Home to the corporate headquarters of the Bank of America, Charlotte, North Carolina was ranked one of the fastest growing metro areas in the US and is now one of the largest cities in south-eastern United States. The unofficial home of NASCAR, Charlotte also has a strong sporting hold, with teams in the NFL, NBA and USL.
As a Charlotte business owner, I am well aware of all the beauty this city has to offer. Charlotte is also a gorgeous city, with beautiful parks and recreation areas all over the place, as well as being in close proximity to many lakes and the Catawba River. Below are six of the prettiest parks and nature preserves in Charlotte, NC.
Website: Freedom Park
Location: Charlotte, NC 28209, USA
About three miles from Downtown Charlotte lies this beautiful park, situation on a 7-acre lake. The park itself is 98 acres, consisting of pathed trails, sports fields and courts, children’s play areas (including an old steam train which children can climb on and get into the cab) and miles of lush greenery. If you are lucky enough to visit in the summer, make sure you attend one of the many free films and performances put on in the park pavilion. It is also home to the Festival in the Park, a wonderful five-day long festival of music and art. Adjacent to the park, you also have the Charlotte Nature Museum, which is great for young kids.
Little Sugar Creek Greenway
Website: Litte Sugar Creek Greenway
Location: 1133 Metropolitan Ave, Charlotte, NC 28204, USA
Connected to Freedom Park, the Little Sugar Creek Greenway is currently still being built but is already a wonderful place to visit. Once completed, there will be twenty miles of trails and pathways leading from Cordelia Park to the state line. Perfect for a stroll along the stream with the family, or simply for jogging with friends.
McDowell Nature Center and Preserve
Website: McDowell Nature Center and Preserve
Location: 15222 York Rd, Charlotte, NC 28278, USA
Spanning over 1000 acres, the McDowell Nature Preserve is full of things to do. From camping to hiking and canoeing to catching a boat to Copperhead Island. The preserve protects the habitat for over 120 species of birds, 20 species of mammals, 20 species of reptiles, and 15 species of amphibians. It is home to an exhibit hall, an outdoor amphitheatre, a campground and a gift shop.
Whether you want to hike a trail, do some bird watching, go to the butterfly gardens, or take the canoe out for fun, the McDowell Nature Preserve will cater to most, if not all, of your outdoor needs and desires.
Reedy Creek Nature Preserve and Park
Website: Reedy Creek Nature Preserve and Park
Location: 2900 Rocky River Rd, Charlotte, NC 28215, USA
Another magnificent nature preserve in Charlotte, consisting of 737 acres of protected land and 125 acres use for recreational activities. There are several beautiful hiking trails throughout the Reedy Creek Park. There is the mile loop Dragonfly Pond Trail or the 0.25 mile one way South Fork Trail.
Apart from hiking, you could go fishing in either one of the two available fishing ponds, have a picnic in one of the many sheltered or unsheltered picnic areas, walk the dog or even play golf. Not to mention play any type of sport you can think of, in any one of the numerous tennis/volleyball courts or soccer fields available.
Also, be on the lookout for the ruins of the John Robinson Rockhouse, dating back to the 1780s, situation on one of the popular trails leading through the preserve. The Robinson family acquired the land from John Selwyn (who had himself received a land grant from King George 20 years prior) and built the house in the late 18th century.
Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
Website: Latta Plantation Nature Preserve
Location: 6211 Sample Rd, Huntersville, NC 28078, USA
Once a cotton plantation in 19th century Charlotte, this 1,343-acre preserve offers a lot of options for activities. From hiking to horseback riding and much more in between, this is definitely a must see when in Charlotte, NC.
It is also home to the Historic Latta Plantation, which is a 52-acre living history site that gives you a glimpse at what life was like in the early 19th century North Carolina. Here you can get guided tours of the homes on the site, as well as self-guided tours of the grounds. Regular tours are $8 for adults and children go free.
UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
Website: UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
Location: 9090 Craver Rd, Charlotte, NC 28262, USA
Greenhouses and two outdoor gardens provide year-round floral beauty. The collections come from all around the world and include a diverse range of orchids, native carnivorous plants, a large display of rhododendrons, various tropical plants, a wonderful and unique winter garden and a Dinosaur Garden (primitive plants around a full-size Deinonychus skeleton sculpture)
The gardens also serve as the final resting place of Bonnie Cone, the founder of the University of North Carolina – Charlotte.
For More on Charlotte, read: What Food Is Charlotte, North Carolina Known For