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McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

8 Popular Parks and Greenways in Charlotte (2023)

Charlotte is the largest metropolitan city in North Carolina and thus is sometimes also referred to as Metrolina. However, Charlotte and its residents are fortunate enough to have a huge section of parks and greenways. The Queen City boasts acres long spread of greenery available in the form of public parks. These destinations are available in countless numbers, and even a local would need months to explore each of them finely. Nearly all the parks in Charlotte have good facilities for both adults and kids and simultaneously are safe as well.

Whether it is walking, running, hiking, biking, fishing, or exploring nature, Charlotte parks accommodate them all. And if you aren’t the one that moves drawn to these activities, you can simply be there to relax under the sun. However, with extending the number of options, the process of picking the favorable becomes difficult.

8 Popular Parks and Greenways in Charlotte

Therefore, to help you get started, we here present the list of Popular Parks you can visit when in Charlotte. Have a look:

1. Freedom Park

Freedom Park is spread over 98 acres and is one of the oldest parks in Charlotte city. The park is somewhere between Charlotte’s historic Dilworth and Myers Park neighborhoods, right at 1900 East Boulevard. Popular for its recreational green spaces, Freedom Park consists of 7 acres of a beautiful lake, miles of paved multi-purpose trails, gaming courts, sports fields, a kids’ area, a pavilion, and rental spots. Regardless of one’s interest, people can find something or the other engaging and enjoyable. The park is even home to a 2-8-0 steam engine where one can walk and click pictures. Freedom Park has been in the city since 1948, and since then, it has undergone several changes. Today it has become a seasonal hotspot and hosts various events and festivals. The charm undoubtedly attracts lakhs of locals and tourists every single year.

2. Hornet’s Nest Park

Hornet’s Nest is a huge 102 acres of park that you might not want to miss when in Charlotte. Located in the Northwest part of the city, Hornet’s Nest is popular as a recreational spot amongst families. People who are seeking fun and recreation can indulge in softball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and more such games. Hiking and Biking enthusiasts can either explore the trails or access the 1,150-foot BMX Track for an exclusive real-time adventure. Hornet’s Nest Park is also home to an 18-hole disc golf course and a stocked fishing pond. However, if your idea of the day is relaxing, you can bring along your picnic supplies and enjoy yourself at one of the many picnic shelters. Hornet’s Nest Park is nearly 10 to 15 minutes away from the Charlotte city center.

3. Wing Haven Garden and Greenway

Located in the Myers Park neighborhood, Wing Haven is a cultivating sanctuary and a greenspace every Charlotte visitor must check out. Built in the late 1920s, Wing Haven is home to three gardens and a flourishing bird sanctuary. Its main aim is to provide a natural oasis for reflection and studying purposes. Offering a wealth of flowering varieties, the garden is a year-round haven, and even being close to the bustling downtown, it feels like a different world on its own. When here, explore the SEED Wildlife & Children’s Gardens and learn about the local wildlife and their natural habitat. Next, move to the Elizabeth Lawrence House & Garden and explore the world-renowned garden writer’s living laboratory. Wing Haven Garden also offers over 40 programs and events each year, ensuring the utmost visitor engagement.

4. Clark’s Creek Greenway

Clark’s Creek Greenway is a beautiful hiking area featuring 7 miles of multiutility trails. Charlotte’s longest greenway, Clark’s Creek, also joins the Mallard Creek greenway, and together they offer paved trails linking several neighborhoods. This entire spread is popular for running, walking, jogging, cycling, roller-blading, dog walking, and exploring natural greenery. The trail is accessible from several points, which also makes it easier for those who want to cover a shorter distance. The entire spread is pretty flat, has shade throughout, and there are high scopes where you may spot harmless local wildlife. However, the authorities still recommend keeping distance from all the wildlife except humans. Clark’s Creek Greenway also follows the meandering path of the two creeks, which makes hiking here a more beautiful experience.

5. Colonel Francis Beatty Park

A popular park to visit near Charlotte, Colonel Francis Beatty Park is nearly half an hour’s drive away from the city. This local park is located in Matthews and covers an enormous 265-acre recreational area. Though it is quite a loved spot amongst locals, Francis is still more popular for being a weekend getaway destination. Given to its over ten picnic areas, tables, and fire pit, a range of recreation seekers from the neighborhood often reach here. And if you are a family who loves sports, you can indulge in soccer, tennis, basketball, softball, or even check out the horseshoe pits. Besides that, the park is also home to hiking and biking trails that go long, covering 6 to 7 miles but are rarely crowded. Not only that, but visitors can also enjoy activities like fishing, canoeing, and kayaking at the park’s lake.

6. Independence Park

Independence Park is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful parks in Charlotte, North Carolina. The city’s first public park has been operating since 1924 at 300 Hawthorne Lane, right at the western edge of Elizabeth Neighbourhood. The park consists of two sections, Upper Park and Lower Park. These sections lie below street level and provide a unique atmosphere. The former section is home to walking, hiking, and cycling trails, a huge 300-seat stadium, and a variety of sports fields. Whereas the latter, the lower section consists of a gazebo, a rose garden, a reflecting pond, and a beautiful and serene walking path. It undoubtedly is the more tranquil and devoted space in the park. Not only that, but the park is also home to three mini-shelters, a children’s playground, and a beautiful Demonstration Garden, all of which are available for booking of kids’ parties.

7. McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

If you are looking for an upgrade (not facility but from nature’s POV), then visit the McDowell Nature Center and Preserve in Charlotte. Spanning over 1,132 acres, this mostly undeveloped preserve is an oasis of undisturbed and less crowded natural beauty. Visitors can access the lake for boating, fishing, and kayaking. Guided Kayaking tours are available as well. It is home to a beautiful lake that boasts limited sandy access, a fishing area, and towering trees all around. VA visit here allows individuals to explore a very scenic 7-mile network of trails and encounter the local wildlife. You may come across species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and hundreds of birds.

However, what McDowell is majorly famous for, are its camping and RVing facilities. The preserve boasts 56 campsites which are either reservable or available on a first-come, first-serve basis. It is also popular for its picnic arrangements.

8. Marshall Park

Marshall Park is an inviting green space right in uptown Charlotte. This five and a half acres park is located at 800 East Third Street and is a quick spot for locals. The park is home to open grassy areas and a pretty lake that ducks and other water birds often frequent. While walking across the park, you will observe a Holocaust Memorial, Martin Luther King’s statue, and a large fountain. The park is also home to an amphitheater that continues hosting music concerts and other events quite frequently and throughout the year. However, that’s not only what Marshall Park is known for. Instead, the major draw here is the unobstructed views of the Charlotte skyline, which looks the best during night hours. You can find locals as well as travelers spending their evening hours here.

Other Popular Charlotte Parks

  • UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens: A must-visit place for garden enthusiasts. If you are lucky, you may spot the flowering process of Titan Arum, the world’s largest and most foul-smelling plant.
  • Thomas Polk Park: A tiny but beautiful green space where locals often come for a spending a relaxing afternoon.
  • Seversville Street Park: A popular park located at the northern end of the Irwin-Stewart Creek Greenway. Seversville is frequented for cycling, hiking, and biking by locals.
  • Romare Bearden Park: Located in Uptown Charlotte, it is an urban public park. Featuring the beautiful backdrop of the Charlotte skyline, it is a great place to catch out with friends and family.
  • McGill Rose Garden: Charlotte’s hidden gem, the garden is just outside the Uptown area. The garden is home to over 500 rosebushes which are a must-see during the spring and summer months.

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