With its mild climate, Charlotte is ideal for year-round outdoor activities. Here's our guide for a few not to miss.
U.S. National White Water Center
Open for almost a decade, USNWC boasts 1,100 acres of active, outdoor fun and a wide variety of activities for all ages and skill levels. Guests can enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing and zip lining. Guests can also walk, run or mountain bike on 25 miles of trails. Want a more relaxed day? No problem. The USNWC hosts multiple concerts and events throughout the year. Don’t forget to grab a bite at the River’s Edge Bar & Grill or a beer from the Pump House Biergarten.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is located within 380 acres of land nestled on the banks of Lake Wyle, featuring 11 themed gardens on 10 acres, 12 fountains throughout and nature trails. The not-to-miss Orchid Conservatory is the Carolinas' only glass house dedicated to orchids and tropical plants. The building is 8,000 square feet and features ever-changing exhibits.
After World War II, the Mecklenburg County Lions Club wanted to build a park to honor veterans. Today, Freedom Park is nestled between Charlotte’s Dilworth and Myers Park neighborhoods on 98-acres with a seven-acre man-made lake prominently in its center. With paved trails, tennis and volleyball courts, athletic fields and playground equipment, Freedom Park has something for everyone. In 2012, the Charlotte portion of the Little Sugar Creek Greenway was completed, connecting Freedom Park with uptown Charlotte to the north and Park Road Shopping Center to the south.
Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
The Latta Plantation Nature Preserve is Mecklenburg County’s largest nature preserve at 1,351 acres. Attractions within include walking trails, kayaking and canoeing opportunities, fishing and picnic spots, the Historic Latta Plantation (dating back to the early 1800s) and the Carolina Raptor Center where guests can see eagles, falcons and owls. The Preserve is home to several endangered plants, including the federally endangered Schweinitz's sunflower and Michaux's sumac. Endangered birds often call Latta home during different breeding and migratory times.
Historic Segway Tours
There are many options in uptown Charlotte for tours, but the 'Markets, Museums & Parks' tour is a great way to learn about Charlotte’s past and present. The tour ventures through uptown with featured stops including the historic 4th Ward with its Victorian houses, the Levine Cultural Center, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt African American Cultural Center and other historic and current landmarks. The tour even stops at the 7th Street Market, which features vendors selling food, wine, cheese and gifts.
Crowders Mountain State Park
Rock climbing, hiking, and breathtaking views make Crowders Mountain State Park a must. Terrain along 11 trails ranges from pastoral (a leisurely stroll) to strenuous. The Pinnacle and Crowders Mountain peaks offer opportunities for those looking for a challenging hike and they do not disappoint when it comes to panoramas. On a clear day, you can see the Charlotte skyline.