March 1, 2024

Fun Ways to Explore Winston-Salem

Whether by two feet, two wheels, or even four hooves, there are numerous ways to tour Winston-Salem and the surrounding areas.


Reynolda Gardens
The 4-acre formal gardens at Reynolda bursts with seasonal tones.

See History in Bloom

You can experience Winston-Salem’s deep-rooted history by exploring its stunning collection of historic gardens, many of which date back centuries.

Begin your tour in the "birthplace of Winston-Salem," Historic Bethabara Park, a National Historic Landmark that pays homage to the earliest Moravian settlement in the Southeast, established in 1753. It was here the Moravians (a group of religious refugees) established the nation's oldest-known medicinal garden AND the only documented colonial garden in the nation (i.e. The Community Garden), both of which are free and open to visitors.

A few miles away at Old Salem Museums & Gardens, you can stroll through several award-winning heirloom gardens that feature examples of what Moravians grew in the 17th and 18th centuries. (Note to visitors: you can peek at the gardens at no cost, as it's free to stroll through Old Salem, but tickets are required to enter several of the interpreted gardens and buildings.)

And no tour of local greenspaces would be complete without a stop at Reynolda Gardens, located on the former 1917 estate of tobacco baron R.J. Reynolds. Free and open year-round, the 125-acre nature preserve features a magnificent 4-acre formal garden, historic greenhouse, dazzling waterfall, and miles of nature trails through thick woods, wetlands, and rolling meadows.


Two women posing for a photo on a segway tour

Cruise Through Old Salem on a Segway Tour

Head out with Triad ECO Adventures on a Segway Tour through historic Salem. This 1766 Moravian settlement is one of our city’s most popular attractions. Thousands visit every year to experience the 18th and 19th-century traditions of these early settlers. While Triad ECO Adventures offers a variety of tours throughout the week, this special Old Salem tour is only offered on Mondays, Old Salem’s “day off,” creating a peaceful setting for your two-wheeled outing. Seek out the perfect fall foliage backdrop beside the towering maple trees found outside the 1771 Miksch House. Marvel at the fiery glow of the Gingko Tree in God’s Acre, a Moravian cemetery where rolling hills are dotted with identical white marble headstones. And don’t forget to swing by Winkler Bakery, one of the oldest operating bakeries in the country, which gladly serves up fresh-baked autumn treats.


Salem Lake

Cycle Salem Lake and the Surrounding Greenways

A short drive from all the action of downtown is Salem Lake, a local favorite with endless ways to explore. Kayaks are available for rent from May-September, but private boat launching is available year-round. Looking for some fun outdoor activities to get the kiddos excited about nature? Stop by the marina and ask about their children's programs and activities, including their exciting scavenger hunt that teaches kids (and adults) about local wildlife and native plants. But the real highlight here is the Salem Lake Trail, a mostly shaded 7-mile path that runs around the entire lake. The pathway is mostly crushed gravel and wide enough to accommodate runners, bikers, even horseback riders.

Near the lake dam, the Salem Lake Trail connects to the 5.2-mile Salem Creek Greenway, which has multiple routes branching off to some of Winston-Salem’s top sites. This includes Quarry Park (accessible via the Waughtown Connector), the Innovation Quarter, and the Downtown Strollway, which travels alongside Old Salem. The Salem Creek Greenway eventually ends at another recreation gem, Washington Park, home to a popular dog park, multiple picnic spots, and a beloved dinosaur-themed playground.


Divine Llama

Take a Llama for A Vineyard Stroll

Where there’s wine, there’s…llamas? That’s the case for Divine Llama Vineyards! Located just 20 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem, Divine Llama offers guided llama treks through trails on the 77-acre wooded estate. The curious, friendly, and ever-so-furry hiking companions can carry your gear before you enjoy a wine flight in the tasting room. Although Divine Llama is only open Thursday through Sunday, it’s near two other Yadkin Valley wineries—Cellar 4201 and Medaloni Cellars. Visit all three next time you’re in Winston-Salem over a weekend, or expand your reach and plan a vineyard tasting tour to even more nearby vineyards in the Yadkin Valley! Want to book your llama trek? Check out Divine Llama’s website for more information and availability or email [email protected] directly to schedule.


Pilot Mountain

Plot Your Way Up Pilot Mountain

Less than half an hour from downtown, Pilot Mountain State Park is one of the most visited sites in the North Carolina state park system. Known for its iconic peak—a perfect backdrop for pictures—Pilot Mountain offers miles of winding trails to take in a variety of views based on the season, from lush greenery in the spring and summer to the stunning colors of autumn. Choose your own adventure from beginner to advanced, whether hiking or biking. Rock climbing and rappelling are even allowed on portions of the park’s cliffs. From the easy accessible Little Pinnacle Overlook, you'll get striking long-range views of the entire region, including the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and the Winston-Salem skyline to the south. For a moderate, memorable hike, take the Pilot Knob Trail (formerly the Jomeokee Trail), a 1-mile loop that travels along the base of the iconic pinnacle.

Fun Fact: The town of Pilot Mountain is best recognized as “Mt. Pilot” from The Andy Griffith Show.


Cheers in downtown

Snack Around Town on a Walking Food Tour

For many, the best way to experience a city is through its food. And if you aren't sure where to start, Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours is happy to lead the way. The company offers multi-stop walking food tours through downtown and the West End neighborhood that introduce the restaurants and chefs making Winston-Salem a foodie hotspot. Tours last around three hours and cover around a mile in total. Currently, Taste Carolina is offering brunch-themed tours with drink pairings each Saturday as well as private/group tours that can be arranged any day or night. For more details, including costs and FAQs, visit Taste Carolina's website.

No matter how you choose to enjoy it, a visit to Winston-Salem is a must any time of the year. Share pictures from your next escape on Facebook @VisitWS or Instagram @VisitWinstonSalem or use the hashtags #VisitWS #WinstonSalem