There is so much to love about living in Charlotte, North Carolina. When I sat down to write this article, I had a hard time choosing only a few activities to include, but ultimately I landed on the following seven locations my family and I have enjoyed together over the years.
If you’re lucky enough to live in Charlotte like me, I hope you can find some time in your schedule to visit at least one or two of these great places. You won’t regret it.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center is one of the coolest places in Charlotte. The Whitewater Center is full of adventurous activities, including whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, zip-lining, and a ropes course the entire family can get excited about.
The Whitewater Center is also just a cool place to people-watch and hang out on a sunny afternoon. I recently had some friends in town and we walked around the Center, grabbed lunch, and watched people raft down the whitewater channel. Everyone who visits the Whitewater Center is in absolute awe that this beautiful retreat is only a few miles from downtown Charlotte.
The Whitewater Center isn’t the only place you can get away from the city. Who would have thought that you could drive through a wild animal park just outside of Charlotte? Lazy 5 Ranch has tons of animals, most of which you can feed directly from your hand, including giraffes, bison, African Watusi, and Texas Longhorn Cattle, to name a few. My kids absolutely love visiting Lazy 5 Ranch because of how close they can get to the animals.
Carrigan Farms makes for yet another great family outing. Not only do they have strawberry, apple, and pumpkin picking, they also boast their famous Swimming Quarry (which is my personal favorite thing to do when we visit).
In fact, I visited Carrigan Farms a few years ago with friends and family for my birthday. Check out this beautiful video my friend put together to see just how charming this azure, tree-enclosed quarry is in the summer.
Appalachian Ski Mountain is about a two-hour drive from Charlotte and is located in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Trust me, it’s more than worth the drive. This great little ski mountain has been perfect for teaching our kids to ski. And I like that it’s a quick walk from the parking lot to the lodge, which makes it easy with kids in tow.
Asheville is a little over two hours from Charlotte and makes for a great day trip. There are often music festivals in the center of town that provide great entertainment for both adults and kids. Asheville is also packed full of some great restaurants and breweries such as Green Sage Cafe and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
In addition to being home to historic buildings such as George W. Vanderbilt’s 250-room Biltmore Estate, Asheville and the surrounding area offer some of the best hikes North Carolina has to offer (many of which include impressive waterfalls). It’s also a great place to go tubing on a hot summer day.
A little closer to home is the Cross Charlotte Trail, which belongs to the network of Mecklenburg County Greenways. The Cross Charlotte Trail allows residents and visitors to travel from one end of Charlotte to the other.
My family and I love taking bike rides on the greenway. There are a lot of off-the-beaten-path trails that make you forget you’re even in Charlotte. This pretty extensive system is expanding more every year, so it’s relatively easy to ride for miles and miles on the trails and explore the various greenways around the city.
Finally, the Green River is one of our favorite places to visit when the weather is nice. The Lower Green is a nice family-friendly river for rafting in a blow-up kayak to see the beautiful scenery and navigate the whitewater rapids. The picture below shows me and my 5-year-old (at the time) on the river. I think his face pretty much says it all.
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Unfortunately, it can’t be all play and no work! But luckily for me, I love what I do and I’m excited to connect with other Charlotteans to help with their finances and retirement planning. At Calamita Wealth Management, we specialize in helping diligent savers over the age of 50 who are beginning to think more seriously about their future retirement.
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Todd Calamita is the founder and managing principal of Calamita Wealth Management, an independent, fee-only wealth management company located in Charlotte, NC, serving people locally and across the country, that focuses on providing wealth management solutions to affluent individuals over age 50 and their families. Todd has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and is passionate about helping people have a better life by designing and implementing customized financial plans that bring clarity and confidence. Todd is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™(CFP®) and CERTIFIED DIVORCE FINANCIAL ANALYST® (CDFA®) and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Ohio University and a Master of Business Administration from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. He has authored a book, Plan Smart: Conquering 10 Common Money Traps, as well as numerous articles on wide-ranging personal finance topics, from taxes to retirement accounts. He has also been featured in a Financial Boot Camp TV series as a volunteer showing people how to make smart decisions with their money. When he’s not working, you can find Todd spending time with his wife, Teresa, and their two sons, Colin and Cameron. He enjoys rock climbing, swimming, and traveling, and he has a black belt in Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art. To learn more about Todd, connect with him on LinkedIn.