Charlotte is known for its bustling Uptown area, major sports teams and awesome entertainment venues, however, most people are unaware that Charlotte has some pretty spectacular natural hidden gems within or around the city limits. These seven natural hidden gems are bound to surprise tourists and residents with their stunning beauty and unique locations.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. McGill Rose Garden
The McGill Rose Garden is a gorgeous little garden tucked away on North Davidson Street in the Noda Arts District. This Garden is approximately one and a third acres and one of only four declared All-America Rose Selections (AARS) public gardens in North Carolina.
The McGill Rose Garden was brought to life in the 1950’s by Henry and Helen McGill, who had purchased the land which was previously used as a coal yard.
Helen became so passionate about her rose garden, she was known as the "Rose Lady" of Charlotte. When she died in 1985, her husband took over care of the garden until he sold it to the city in 1995.
Today, the McGill Rose Garden is a place where visitors can stroll through winding pathways framed by thousands of rose bushes, fountains and sculptures that add to the magic of the landscape.
Now that you know about this little "Secret Garden," make sure you take time for a visit to indulge in the peace and tranquility it offers.
940 N Davidson St, Charlotte, NC 28206
2. Jetton Park
Jetton Park is a lakeside park on Lake Norman that is full of hidden gems for most Charlotte residents. The park sits on 104 acres and offers visitors beautiful lakeside views from multiple picnic areas, paved and unpaved hiking trails, a formal garden, tennis courts, a playground and much more.
There is a beautiful lakeside gazebo on the property that has set the backdrop for many weddings held here.
And the sunset view over the water is one of the best sights you’ll see while visiting the park.
Various hiking and paved trails offer runners and walkers a serene, peaceful landscape for their daily exercise.
Whether you are looking to fish, hike, swim or just enjoy the day outdoors, Jetton Park has the right activity for you with the perfect backdrop.
19000 Jetton Rd, Cornelius, NC 28031
3. Big Rock Nature Preserve
The Big Rock Nature Preserve is a hidden gem in South Charlotte located at the intersection of I-485 and Rea Road.
The 22 acre preserve houses numerous historic rock formations unique to North Carolina.
The Big Rock Nature Preserve is the only preserve in Charlotte that has been designated as a historic landmark due to the fact that there is a 7,000 year old Native American ritual site located within the rocks.
Kids and adults alike love climbing these giant rock formations and checking out the views from the top.
If you have an interest in hiking and geology, Big Rock Nature Preserve is where you need to be this weekend.
6500 Elmstone Dr, Charlotte, NC 28277
4. Copperhead Island
Copperhead Island is truly a magical spot hidden off of Lake Wylie. Since Copperhead Island is nestled away from the noise and activity of the main lake, visitors will often have great success in catching fish and seeing all kinds of wildlife like birds, reptiles and amphibians that live on the lake's edge.
If you’re looking for a quiet place to get out on the water, head out to Copperhead Island for your next boating trip.
The scenic views and quiet sounds of the lake will not disappoint.
Boat launch: 15200 Soldier Rd, Charlotte, NC 28278
5. Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary
This little sanctuary was started in the 1920s by Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson, who combined two of the gardens around their house to form a bird sanctuary. In 1971 the couple donated the gardens and sanctuary to the Wing Haven Foundation, and it became open for the public to visit and enjoy.
Designed with various species of birds in mind, the Wing Haven Gardens contain some of the most amazing trees and plants that attract birds all throughout the year.
There are many places for nesting within the gardens, as well as many fountains and bird baths on the property which give the birds a place to drink and bathe.
And in spring and summer, the flowers that you will see blooming in the garden are stunning.
You can spend hours losing yourself in the beauty and charm of your surroundings.
Many quaint seating areas are provided for visitors who want to enjoy the sights and sounds of the garden and bird watch.
As the only garden and bird sanctuary in Charlotte that is designated a local historic landmark by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Landmark Commission, these gardens and bird sanctuary will surely make you feel as if you are in a different place at a different time as you lose yourself in its 1920s charm.
248 Ridgewood Ave, Charlotte, NC 28209
6. Anne Springs Close Greenway
The Anne Springs Close Greenway is a little piece of heaven located about 30 minutes south of Charlotte in Fort Mill, South Carolina. Spanning 2,100 acres, this nature preserve is more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park and offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities.
When you visit the Greenway, you’ll find hiking trails, lakes, pastures, and farm animals in this outdoor oasis.
Babbling brooks and waterfalls and vibrant plant life and flowers surround the property at Anne Springs Close Greenway.
Acres of land are home to various farm animals including goats, horses, chickens and more.
Horseback riding is common at the Greenway, and many of the animals are featured in educational programs that are held at the farm.
There are often regular and seasonal events held at the Greenway where visitors can gather and enjoy local entertainment, food and arts and crafts.
Events include a Summer Concert Series, a Fiddle n’ Pig Shindig, a Fall Frolic, annual Horse Shows, a Winter Wonderland Craft Fair and a Green Gala.
This Greenway is a wonderful place to escape to if you are looking for a gorgeous outdoors spot where you can enjoy a lot of amazing activities. 104 Adventure Rd, Fort Mill, SC 29715
7. Carrigan Farms
Carrigan Farms is a family-owned farm located in Mooresville, North Carolina just 45 minutes away from Charlotte.
The farm is open to the public and offers many seasonal events for visitors to enjoy.
Strawberry picking, apple picking, hayrides and wandering through the pumpkin patch are just a few of the things you can do on your visit.
Carrigan Farms also has a stunning rock quarry on the property that is open to the public.
You can rent the quarry for events and private parties, or you can participate in "open swim" when it is available.
The quarry is 25 feet deep and filled with cool, refreshing natural water.
Visitors enjoy entering the water by jumping from the rocks or walking in at the beach.
Now that fall is here, it is the perfect time to take a trip to Carrigan Farms.
Pick out some fresh autumn produce to take home, or enjoy the haunted trail or a night time hayride.
1261 Oakridge Farm Hwy, Mooresville, NC 28115
Do you have a favorite hidden gem in Charlotte? Feel free to add it to this list in our comments below.