Charlotte, NC-Recreation

The Charlotte region has an opportunity around every corner for the recreational athlete. There are more than 20 area YMCAs that offer everything from swimming, weight training and yoga classes to youth and adult leagues for basketball, baseball and soccer. In addition, Ray’s Splash Planet is an indoor waterpark in Uptown thats drawing families for year-round fun. If you like adventure, the area boasts a host of beautiful parks and lakes. Whether you’re a duffer, hiker, fisher or swimmer, you’ll find a variety of outlets for your activity.

Public Parks

There are, literally, hundreds of public parks. Latta Plantation Nature Preserve is one of the largest. The 1,343-acre preserve on the wooded banks of Mountain Island Lake includes an equestrian center, 16 miles of hiking and riding trails, fishing and picnic shelters. Its also home to the Carolina Raptor Center, a rehabilitation facility for injured birds of prey. There are several other nature preserves, such as 1,108-acre McDowell Nature Preserve on Lake Wylie and 727-acre Reedy Creek Park and Nature Preserve in northeast Charlotte. Each county in the region has a variety of parks in varying sizes. Many of the larger parks have lakes or ponds for fishing, but be prepared to abide by state fishing regulations. There are also countless ball fields available for public use. Check with the county park and recreation department if you’d like to rent a field and picnic shelter for your league tournament or family reunion.

State Parks

The area also boasts a number of state parks. Crowders Mountain State Park, south of Gastonia, is a popular hiking and rock climbing spot. Lake Norman State Park in Iredell County provides access to Lake Norman, including a new swimming beach and mountain biking trails. Kings Mountain State Park in York County has 16 miles of hiking trails amid its 6,883 wooded acres, and nearby Kings Mountain National Military Park, the site of a Revolutionary War battle, adds another 4,000 acres.

Water Sports

Charlotte is also known for its water recreational opportunities. The U.S. National Whitewater Center opens along the banks of the Catawba River in 2006. The park, which covers 300 acres, is modeled after the 2000 Olympic facility in Sydney, Australia, and will bring Olympic-caliber athletes from around the country here to train. The center also includes an artificial river with controllable rapids, an adventure center with climbing walls and ropes courses, more than 11 miles of hiking and biking trails and a 37-acre island for camping. The Charlotte region is home to three lakes, all of which are sources for hydroelectric power for Duke Energy Corp. There are more than 20 public boat launching areas on the three lakes and at least 25 marinas. Lake Norman, the largest manmade lake in North Carolina, has 520 miles of shoreline that touches four counties: Mecklenburg, Iredell, Lincoln and Catawba. The lake is packed on weekends from spring through fall with boaters, jet skiers, fishermen and water skiers. Mountain Island Lake, in northwest Mecklenburg, is the source for Charlotte’s drinking water. It’s also home to a waterfowl refuge, so keep your eyes open for some unusual creatures. Lake Wylie, on the border of York, Gaston and Mecklenburg counties, is smaller than Lake Norman with 325 miles of shoreline, but is equally popular with local residents. You can rent pontoon boats, hire a chartered boat or fish from a dock or bass boat. Lake Norman, Lake Wylie and Mountain Island Lake have restrictions regarding watercraft operation, so be sure to check with the respective marine commissions to learn the rules.

Golf

Aside from water sports, perhaps the Charlotte region’s most popular recreational activity is golf. The Carolinas are home to some of the finest golf courses in the country, and Charlotte certainly has its share. In the last decade, there has been a boom in public-access course construction, creating much-needed alternatives for those who do not belong to the area’s private country clubs. For more than 60 years, the region has drawn some of the most respected names in golf course design, including Tom Jackson, Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer, Raymond Floyd, Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus. You don’t have to drive to Pinehurst to experience a Donald Ross course, either. Two little-known gems in the Charlotte regionMonroe Country Club and Mooresville Golf Clubfeature Donald Ross designs. And you can see the stars play in the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow Club in May. Charlotte area golf has something for everyone. There are several courses owned by the City of Charlotte and surrounding counties where you can play 18 holes very economically. If you prefer to feel as though youre playing at an exclusive club, you can play courses such as Ballantyne Resort, Birkdale or Highland Creek. When it opened a few years ago, Ballantyne was dubbed the best new public course in the state.

