Best Spots to Spend A Hot Summer Day In Charlotte

July 6, 2012 6:00 AM

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Photo Credit: ThinkStock

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

If the hot summer day doldrums have got the kids down, recharge their batteries with high-octane activities. Rev up their engines at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, or ride the waves on a rafting adventure at the world’s biggest man-made whitewater river. Cool down with a day of swimming in Charlotte’s largest lake, and end those toasty days with cool, silky ice cream. Charlotte’s best spots to spend a hot summer day promise this and so much more.

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Photo Credit: Catherine Lash

NASCAR Hall of Fame

400 E. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28202
(877) 231-2010

Price: $19.95 per adult/$12.95 per children 5 to 12/$15 parking daily max

This 150,000-square-foot facility is jam packed with four floors of everything NASCAR. A short movie depicting the history of NASCAR begins the visit, then more than 50 interactive attractions, 1,000 artifacts and memorabilia of the sport’s early days, and a Kobalt Kids Zone featuring a life-size engine puzzle entertain the entire family. Live out NASCAR dreams in a racing simulator. Other family favorites include the Victory Lane photo, Call A Race to hear your voice on the radio, waving the green flag on the flag stand and the Pit Crew Challenge where family members compete against one another.

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Photo Credit: Catherine Lash

U.S. National Whitewater Center                                            
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
Charlotte, NC 28214
(704) 391-3900

Click here for passes and prices

Ziplining, trail biking, rock climbing and whitewater rafting all in one location guarantee a full day of exhilarating activities. Olympic hopefuls train at the facilities, boasting the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. Located on the banks of the Catawba River, it’s akin to a Disney World for the sports person. Land activities include canyon zip, rock climbing, mountain biking, ridge course and the trail system. The Family Rafting adventure is popular with younger kids. For drops, waves and tight technical turns, try the Rodeo Rafting. The facility provides locker rooms, showers and a changing room. Pets must be on a leash.

Related7 Kid-Friendly Environmental Activities for Earth Day and Every Day

lake norman state park1 Best Spots to Spend A Hot Summer Day In Charlotte

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Lake Norman State Park
159 Inland Sea Lane
Troutman, NC 28166
(704) 528-6350 

Price: $4 for adults/$3 for children

The largest man-made lake in the Carolinas lies about 20 minutes from downtown Charlotte. Lake Norman abounds with sport facilities, professional fishing tournaments, beautiful greens for golf aficionados and shopping opportunities galore. For those without boats, public swimming is restricted to the Lake Norman State Park. The swim area is roped off, and the sandy beach stretches roughly 125 feet. Take advantage of a large parking area, a bath house with warm showers, restrooms, a concession stand, changing stalls and lockers. Pets are not permitted in the swim area, beach buildings or adjacent grassy hillsides.

carrigan farms Best Spots to Spend A Hot Summer Day In Charlotte

Photo Credit: Carrigan Farms/Facebook

Carrigan Farms
1261 Oak Ridge Farm Highway
Mooresville, NC 28115
(704) 664-1450

Click here for picking and prices

The beautiful family owned farm is located a stones throw north of Charlotte. It is operated by a husband-wife team and their two children. The fifth generation farm has operated since 1902, hosting family field trips and swimming parties for groups of 25 or more. Near the cool, blue waters of the quarry, enjoy a sugar sand beach volleyball court. The family will cater a meal of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, condiments, sweet tea, soda and fresh watermelon slices for $18 per person. Reserve the quarry without the meal for $10 per person.

dog with ice cream Best Spots to Spend A Hot Summer Day In Charlotte

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream
2107 South Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28203
(704) 375-4318

Round off any summer day with a creamy, smooth vanilla and chocolate swirl ice cream cone. One of Charlotte’s original landmarks, the old-style soda shop only takes cash. The family owned business serves burgers, hotdogs and a wide assortment of milkshakes. Grab a signature chocolate and peanut butter shake and sit outside at the patio table and chairs for a $6 lunch.

Related: Best Playgrounds In Charlotte

Catherine Lash engagingly connects with people. She has learned that interested listening and thoughtful questioning are the means through which collaboration creates a story. She grew up traveling the world and learning military life in an Air Force family of seven. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and three kids. Her work can be found at

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