Explore Charlotte

Get Up and Get Active Charlotte-Style

It's the most fun you can have while staying healthy.

We’ve all heard about the benefits of being active; longer life, decreased chances of certain diseases and maintenance of a healthy weight. All of this is great, but what about fun?

The best way to keep up with a regular fitness routine is to do something you enjoy. Luckily, Charlotte has options for all fitness levels, and since it is summer, there are even options to get you outdoors to enjoy the Carolina sunshine.

From boot camp to horseback riding and everything else in-between, here is a list of some of our favorite ways to stay active while having a blast.

Rafters at U.S. National Whitewater Center
Rafters at U.S. National Whitewater Center (©U.S. National Whitewater Center)

U.S. National Whitewater Center 

A one-stop location for all things active, the Whitewater Center is Charlotte’s mecca for outdoor fun whether it is on land or water. There are trails for walking, running and bike riding—you can rent a bike from the center if you don’t have your own. The Catawba River is there for paddle boarding or kayaking. Conquer your fear of heights by climbing rock walls or soaring down a zip line. If you come with a group, you can hit the rapids or take on a ropes course. Reward yourself after an active day by enjoying an evening concert, movie, or one of the dining options available at the center.

Breweries and Beer Runs

Don’t let the hops fool you; breweries are using more than just craft beer to entice people to visit their taprooms.

Run clubs and yogis alike can be found almost daily at breweries throughout the Queen City. Some breweries, such as NoDa Brewing Company and Triple C Brewing, have their own run cand lubs offering runners different distance options depending on experience. Local company NC Yoga Bar and area yoga instructors host varying styles of yoga throughout the week. Not only will you be active, but also in most cases, you will get a complimentary beer after your run or class.

Randy Moss and Emily "Breeze" Ross-Watson
Randy Moss and Emily "Breeze" Ross-Watson (©STAX)


STAX is a fitness studio, but it’s their free boot camp on Mondays and Wednesdays that has really taken Charlotte by storm. Former NFL player, Randy Moss and personal trainer and Crossfit Games competitor, Emily "Breeze" Ross Watson, take participants through interval training guaranteed to make you sweat. With an average of over 100 participants, the STAX boot camp is a perfect way to stay active, get outside and meet new people. 

A League of Your Own

Want to meet new people and stay active? A great way to do that is to join one of the many sports leagues in Charlotte. From flag football, kickball and basketball to soccer, Charlotte leagues have something for everyone. 

SportsLink offers sports team options from bowling, basketball, kickball, ultimate Frisbee and volleyball. NAKID is more than a fun name. Offering opportunities for such leagues as kickball and cornhole, as well as chances to socialize after games, NAKID is perfect for your inner child.

CLT (©The JAM)


Sometimes you need to listen to Beyoncé and dance like you’re a headliner on tour to forget your troubles. It also doesn’t hurt that dancing can burn 600-plus calories an hour. The JAM—Just Add Music—has classes located throughout the city of varying dance styles and intensity levels. You’ll laugh and sweat all at the same time.

Horseback riders at Anne Springs Close Greenway (©Anne Springs Close Greenway)
Horseback riders at Anne Springs Close Greenway (©Anne Springs Close Greenway)

Horseback Riding

Dogs may be (wo)man’s best friend, but don’t forget our majestic equine friends. Horseback riding has been shown to have therapeutic effects on riders, not to mention it is a calorie-burning activity. And you don’t have to own a horse to go for a ride.

Country Time Equestrian, the Anne Springs Close Greenway, and Darby Acres Farm are local options for wannabe riders to go for guided trail rides or to take lessons. This one is a win-win as the horses need exercise, too.  

Ready, Aim, Fire

Sporting clays has been described as “golf with a shotgun.” While it may not necessarily be top of mind when describing ways to stay active, don’t count it out. There is a good deal of walking involved, and participants don’t need to be expert marksmen.

A little over an hour outside of Charlotte in Norwood, North Carolina, The Fork is a destination for sporting clays, hiking and fishing on a 1,600-acre property. Walk the property to different shooting stations and enjoy the natural surroundings. 

Sunset view from the top of Morrow Mountain (©NC Division of Parks and Recreation)
Sunset view from the top of Morrow Mountain (©NC Division of Parks and Recreation)

Get Out of Town

Although there are lots of opportunities to be active in Charlotte, sometimes a day trip is just what is needed.

With our proximity to great hiking trails and state parks, why not be active while exploring North Carolina? Crowders Mountain is about a 30-40 minute drive from Charlotte and has different trails for hiking and breathtaking views. On a clear day you can see the Uptown Charlotte skyline. Morrow Mountain State Park is about an hour drive from Charlotte, but offers trails and opportunities to rent canoes and explore the Pee Dee River.