Charlotte, N.C., is a paradise for thrill seekers. From the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster in the United States, to car races at NASCAR, or fast-paced sporting events from the NBA or NFL, the Queen City offers adventures for most people. However, if these fast-paced activities are not your thing, and you would rather enjoy some serenity and nature, then this guide will provide you with the best places in Charlotte to experience the outdoors.

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

The McDowell Nature Center and Preserve is a great park if you like camping. The camping grounds offer access to some great walking trails, and the lake includes a swimming and fishing area, as well as a kayak rental facility.

Freedom Park

Freedom Park is situated in the middle of Charlotte and has a gorgeous lake, a playground, sweet stone bridges over sugar creeks, large trees, and pleasant hiking trails.

UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

The UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens at 9090 Crower Road provide a peaceful haven for those who prefer leisurely strolls through trails surrounded by beautiful flowers and plants. The botanical gardens have a greenhouse and an outdoor garden, which you can visit free of charge.

Beech Spring Mountain Bike Park

The Beech Spring Mountain Bike Park offers some fun biking trails on a five-mile loop. Parts of it, including the gravity cavity and devil’s drop, are fairly difficult. This park is really suitable only for experienced bikers.

Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve

The gorgeous trails around the pretty lakes at the Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve are perfect for a day’s worth of hiking. The center also has an exhibit of turtles and snakes, for those of you who don’t mind being up close to reptiles.

Wing Haven Gardens & Bird Sanctuary

The Wing Haven Gardens & Bird Sanctuary offers serene formal gardens and woodlands alike. You can take a walk in the gardens to explore lots of flowers, trees, herbs, topiaries, and wildlife.

Romare Bearden Park

This park sits right across Charlotte’s Knights Ballpark. It has a beautiful fountain on the lower level and some seats from which you can admire the impressive Charlotte skyline.

Catawba River

For some beautiful trails that head to the Catawba River, you can visit the Catawba Cultural Center. Along with some serene scenery, there are also some nice restaurants and cafes nearby.

Lake Norman

Located only 15 miles from uptown Charlotte, Lake Norman provides the perfect place for some fun in the sun, as it offers activities such as fishing, water skiing, stand-up paddling, and much more. The lake is the largest man-made lake in the Carolinas, being 34 miles long with 520 miles of shoreline. If you decide to stay longer, you can check out the hotels and restaurants nearby as well.

As you can see, Charlotte doesn’t just offer adrenaline-fueled activities, but also some some relaxing outdoor adventures that you should not miss on your next trip to Charlotte. If you are looking for a hotel then you can also check out this guide on hotels in Charlotte that I wrote for Hipmunk.

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About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

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