From the NASCAR Hall of Fame, to the US National Whitewater Center, to the Levine Museum of the New South, Charlotte, NC has more than its fair share of unique and exclusive attractions. Of course, exploring beyond city limits every now and then is just as exciting to find a worthwhile place or activity to unwind.
Here are 5 destinations – all within 50 miles of the Queen City – that you can visit for a fun and memorable day out:
- Reed Gold Mine
Midland, Cabarrus County
25 miles east
The site of the very first documented commercial gold discovery in the United States, Reed Gold Mine was where the Carolina Gold Rush of the early 1800s all began. This National Historic Landmark is open to the public, treating visitors to exhibits of genuine mining equipment, hands-on gold-panning trials, and self-guided tours through the old mine tunnels.
- Lake Norman State Park
Troutman, Iredell County
38 miles north
A must-visit destination for those who love the outdoors, this state park is the perfect complement to the Tar Heel State’s largest manmade lake. Set up camp in one of its 33 campsites which come complete with picnic tables, grills, and tent pads. Explore more than 30 miles of trails, whether on foot or on a bike. Or, take to the water for some of the most memorable swimming, boating, and fishing you can find in North Carolina.
- Queen’s Landing Sightseeing Cruises
Mooresville, Iredell County
28 miles north
Experience the grandeur of Lake Norman with classic cocktails in hand aboard the “Lady of the Lake” or the “Catawba Queen.” Take in the mesmerizing views from these boats’ open air decks as the captain tells you all about the lake’s history, along with stories about some of the area’s notable homes. Dinner cruises are also available if you’d like to stretch your daytrip longer into the night.
- Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Belmont, Gaston County
20 miles north
Designed to inspire, the botanical garden of the late textile businessman Daniel Stowe was built in 1991 as gift for the people of his hometown of Belmont, North Carolina. The 400-acre site features manicured landscapes, colorful blooms, sparkling fountains, a woodland trail, and an Orchid Conservatory.
- Crowders Mountain State Park
Kings Mountain, Cleveland and Gaston Counties
30 miles west
See the Charlotte cityscape from a whole new vantage point, from the twin peaks of Crowders Mountain and The Pinnacle. These heights are the fulfilling payoff for a half-day hike, magnificent views of its surrounding areas stretching out across a 25-mile radius. Eleven trails offer options to accommodate novice and experienced hikers, as well as family and group campers. The State Park also includes a 9-acre lake that welcomes anglers and canoers.
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