Life and Religion
|It’s time to get out|
|5 of the best places to go for an outdoor adventure in the Charlotte area|
|Published Thursday, June 5, 2014|
The weather is heating up, school is letting out soon, and there’s no better time to get out and enjoy an outdoor adventure.
Since 1996, June has been celebrated as “Great Outdoors Month” – a time when folks across the nation celebrate America’s magnificent landscapes, waterways and historical sites. Whether it’s whitewater rafting, trekking through the woods, relaxing aboard a luxury yacht or enjoying a concert in the park, there are countless opportunities to get out this month and take advantage of the great outdoors.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until summer officially begins on June 21 to jumpstart the season, and luckily, if you’re in the Charlotte area, you don’t have to travel far to embark on a full-filled adventure.
The region is full of awesome sites for families to explore and enjoy – from the rushing waters of the Catawba river to area’s many urban parks, lush woodlands and botanical gardens. So why spend the summer cooped up indoors binge-watching TV or playing video games? Here are five reasons to get up and get going right now:
HAVE AN ADVENTURE @ U.S. NATIONAL WHITEWATER CENTER –
Don’t let the name fool you. This outdoor recreation facility, situated on over 500-acres of woodland on the Catawba River, has much more to offer than kayaking, rafting and other watersports.
Not only is it known for having the best hiking trails in the region, but USNWC also offers a long list of other activities includes mountain biking, rock climbing, obstacle courses and many other entertaining outdoor excursions.
Get your adrenaline pumping with the Climb 2 Zip. Take in some of the best views of the area from the top of a 32-foot tall platform before jumping off the edge and gliding along a 100-foot zip line.
At USNWC, the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Visitors can enjoy nighttime zip lining, climbing and rafting. Those who would rather keep both feet on solid ground may enjoy the entertainment of live music during the Thursday night River Jam series, which runs through September.
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy; (704) 391-3900; usnwc.com
FAMILY FUN IN FREEDOM PARK
Located in between Charlotte’s historic Dilworth and Myers Park neighborhoods, Freedom Park is often called the “Central Park of Charlotte.” On any given sunny day, you’re likely to find its trails bustling with joggers, cyclists and dog-walkers.
The 98-acre park connects to Little Sugar Creek Greenway and features a 7-acre lake surrounded by multiple baseball fields, tennis courts, soccer fields, volleyball courts, playgrounds, grills and a basketball court. It’s adjacent to the Charlotte Nature Museum.
Thousands of people in the Charlotte area end their summer in Freedom Park each year with the annual Festival in the Park, which is in its 50th year and will be held September 19-21.
1900 East Boulevard, 704 432-4280; www.CharMeck.org
ENJOY A PICNIC @ DANIEL STOWE BOTANICAL GARDENS –
This lakefront property, located just west of Charlotte in Belmont, N.C., sits on 380 acres of rolling meadows and woodlands.
It’s a popular spot for green thumbs looking to learn a few gardening tips and artists looking for inspiration. It’s also the ideal destination for summer picnics – as packed baskets and coolers are welcome throughout the park.
Stop by on June 27 to see the work of Passmore Mupindiko, Patrick Sephani and dozens of other Zimbabwe artists as DSBG presents the art exhibition “ZimSculpt.” Curated within a horticultural display, it takes guests on a journey through south-central Africa with more than 100 sculptures on display and offered for sale.
6500 S New Hope Rd, Belmont; (704) 825-4490; dsbg.org
SPEND THE DAY @ QUEEN’S LANDING AT LAKE NORMAN –
About a 30-minute drive north of Charlotte, this lakefront entertainment center in Mooresville is accessible by car or boat.
If you arrive by boat, tie up at the Floating Dock Bar and cool down with an ice-cold beverage. Spend the afternoon playing miniature golf by the waterside on the 18-hole course, or enjoy lunch aboard The Catawba Queen, a Mississippi River Boat replica.
A ride on The Lady of the Lake luxury yacht is perfect for a romantic evening for two. Dine on a buffet of prime rib, seafood, delicious sides, and decadent desserts while watching the sunset over the waters of Lake Norman.
1459 River Hwy, Mooresville; (704) 663-2628; queenslanding.com
DO THE BOOTY LOOP –
Located in Charlotte’s highly affluent Myers Park neighborhood, no one’s quite sure how the Booty Loop got its nickname, but word on the street is that it will do your booty right. Those who frequent the 2.8-mile cycling route are known to have the toned backsides to prove it.
The path starts in the parking lot on the corner of Queens Road and Pembroke Avenue and goes clockwise along Queens Road, Selwyn Avenue, Queens West, Hopedale Avenue and Pembroke Avenue.
Expect to see over 1,200 riders biking the loop July 25-26 during the twelfth annual 24-Hours of Booty fundraiser, which is held each summer in partnership with Levine Cancer Institute to raise money for cancer research and survivorship. Visit www.24hoursofbooty.org for more information.
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