National Local Life

Discover These 4 Small Towns Near Charlotte

While there’s plenty to see and do within Charlotte’s city limits, sometimes you just need a change of scenery. A chance to get outside of the city and explore another town for a day or two. Fortunately, there are several places worth a visit within a short drive.

Here are four small towns near Charlotte that'll give you the opportunity to discover a new favorite restaurant or brewery, go on a challenging hike, come face-to-face with a towering giraffe, or relax on a beautiful outdoor patio with a glass of local wine.

Kings Mountain

A trail in a forest with wood barriers on either side covered in autumn leaves
Kings Mountain has some of the best hiking in the Charlotte area.

If you aren’t familiar with the area, Kings Mountain may seem like just a spot on the map, but the small town is definitely worth the 30-minute drive from Charlotte. Not only is it home to one of the best hiking trails around, but it also boasts several other points of interest worth visiting like a scenic winery and an old-fashioned drive-in theater.

Points of Interest:

  • Crowders Mountain State Park: Home to one of the most popular hiking trails in the surrounding Charlotte area, Crowders Mountain State Park not only offers a beautiful setting for a hike, but on a clear day, you can even see the Charlotte skyline off in the distance.
  • Veronet Vineyards and Winery: You don’t have to go far from the city to enjoy a great bottle of wine—including Viognier, Malbec, chardonnay, and cabernet sauvignon—with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as a picturesque backdrop.
  • Hound’s Drive-In Theater: Take a step back in time and watch one of Hollywood’s latest feature films from the comfort of your own car and indulge in tasty snacks from the concession stand at Hound’s Drive-In Theater.

Fort Mill

A butterfly resting on a flower in a bush, in the background there is a body of water and trees with blue sky
Fort Mill is a great blend of city attractions and natural beauty.

Located just 20 minutes south of Charlotte, Fort Mill is a welcomed breath of fresh air for city dwellers who need a break. However, don’t let the town’s slower pace fool you—from hopping breweries to upscale boutiques with the latest trends, there’s enough to keep urbanites interested. Charlotte’s craft beer scene has rubbed off on Fort Mill, which is now home to two breweries, the Lake Wylie Brewing Co. and Amor Artis Brewing.

Points of Interest:

  • Anne Springs Close Greenway: This 2,100-acre nature preserve is the ultimate outdoor playground where you can spend hours on end. There, you’ll find almost 40 miles of walking and biking trails, several ponds for fishing, paddle boarding, and kayaking, plus trails for horseback riding.
  • Baxter Town Center: You’ll find several quaint shops, like Page 6 Boutique, as well as eateries that serve up everything from decadent baked goods to Southern favorites like shrimp and grits.
  • Fort Mill’s Kingsley Town Center: This hotspot has a myriad of shops and restaurants, including Napa at Kingsley and the popular wine bar Corkscrew.

Belmont

A fountain with many flowers around and a sclupture of fish in the center in North Carolina
The Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens are of Belmont's star attractions.

Located about 15 miles from Uptown, the small town of Belmont often flies under the radar when it comes to places to visit, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s ideal for a quick day trip out of the city whether you want to meander through crayola-colored gardens or sip cocktails in an unexpected location.

Points of Interest:

  • Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens: Spanning a total of 380 acres, DSBG features 110 acres of enchanting gardens that boast vibrant flowers from around the world, intricate fountains, and sculptures as well as an 8,000-square-foot Orchid Conservatory.
  • Catawba River Antique Mall: With more than 60,000 square feet of retail space and over 300 distinct vendors, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest.
  • The Jailhouse: Take your pick from more than 150 whiskeys or order a craft cocktail in this speakeasy-inspired cigar lounge that’s actually located in an old jail.

Mooresville

A bed of trees surrounds a large blue body of water with a small beach on the left
Beautiful Lake Norman is just one destination in Mooresville.

As the home of several NASCAR teams’ headquarters and a number of racing museums, Mooresville has earned the nickname “Race City USA,” but the small town has a lot more to offer than just racing attractions. There are a number of other entertainment options that the whole family can enjoy.

Points of Interest:

  • Carrigan Farms: An ideal destination for families who want to spend the day outdoors—whether you want to pick-your-own produce like strawberries or pumpkins or get your adrenaline pumping by jumping off a rock cliff into a 25-foot quarry. 
  • Lazy 5 Ranch: Lazy 5 lets kids of all ages get up close and personal with fascinating animals from all over the world. Visitors can take a wagon ride around the property or feed animals right from your own car.
  • Queens Landing: Take the scenic route from Queens Landing on a two-hour sightseeing tour around Lake Norman or schedule a special dinner cruise on the Catawba Queen River Boat.
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