Several public-access courses offer league play for men and women, as well as youth programs. There are also a number of excellent golf schools in the area, including the schools at Regent Park and Ballantyne Resort. Ballantyne Resort is home to the nationally known Dana Rader School of Golf; Rader is ranked by Golf Magazine as one of the Top 100 instructors in the country.

    704-896-5141 Office    www.LeeAnnMiller.com     Allen Tate Company

Charlotte, NC – Area Festivals

 Charlotte and surrounding communities are busy year-round with festivals, sporting events and activities that entertain young and old. Here’s a brief look at some perennial favorites; keep an eye on local newspapers, radio and TV for others. Street festivals are among the most popular events. Festival in the Park (704-338-1060, www.festivalinthepark.org), an arts and crafts festival around Freedom Park’s lake, appears every September. Also in September, Charlotte Shout is a month-long celebration incorporating more than 200 visual, performing, musical and culinary arts events in over 40 venues throughout the region (www.charlotteshout.com). Hungry? There are plenty of apples and other goodies on hand at the Lincoln County Apple Festival in downtown Lincolnton each September (704-736-8452). Both the international festival, Ifest (704-687-2410, www.uncc.edu/ifest), and the Yiasou Greek Festival (704-334-4771, www.greekorthodoxclt.org), are held in September. The Loch Norman Highland Games (704-875-3113, www.ruralhillfarm.org), near Davidson, are in April; and various other events throughout the year are sponsored by ethnic and cultural clubs. Novello (704-336-2725, www.novellofestival.net), a library-sponsored festival in Charlotte, draws thousands in October to hear authors like novelist Tom Clancy and reporter Bob Woodward of Watergate fame. Rock Hill invites visitors to its Come-See-Me Festival in April (800-681-7635, www.comeseeme.rockhill.net); and in November Yap Ye Iswa (the day of the Catawbas) is celebrated on the Catawba Indian reservation rear Rock Hill (803-328-2427, www.ccppcrafts.com). Looking for entertainment? The Carolina Renaissance Festival (877-896-5544 www.royalfaires.com/carolina) is an annually event in Huntersville on Saturdays & Sundays during the months of October & November. It’s a 16th century European style art and entertainment festival. Be prepared to go back in time with actors dressed in period costumes, clashing of armor and the thundering of hooves daily with full combat jousts at the King’s Tournament Arena.On the west side of Lake Norman, the annual Denver Days(www.denvernc.com/denverdays.htm) is family oriented festival with rides, food & music for four days in September. Holidays are prime times for fun. Fireworks and a concert sparks the city’s Fourth of July festivities. On Thanksgiving, the Carolinas’ Carrousel Parade (704-332-4407, www.carrouselparade.org) salutes princesses chosen from area high schools and opens the Christmas season with Santa’s arrival. Folks who love collecting ideas for their homes will enjoy Charlotte’s many home tours. The Mint Museum sponsors two of the best—the Home and Garden Tour in April and the Antiques Show in October (704-337-2000, www.mintmuseum.org). The Charlotte Symphony Guild sponsors the ASID Designer House each fall (704-525-0522, www.symphonyguildcharlotte.org). The Home Builders Association of Charlotte sponsors HomeArama (704-376-8524, www.hbacharlotte.com) each spring. Many area neighborhood groups and private companies also sponsor home tours throughout the year to display rehabilitated older homes or spectacular new ones.

Many organizations sponsor exhibits and trade shows at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart, the Charlotte Convention Center and other sites around town. Southern Shows Inc. (704-376-6594, www.southernshows.com) sponsors several Charlotte favorites, including the Southern Spring Show in March, the Southern Ideal Home Show in September and the Southern Christmas Show in November. 

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  704-896-5141 Office      www.LeeAnnMiller.com     Allen Tate Company