Things to Do in Charlotte, NC

Things to Do in Charlotte, NC
Charlotte is the perfect base camp for any outdoors enthusiast. Its central location puts visitors just over 2 hours east of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and less than 4 hours west of the ocean. Even better, Charlotte is filled with a plethora of things to do to keep any visitor occupied for days. With so much nature in the surrounding area, as well as being North Carolina's cultural center, Charlotte is the perfect place for any outdoors-related vacation.

U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC)

For outdoors enthusiasts, there is no better place to experience the best that Charlotte has to offer than at the USNWC. The facilities cover more than 300 acres of forest and hills along the Catawba River. Visitors can whitewater raft, canoe, kayak, outdoor mountain climb, zipline, hike and mountain bike on the USNWC's 14 miles of trails. In addition, the center provides instructional classes for many activities as well as youth and team development programs. The center is open 365 days a year.

U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC)
5000 Whitewater Center Parkway
Charlotte, NC 28214
(704) 391-3900

Charlotte Nature Museum

The Charlotte Nature Museum is where children and adults can learn about the wonders of nature and science in a fun and educational setting. The museum has many hands-on exhibits, including its famed Butterfly Pavilion, where butterflies fly freely around the guests. Insect Alley allows visitors to look into the world of insects and the Paw Paw Nature Trail takes visitors on a hike through a 100-year-old rainforest. The museum is open 7 days a week but is closed on major holidays.

Charlotte Nature Museum
1658 Sterling Road
Charlotte, NC 28209
(704) 372-6261, ext. 605

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

Covering more than 1,100 acres 17 miles southwest of downtown Charlotte, the McDowell Nature Center and Preserve provides campgrounds, hiking trails and educational programs in a rich and diverse protected forest along Lake Wylie. The preserve is home to almost 120 types of birds, more than 20 species of reptiles and more than 20 species of mammals. Each spring, wildflowers color the landscape, creating picturesque panoramas.

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC 28278
(704) 588-5224 (Nature Center)
(704) 583-1284 (Campground)

Article Written By Patrick M. Lind

Patrick M. Lind has been freelance writing since 2007 and has worked as an editor and journalist for He received a Master of Arts in history from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and Middle East.

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