Swimming, baseball games, cookouts, relaxing in a hammock with a cold glass of lemonadethese classic summer fun activities never get old, and you certainly don’t need us to tell you about them.

That’s why, for this year’s SUMMER GUIDE, we’re digging out some wonders and oddities you’ll find in North Carolina (and slightly beyond) a little off the beaten path.

If you’re looking for a novel side jaunt, we’ve got you covered with a variety of unusual things to see and do less than a day’s drive away from the Triangle.

Colin Warren-Hicks visits the dubiously tasteful roadside attraction known as South Of the Border (p. 16), while Glenn McDonald rounds up the last remaining drive-in movie theaters in the state (p. 18).

Chris Vitiello gets a crispy plate of liver mush at a festival in Marion (p. 19) and gazes into murky jars of medical artifacts in Beaufort County (p. 17).

Curt Fields maps the many “World’s Largest” curiosities dotting N.C. (p. 20), and Allison Hussey stops by a one-of-a-kind folk art garden and doll village near the coast (p. 21).

Of course, not everyone travels in the summer. For those of you who prefer to keep your adventures local, Lisa Sorg takes a lap on the Historic Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsborough (p. 15) and goes spelunking in the numbered alleyways of Durham (p. 16).

Chris Vitiello hits the roller derby rink with Durham’s Carolina Rollergirls (p. 19) and Craig D. Lindsey trains for the first ever Oak City Beard and Mustache Competition at Kings in Raleigh (p. 20).

Nothing beats a day at the beach, but visiting these N.C. nooks and crannies will spice up any summer road trip you’ve got planned.

Summer Guide

  • Über alleys
  • Hirsute heroes
  • Bridal fleas & rattlesnake neckties
  • Crossing the border
  • Message in a bottle
  • Unholy rollers
  • World’s largest story
  • The last (outdoor) picture show
  • Starting line
  • YOLO (You only liver once)