get everyone working as a team to figure out the clues to get out of locked rooms. If you’re up to it, you can put the zippy in your do-dah day with a zip line adventure.