in Charlotte, NC

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There’s nothing better than breathing fresh air and getting in touch with nature. State parks, botanical gardens, trails, lakes, and farms are exactly the place to do it – and this area is full of them.

Take a look at all the options within driving distance – you’ll be surprised at how close your next adventure is. We provide the driving directions, but the sunscreen’s on you!
Jetton Park
Jetton Park

(704) 896-9808

19000 Jetton Rd
Cornelius, NC 28031   Directions Website

Relaxation of the aquatic variety awaits you at Jetton Park. Located just a little north of Charlotte in Cornelius, the park is an impressive 105-acre waterfront area on Lake Norman that affords several outdoor activities that you and the family will most certainly enjoy. You can play various water sports, walk on the trails, or just sit on the beach and take it all in.

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve
McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

(704) 588-5224

15222 York Rd
Charlotte, NC 28278   Directions Website

Nature is not only to be enjoyed but also preserved for future generations. That is the ultimate mission of the McDowell Nature Center and Preserve. This facility opened in the mid-70s and it quickly moved beyond its humble beginnings to now encompass over 1,108 acres; the center is considered to be one of Charlotte's most prized natural attractions. Over the sprawling area, you will encounter several species of animals still living in their natural habitats, as well as breathtaking views from nearly every vantage point. The area is also quite popular with bird-watchers, campers, and trail enthusiasts. Make sure to swing by the McDowell Nature Center to not only take in the captivating butterfly gardens but to also pick up a few keepsakes at the gift shop.

McMullen & Lower McAlpine Creek Greenway
McMullen & Lower McAlpine Creek Greenway

(704) 336-3854

8135 Pineville-Matthews Rd
Charlotte, NC 28226   Directions Website

It's true that nature connects us all. That concept is what is behind the McMullen & Lower McAlpine Creek Greenway. The idea is to connect the city of Charlotte through a web of parks and green spaces to not only foster as sense of unity among the community, but to also help the environment. Lots of time and money has gone into this project, and over 30 miles of greenways have already been developed, but 150 miles are still being planned. Still, what has been done is a spectacle to behold, as these areas offer excellent places to have a picnic, take a walk, or just sit and breathe all that outdoor beauty in.

Reedy Creek Dog Park
Reedy Creek Dog Park

(980) 314-1119

2900 Rocky River Rd
Charlotte, NC 28215   Directions Website

It's true you need your exercise. But, if you're a dog owner, your furry companion needs to get out and move around a bit, as well. The perfect place for some canine camaraderie is the Reedy Creek Dog Park. The area that is specifically for pets is located toward the front of Reedy Creek Park, and it is actually differentiated by its clever name, Barkingham Park. This four-acre fenced off area is specifically designed for four-legged creatures to exercise, and enjoy the great outdoors and a day out of the house. The park is an off-leash area where kids under the age of 12 are not allowed

UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens
UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens

(704) 687-0721

9090 Craver Rd
Charlotte, NC 28262   Directions Website

Fans of nature will gravitate to the outdoor beauty that lives at the UNC-Charlotte Botanical Gardens. This is where you will find several different varieties of plants and flowers that all make this place a truly captivating experience for the senses. You'll find several fine examples of rare species, as well. Plus, the two-story rain forest is something that no visitor to the garden should miss. This incredible slice of nature is located on the campus of the University of North Carolina, and if you are planning to take a group that has more than 10 people in it, you must schedule your visit.

Wing Haven Foundation Gardens and Bird Sanctuary
Wing Haven Foundation Gardens and Bird Sanctuary

(704) 331-0664

248 Ridgewood Ave
Charlotte, NC 28209   Directions Website

Let your love of nature take flight at the Wing Haven Foundation Gardens and Bird Sanctuary. This awe-inspiring garden was built back in the late 1920s and it continues to provide solace and comfort through its incredible variety of foliage that comprises these lush gardens. You'll also find various rare and regional bird species, so don't forget to bring your binoculars. Guided tours through this outdoor oasis are available every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday mornings.

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