Outdoor Activities In Charlotte

The 7 Best Outdoor Activities In Charlotte

Once you’ve had your fill of the city’s superb food and drink scene and finished exploring its cultural hotspots, be sure to dive into some outdoor activities in Charlotte.

There’s some brilliant things to do outside here, whether you’re into scenic day trips, thrill-seeking tours or family-friendly events. Take note of these seven unmissable activities that are popular with both locals and visitors alike.

Best Outdoor Activities In Charlotte

1. Crowders Mountain State Park

What exactly is it? If rock climbing is your thing, then Crowders Mountain is your place. Folks scale the rock faces at their own risk when they tackle the challenging terrain – but most climbers are quick to tell you that views of the countryside surrounding the cliffs are amazing! If climbing is not your thing, enjoy a peaceful picnic or rent a canoe and explore the beautiful waters.

How long does it take? 2-3 hours.

How much does it cost?
Camping (day) $13
Canoe rental (1st hour) $5
Canoe rental (ea add hr) $3
Picnic shelter (day) $73
Rock climbing (permit required) Free


2. U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte

What exactly is it? Home to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river, its comprised of over 1,300 acres of protected land with access to the Catawba River and Long Creek. In addition to Class II to IV rapids, the center offers kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, rock climbing, zip lines, ropes courses, a canopy tour, mountain biking, and 30-plus miles of trails.

How long does it take? You can spend the whole day here, from exploring the stunning nature to action-packed adventures.

How much does it cost? Day pass – $59 (adult); $49 (youth).

3. UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens

What exactly is it? Set up in 1966 on the newly-established campus of the University of North Carolina, the Botanical Gardens was the brainchild of biology professor Dr. Herbert Hechenbleikner and UNC Charlotte founder, Bonnie E. Cone. The Gardens were created to serve as a living classroom for biology students and as a horticultural and botanical resource for the greater community. Today, the garden comprises 10 acres of outdoor gardens, a 4500 sq ft glasshouse with attached workspace, and a library that contains over 1200 botanical and horticultural books.

How long does it take? 2-3 hours.

How much does it cost? Admission to the Botanical Gardens and Greenhouse is always free. But if you can, make sure to leave a donation for the upkeep of these beautiful gardens.

4. Carowinds

What exactly is it? When it comes to adrenaline, Carowinds delivers one of the best roller coaster collections in the world, it’s home to two of the tallest steel roller coasters in North America. As well as these super coasters, Carowinds has plenty of family rides, shows, a waterpark, and if you get hungry, there are plenty of options – make sure to try the famous ‘funnel cake’.

How long does it take? About 3-4 hours, depending on how long the lines are!

How much does it cost? Purchase your tickets online for only $39.99, you can also opt for Admission, Meal & Parking for only $49.99.

5. Charlotte NC Tours Segway Tour

What exactly is it? Glide throughout the city center on a Segway PT tour! Cruise through Uptown or one of the surrounding neighborhoods, you’ll learn how each inlet came to be and what makes it unique today.

How long does it take? The tours range from 1.5- 2 hours.

How much does it cost? You can choose from two tours: Historic Uptown Neighborhood Tour– $60 & Markets, Museums, & Parks Segway Tour – $70

6. PNC Music Pavilion

What exactly is it? The PNC is an outdoor music venue, it is famous around Charlotte and the state for its outstanding live music. The venue originally opened on July 4, 1991, and has a large capacity of almost 19,000, making it the perfect place for summertime concerts. Make sure to check out their website for upcoming concerts and events.

How long does it take? 3-4 hours.

How much does it cost? Depends on the artist or event- prices range from $40-$80.

7. Carolina Adventure World

What exactly is it? An outdoor adventure park for ATVs, UTVs, and Dirtbikes, with over 100 miles of groomed trails to explore, this is the ultimate thrill-seekers day out. Please bear in mind ALL park attendees and riders must sign a waiver. You are responsible for your own experience. Riding trails, motocross can be dangerous and requires skill and competence to avoid serious injury.

How long does it take? The whole day can be spent here exploring the beautiful North Carolina landscape.

How much does it cost? An ATV costs $255 per day and depending on the type of dirtbike you want they range from $140-$190 per day. If you don’t want to ride you can purchase a Spectator/Passenger Passes for $18.50.

Siobhan McKenny