About a 30-40 minute drive from Charlotte is this wonderful retreat for any nature lover. The botanical gardens are composed of a series of gardens linked by beautifully landscaped pathways and fountains. If you love flowers and landscape, this place is a must.
You can reach DSGB by taking I-85 South toward Gastonia and then taking the Belmont/Mount Holly Exit heading south (Hwy 273). You'll see signs for the gardens. The address is 6500 South New Hope Road in Belmont.
Okay, not really off the beaten path, but the British Barber Shop is down the road in Matthews, NC (near Mario's) and its where I've been getting my haircut for over 9 years.
It's owned by the Little family who are originally from London, but now reside in the area. That's Mike and Trish in the photo!
Watch out for Mike. If he gets to know you like he knows me, he'll start to abuse you. He usually squirts me with his water bottle at least once every time I visit. Definitely a prankster!
I haven't been to Linville in a couple of years, so maybe it's about time I returned. There are so many small waterfalls in the mountains that are worth seeking out. I've hiked three trails in Linville, but there are hundreds to choose from. Some are easier than others so whether you're a serious hiker or a novice, you can find something appropriate.
Even in the midst of the skyscrapers in Uptown Charlotte, it's possible to find a quiet spot to ditch the crowds. If you're visiting the city, grab a sandwich and head to this courtyard of St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Or you can find plenty of peace in the tiny squares in the Fourth Ward district. You might also try the area around the Old Settler's Cemetery between 5th & 6th near First Presbyterian Church.
Camping, biking, cycling and fishing. One trail is wheelchair accessible. The trail for cycling is recommended only for the very fit.
Below is a listing of the backpack campsites and the distance between the campsites and the parking lot.
Upper Falls Trail, 1.5 miles to campsite
Shinny Creek, 1.5 miles to campsite
Sawtooth Trail, 2.5 miles to campsite
Jacob Branch, 3.5 miles to campsite
Fox Trail, 5 miles to campsite
Murray Branch, 6 miles to campsite
Backpackes should register at board, family and groups will be registered by a ranger at days end.
Park Regularly hold educational event.
THis is a very beautiful place to visit and I recommend you take the time for a least a dayhike if you visit. Picknicking areas are also provided with shelter and nice grills.
Check the website for regulations and rules, no alcoholic beverages or fire other than in designated areas.
South Mountains State Park is located in Burke County, 18 miles south of Morganton. From I-40, turn south on NC 18, travel nine miles and make a right turn onto SR 1913 (Sugarloaf Road). Take SR 1913 to Old NC 18 and turn left. Travel four miles and make a right turn onto SR 1901 (Ward's Gap Road). The park is off SR 1901 on SR 1904.
Most tourists travel to Asheville to see the Biltmore Estate. However, Asheville does have a vibrant downtown which is more reminiscent in tone to Berkeley, California than anywhere else in North Carolina.
If you don't want to drive the hour and a half to Asheville, but you still want a taste of the beauty of the North Carolina mountains, just drive the 35 minutes to Crowder's Mountain National Park on the west side of Gastonia (Take I-85 or Hwy. 74 West).
The trails are lovely and the views at the top are worth the hike.
Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord. It's only about 20 minutes north of Charlotte (take I-85N). Charlotte is the undisputed home of Nascar. Personally, I don't get it. I've been to two races and all those constant left turns just didn't do it for me. However, seeing 200,000 crazy fans in one place is quite a spectacle!
About 2 hours from Charlotte in the mountains between Asheville and Boone you'll find Linville. This is a picture of the Linville Gorge, but you'll also find some amazing caverns, hiking trails and waterfalls in the area.
The Outer Banks are exactly that- the outermost stretch of land before North Carolina ends and the vast and wild Atlantic Ocean begins. You'll find many unique sights to see in the area including the place where the Wright Brothers flew an airplane for the first time and many beautiful beaches homes and lighthouses.
This is a satellite picture of the area.
The Zoo is located in Asheboro only a little over an hour from Charlotte off of I-85 North. It's one of the larger zoos in the country and you'll find a great open range containing many native African animals, like the lowland gorilla in the photo.
Charleston is another great weekend trip for those of us who live in Charlotte. Along with Savannah, Georgia and Beaufort, South Carolina, Charleston is one of the great southern towns for graceful mansions and charming sights. You can walk along the battery, take a tour of the homes in the area or just relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
It's about 3 1/2 hours from Charlotte.
Wilmington makes a great weekend trip from Charlotte. It's about a three hour drive and you'll find the state's largest historic district. Charming southern mansions and a beautiful waterfront location on the Cape Fear River make it a great place to visit. Please check out my Wilmington, NC page for more information.
Asheville is about two hours west of Charlotte. It's one of my favorite excursions from Charlotte, providing great sights and amazing scenery. Check out my Asheville page for details. Pictured is America's largest privately owned home, the Biltmore Estate.
7th St and Central Ave(between The Plaza & Pecan). These two street are great for novelty shopping, tatoos, coffee shops, and antiques. A retro area considered the 'artsy' district. Hippies, punks, club kids, artist, and everyday people. Come and play 'I Spy'.