Affordable summertime activities in the Piedmont Triad

by Keith Barber

Cherry picking

The Levering Orchard in Ararat, Va. is a short 45-minute ride from Winston-Salem and features 32 acres of cherry trees with 44 varieties to choose from. The largest cherry orchard in the South, Levering Orchard provides ladders for visitors to gather fruit the old fashioned way. A day at Levering Orchard offers wholesome family fun, and some of the sweetest cherries you’ve ever tasted. In addition, there’s the Cherry Orchard Theatre, which opens its 2011 season with “An Evening with the Duke,” on July 30.

Hiking at a state park

Pilot Mountain State Park and Hanging Rock State Park are a short drive from Greensboro or Winston-Salem and offer fantastic hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. In addition to hiking amenities, Pilot Mountain offers horseback riding and canoeing. Hanging Rock features sheer cliffs and peaks of exposed rock, pristine forests, cascading waterfalls and spectacular views of the Piedmont plateau.

Downtown events

Listening to live music free of charge is always a treat during the summer months, and the Piedmont Triad has lots to offer in that vein. One of the best musical offerings is Winston- Salem’s Summer on Trade music series. Held at the corner of 6 th and Trade streets in the heart of the arts district, Summer on Trade showcases a wide spectrum of musical groups, including West End Mambo on June 18; Vagabond Saints Society “Woodstock” on June 25 and rockabilly singer Matt Walsh on July 2.

Tubing on the Dan River

A short trip to Stoneville will mark the start of your Dan River experience. Dan River Adventures offers two to four-hour trips down the lazy river on a variety of tubes including the “Cadillac,” which features a mesh bottom and back rest.

Swimming in the Dan River

Sturdy ropes attached to tree branches along the Dan River offer swimmers and sunbathers an old-fashioned Southern experience of flinging yourself from the riverbank and making a big splash in the refreshingly cool water below.


Cycling offers a terrific no-impact exercise with a minimal investment. If you check out Craigslist or visit your local bike shop, you should be able to find a good used mountain bike for around $100. If you’re nervous about cycling in traffic, head out to Tanglewood Park in Forsyth County and take advantage of its excellent mountain biking trails.


Taking a picnic to a scenic local park and finding a spot under a large live oak tree is one of the great joys of summertime. Picnics are perfect for families couples of all ages. Also, getting in tune with nature energizes body, mind and spirit.

Frisbee golf

A number of local parks are Frisbee golf, or disc golf, friendly, including Barber Park in Greensboro. The object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc — like golf, but with Frisbees!

Minor league baseball

The Winston-Salem Dash and the Greensboro Grasshoppers have built beautiful sports complexes and put an entertaining product on the field for several seasons. Ticket prices range from $5 to $45. The stadiums and the fan experience are second to none, offering families a great summer outing experience.

Outdoor movies

The Reynolda House Museum of American Art’s Cinema Under the Stars outdoor movie program has long set the standard for summer movie experiences in the Piedmont Triad. Take a picnic and your lawn chairs and soak up the summer night as a classic film plays on a big screen. For movie lovers, there’s nothing better.