Easy Family Day Trips from Charlotte, NC

Sometimes there just isn't enough time to an extensive vacation far away from home. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, area, however, you can have just as much fun on an easy family day trip to one of the area's many attractions. Drive less than one hour to any of the following destinations, and you'll save money and cut out the stress of a long, complicated vacation.

Rural Hill

Historic Rural Hill is a beautiful destination for a family day trip. It's less than half an hour from Charlotte, NC, but it will seem as though you've drive hundreds of miles. Scenic vistas, rolling pastures, and bountiful nature strip away the stress of city life and provide a relaxing break.

Rural Hill is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult tickets are $13, while children under 12 cost only $4, and kids 4 and under get in free. There are historic structures to explore, including old school houses, and miles of gorgeous trails. They allow you to bring your own food and beverages, as well, as long as you clean up after yourself.

Crowders Mountain State Park

About a forty-minute drive from Charlotte, NC, Crowders Mountain State Park is located in Kings Mountain, which lies in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain. The park is a popular site for bird watching, and numerous species of flora and fauna make their home here. Hike some of the trails, either over the foothills or into the valleys, and have a picnic next to a trickling stream.

The lake is a popular stopping point at the state park, and makes an easy family day trip far more relaxing. You can fish from the banks, or rent a canoe and paddle around for a little while. Swimming is not allowed, but you can picnic at the lake.

Lake Norman State Park

Lake Norman is the "largest manmade lake in the state," and draws thousands of North Carolina residents as well as tourists every year. The beaches are a popular spot for sunbathing and watching the water, while surrounding trails give hikers a plentiful assortment of routes to choose from.

You can also swim in Lake Norman, in an area on the south side of the park. If lifeguards are on duty, the fee is $4 per adult and $3 per child, but if there is no lifeguard on duty, swimming is free. There is a bathhouse available for use after you're done in the water, and a concession stand if you need a snack to keep you going.