Kruck20 via Getty images

5 Family-Friendly Charlotte Day Trips Fit For "The Queen City"

Charlotte, also known as "The Queen City," is an American city in North Carolina. This bustling metropolitan area is home to over 900,000 Americans and notable attractions like the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Carowinds Amusement Park, Carolina Panthers (NFL), and Charlotte Hornets (NBA).

Charlotte is situated by the Catawba River and Lake Norman in the Southwestern portion of North Carolina—not far from the South Carolina border. The city sits between major NC travel destinations like Raleigh and Durham to the East and Asheville to the West.

Residents of Charlotte adore the city's culture and unique landmarks. So, this article caters to families residing in the downtown Charlotte area to suggest close-to-home day trips.

Just in the state of North Carolina, there are many options for full-day family-friendly road trips to get out of the city. Bucket list destinations around the Charlotte metropolitan area offer everything from small towns with essential landmarks to state parks for outdoor activities. Families from Charlotte, NC, don't have to travel too far to feel like they've strayed from their regular routine and into a fabulous family getaway. Before the journey out of Charlotte, readers must consider the following travel guide to find the best day trips for the whole family.

5 Day Trips from Charlotte to Excite the Whole Family

1.   Hickory, North Carolina

Union Square Hickory NC

Jeff Yount via Getty Images

Travelers from Charlotte should head Northwest for about an hour to get to the small town of Hickory in the Tar Heel State. Tourists visit this area to go shopping for handcrafted furniture at Hickory Furniture Mart and explore the hiking trails at Baker's Mountain.

Often, residents from Charlotte will come to Hickory to experience outdoor activities in the scenic recreation area(s). After doing so, individuals and families are looking for shopping, drinking, and dining options like Hatch Sandwich Bar, Blowing Rock Draft House, or Olde Hickory Tap Room.

2.   Lake James State Park

Aerial view at dusk on a summer evening of a cove with marinas on Lake James, North Carolina.

Eifel Kreutz via Getty Images

With views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains, Lake James State Park is worth the hour and a half road trip from Charlotte, NC. Travelers come to this North Carolina state park to walk or bike miles of trails. Moreover, tourists can come to this area for swimming, boating, and other water sports. The lakeside park hosts a picnic area and a fabulous beach where visitors can catch some rays.

3.   Concord, North Carolina

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 17: Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Team Penske Ford, race during the NASCAR Next Gen Test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on December 17, 2021 in Concord, North Carolina

Jared C. Tilton via Getty Images

Concord, NC, is home to the Charlotte Motor Speedway—a necessary stop for NASCAR racing fans. Suppose racing isn't on the bucket list for this trip to Concord. In that case, tourists have options that range from golfing to sampling local wineries and distilleries. What's more, families with kids often gravitate towards the SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord aquarium for educational, oceanic exhibits.

4.   The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Indoors in the Orchid Conservatory at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden during the annual Art & Orchids event. The display featured exotic plants and orchids as well as displays showing how to grow and care for orchids. The Orchid Conservatory is part of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden which is a 380 acre botanical garden founded by Daniel J. Stowe who was a textile executive. The Garden has fountains, trails, formal gardens, a children's garden and natural areas.

bauhaus1000 via Getty Images

The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, NC, sits on the Catawba River. The beautiful garden is located within a 380-acre area on Lake Wylie. Visitors come here to view the bubbling fountains, walk the nature preserve trails, and sightsee amongst the conservatory dedicated to an array of plant species. Once in Belmont, tourists often walk the downtown area and main street zone for shopping, drinking, and dining opportunities. Looking for other options while on this route? This small town is just outside of Gastonia, where travelers can find George Poston Park, Crowder's Mountain State Park, and The Schiele Natural History Museum.

5.   Lexington, North Carolina

LEXINGTON, TEXAS - JULY 31: Pitmaster Clay Cowgill helps two young patrons try their hand at mopping the ribs at Snow's BBQ on July 31, 2021 in Lexington, Texas

Jim Bennett via Getty Images

The Piedmont town called Lexington is well-known for its pervasive barbeque culture. For this reason, travelers often come here for a three-day Lexington Barbecue Tour that guides visitors through over a dozen different BBQ joints in this town. The delicious food is often paired with local sweet tea or wine from vineyards. Working off this food and drink is accessible in the town's recreation areas like Boone's Cave Park and Finch Park, where hikers and bikers often congregate.

When traveling to these places, families from Charlotte will have the best day with their loved ones. All of these travel destinations are just one short drive away from Charlotte.

Looking for more areas outside of Charlotte to visit? Interested individuals should search for activities and things in Asheboro, Salisbury, Winston-Salem, Uwharrie, Huntersville, Mooresville, Greensboro, and Greenville. Enjoy traversing the United States of America!

Any family-friendly road trip ideas of your own? Share your adventure at our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

READ MORE: Explore the 10 Best Beaches to Surf in North Carolina