Gaston County is a great place to spend the weekend. Whether you love the outdoors or need a getaway with your family, a great adventure awaits you. Come explore Gaston County.
1. Outdoor Adventure
Kayaks. Paddleboards. Mountain bikes. Hiking shoes. You have the gear, we have the places to use it. Now is the time to get outdoors and discover a recreation wonderland.
Crowders Mountain State Park
The crown jewel of Gaston County is Crowders Mountain State Park. The views here are spectacular. Outdoor adventurers can enjoy miles of hiking, camping, fishing, and more.
Carolina Thread Trail
With the help of the Carolina Thread Trail, Gaston County offers miles of trails including both greenways for hiking, and blueways for paddling, creating a great opportunity to get outside.
2. Nature Lovers
Hop on this trail and enjoy the beauty of nature through these attractions located throughout the county.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
This is Carolinas’ Garden for all seasons. DSBG provides guests a chance to reconnect with nature and to create lifelong memories. Located on 380 acres along the banks of Lake Wylie, this garden features spectacular gardens, sparkling fountains, a conservatory of tropical plants, and more.
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Come learn about science and natural history in this museum offering exceptional educational programs, exhibits, and more. The Schiele Museum of Natural History is only one of 70 museums in the U.S. designated as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
Enjoy Our Parks
We also have over 80 parks within the County here for the enjoyment of visitors making it easy to encounter nature and explore anywhere your adventure might lead.
On The Farm
See what’s growing on the farm in Gaston County. In spring, step into a strawberry patch. Come summertime, look for vine-ripened tomatoes, squash, and blueberries. Fall is a colorful season as pumpkins turn bright orange. Find our farms and have some fun.
3. Get On The Water
Every day is a good day to be on the water as the scenic views, public access areas, and boat rental options abound.
Paddling the calm waters is a super easy and a fun way to pass the time. Grab a boat and head to either the Catawba or South Fork River using a sit-on-top kayak with single or tandem options, or maybe even a canoe. Check out the 11 Mills Blueway Trail for detailed information on where to launch, dock and make stops along the way.
Maybe paddling just isn’t your idea of a good time. That’s ok! The Catawba River, which leads to Lake Wylie, allows our visitors a chance to enjoy open water. Grab some friends and rent a jet ski or a pontoon boat at one of our marinas and make your own private party on the water.
4. Thrill Seekers
The Whitewater Center is the world’s premier outdoor facility featuring the best adventures for thrill seekers including, whitewater rafting, zip lines, and climbing creating a great weekend getaway!
A must at Whitewater Center — it’s in the name after all. Rapids range from classes II to IV, and experiences vary from beginner to advanced. All options include a professional guide. Experienced paddlers may take on the whitewater course by kayak.
Stretch across the center’s campus. Varying from 200 feet to more than 1,000 feet long, ziplines carry passengers above the tree canopy and across the whitewater course.
Deep Water Solo
A form of rock climbing that utilizes falling into a deep pool of water instead of traditional climbing protection. The Whitewater Center’s Deep Water Solo Complex has five walls ranging from 20 to 45 feet in height.
Tree Canopy Ropes
An activity that is built into the trees or made of utility poles that incorporates traversing obstacles of varying difficulty. Participants wear harnesses and are attached to safety lines throughout the activity.
5. Ridgeline Craft Beverage Trail
The Ridgeline Craft Beverage Trail features breweries, distilleries and wineries in and around Gaston County. Currently there are 12 locations located on the trail. Each has its own unique feel and culture and experienced altogether on the trail makes it a great weekend getaway.
6. Sports Fans
In Gaston County we pack the house as spectators roar with cheers for their team and favorite athletes.
Gastonia Honey Hunters
If you’re an athlete at heart you absolutely must head to the ball field in Gastonia to witness the fun of the ball game.The Gastonia Honey Hunters, is a professional baseball team in the Atlantic League.
Roaring to life with spectacular dirt track races the Carolina Speedway is known as “The Action Track”. This 4/10th of a mile oval track hosts different divisions each week. Check the calendar for 700 horsepower engines thundering around the track and cheer the drivers to the finish line.
Belmont Abbey Crusaders
The Abbey Crusaders at Belmont Abbey College play in NCAA Division II Conference Carolinas and currently compete in nearly three dozen men’s and women’s varsity sports. With so many sports, there are home games on campus nearly every night of the week.
The Gaston College Rhinos in Dallas, NC competes in five sports, baseball, softball, e-sports, beach volleyball and men’s basketball in the NJCAA.
7. Christmas County
An extravaganza of festivals and events designed to celebrate this special time of year exclusively in Gaston County.
Christmas Town USA
When the sun goes down visitors explore the brightly illuminated town of McAdenville while carillon bells play carols. The tour includes a lake with a 75 foot multi-colored fountain, historic bell tower, and vintage displays. Christmas Town USA® was ranked 4th by USA Today as the “Best Public Holiday Lights Display” in the US.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas at the ChristmasTown 5k, the area’s most popular organized road race. The lights don’t officially begin until December, but our participants receive a sneak peek for one night only! It’s a great way to kick off your holiday season.
Holiday Lights at the Garden
Celebrate the holidays at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden with a mile of a million lights. Over half a million lights twinkle from November through the end of December.
Ice Trail Skating
The US National Whitewater Center creates a 17,000 sq. ft. ice trail for skating with an on-ice Airstream serving hot and cold beverages. Available November through February.
Spend a night of fun with your friends and family on these snowless tubing lanes, the Chutes.
Located just outside of Charlotte, NC, Gaston County offers many things to see and do making a great weekend getaway. We are only minutes away from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and have great places to stay and numerous unique dining establishments to complete a great weekend away. Come stay with us!
Cover photo: The crown jewel of outdoor adventure, Crowders Mountain State Park