The Queen City’s Top Greenspaces for relaxing, exercising, escaping, and just plain enjoying nature.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens
At a little under thirty minutes drive from the center of the city, Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens is nestled in 380 acres of spectacular meadows and woodlands just miles from the quaint and beautiful town of Belmont. The grounds feature some of the best gardens in the south, an amazing orchid conservatory, an impressive visitor pavilion, walking trails, fountains, and so much more. It is a mini-Versailles of sorts. • dsbg.com
Wing Haven Foundation and Garden
Right in the heart of Charlotte, this beautiful garden has a rich history. Designed by the famous garden designer Elizabeth Clarkson in 1927, the garden offers a wide variety of flora and fauna, and in particular is a haven for all kinds of bird life. The gardens are a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the neighboring South Park area.
Lower McAlpine Greenway
Almost six miles of Greenway right in the heart of South Charlotte (beginning near Johnston Road) this greenway offers all kinds of wonderful activities from biking and walking to birdwatching – Blue Heron and Pileated Woodpecker are residents of the area.
Little Sugar Creek Greenway
This is a huge stretch of greenway, however the part we want to highlight is the stretch from 7th street to Morehead Street. This one and a quarter mile stretch of greenway offers several great uptown skyline views, runs right next to Sugar Creek (which is being restored at an accelerated rate) and offers a variety of activities including walking and bike riding on a paved trail. Benches line the greenway and welcome you in for a well needed rest.
Renaissance Park Disc Golf
Disc Golf may be one of, if not the fastest growing sports in all of the city. Disc Golf provides a fun and free way to get outside and enjoy nature, while getting some exercise. This particular disc golf course has all the amenities and is one of the nicest courses in the region.
South Prong Rocky River Greenway
This Greenway offers over four miles of paved trails that connect beautiful downtown Davidson to the Rocky River and is an absolute perfect trail for a bike ride.
McGill Rose Garden
Right in the heart of NODA, the McGill Rose Garden has been a staple of the community for years, offering astounding beauty showcased by over 1,000 rose plants and herbs. The grounds include an herb garden and meditation garden, and a wide variety of art, mostly sculptural.
Reedy Creek Park
The nearly 150 acre park offers a wide range of sporting facilities, a public garden, fishing opportunities, lots of places for children to play, and an 18 hole disc golf course. If you want to exercise, Reedy Creek has over 10 miles of hiking and walking trails that travel through the neighboring Reedy Creek Nature Preserve.
Mint Museum Randolph
The greenspace next to the Mint Museum on Randolph features absolutely giant oak trees, a slow running creek, several benches, and a whole bunch of nooks and crannies to set up a nice picnic. Head over for a good walk or jog, to throw the frisbee, or just to sit down and soak up the sunshine.
McDowell Nature Preserve
This 1,100+ acre preserve borders LakeWylie, has an amazing hardwood forest and nature center, walking trails, fishing and boating access and allows camping (56 campsites).
McMillan Greenhouse on the campus of the University of North Carolina – Charlotte is made up of 8 glass rooms featuring a wide variety of plant life, the most intriguing of which is the orchid, tropical, and carniverous rooms. It is surrounded by exceptional terraces and gardens and is a must visit.
This is the park in Charlotte. Located a hop, skip, and a jump from Dilworth and Myers Park, Freedom Park is a great place to go to enjoy a wide variety of activities. From the tennis courts and sporting facilities to the walking and biking trails, if you enjoy being outside and exercising this is the place.
Frank Liske Park
Concord’s ultimate greenspace, Frank Liske Park has over 230 acres of wildlife area including fitness and walking trails, a fishing lake where you can rent paddleboats, and an entire sporting facility.
This acre and a half of greenspace right in the center of uptown Charlotte gives many a much needed escape. There are giant fountains, funky art, and some space to throw a frisbee or sit down and relax on a lunch break.
Mallard Creek Greenway
Located in the University area it is one of the largest greenways in the city. This seven mile stretch of greenway has paved trails that are great for fitness. Walkers, runners, bicyclists, and even skateboarders frequent this greenway.
Lake Norman State Park
This one is probably the most obvious greenspace in Charlotte and rightfully so, but that still doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mention it. Lake Norman’s shoreline is absolutely gigantic. Its 520 miles of shoreline, much of which is lined with lake front property, also presents some amazing nature opportunities like the must visit Lake Norman State Park.