Top Things to Do Outdoors in the Charlotte Area

With a location along the Carolina Piedmont that's home base to such attractions as Charlotte Motor Speedway and the U.S. National Whitewater Center, as well as its proximity to lakes Norman and Wylie, the Charlotte area offers plenty of opportunity for outdoors adventure.

Dedicated to the active, outdoor lifestyle, the U.S. National Whitewater Center in itself offers a plethora of activities on its 1,300-acre site that sits along the Catawba River. Along with free weekly yoga, live music, outdoor films, festivals and fireworks throughout the year, guests can enjoy whitewater rafting and kayaking, flatwater kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rock climbing, zip lines, ropes courses, a canopy tour and mountain biking on a 40-plus mile trail system. But outdoor adventure can be found in a variety of other spots, including Carowinds amusement park where there are 17 thrill rides to test the nerves; its newest is the Fury 325, which is the world's tallest giga coaster with heights reaching 325 feet.

Want to be more one with nature? Try fishing, boating or skiing at Lake Norman, take a hike at Crowders Mountain or enjoy the gardens, fountains, conservatory and nature walks at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden along Lake Wylie, which HGTV has named one of the country's "20 greatest gardens."