Going for a walk and getting out in nature are a great ways to bring peace of mind. Have you grown tired of walking the same old places but don’t want to drive too far? Here is a list of the hidden gems that I have found in the Charlotte area. All of them are free, within a 30 minute drive from center city, and generally uncrowded. If you know of more, please post in the comments. Now get out there and enjoy some fresh air!
- The Evergreen Nature Preserve – Tucked away in a neighborhood of Plaza Midwood is a 77 acre nature preserve. Walking through the wooded trails feels like you have traveled 40 miles out of the city! On its edges are a cemetary and a neighborhood park. It is a refreshing soak in nature without a long drive to get there.
2. Duke Mansion Gardens– Do you want to enjoy some beautiful landscaping and fountains? This is a peaceful getaway with plenty of spaces to sit and have a picnic or read a book. It even has a children’s garden and some fairy houses.
3. McGill Rose Garden– This is another beautiful garden at the edge of NODA. You can stroll the gardens, sit and paint the plants, or even have a coffee or glass of wine with a friend. The full garden is open to the public 10-4 Tuesday through Friday. The coffee and wine bar is open every day including weekends.
4. Jetton Park– Head to Lake Norman and walk some wooded trails. Over 100 acres including a small beach, tennis courts, a bike trail, and a picnic area. It is less crowded and not quite as far to drive as Lake Norman State Park.
5. Mcdowell Nature Preserve– Walk through woods, fields, or along Lake Wylie and enjoy the wildlife. It even includes a playground and a campground.
6. Big Rock Nature Preserve– Tucked in a Ballyntine neighborhood, you’ll find this nature oasis. This is more like a rock garden than a hiking trail. Kids especially love climbing over the big rocks.
7. Seven Oaks Preserve Trail – Pick up this trailhead by the parking lot to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. It is part of the Carolina Thread Trail and includes a variety of natural species, including of course the 7 different kinds of oak trees. Great lake views and a relatively easy terrain make it a peaceful place to stroll.
Other great local walking trails that are more well-known but worth mentioning: Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, Latta Plantation, 4 Mile Greenway, Park Rd Park, and Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve.
About the Author: Julie Glaser is a healer who creates sacred spaces for people to share, release, and grow. She’s in the habit of being in awe and wonder and writes to share her own experiences and curiosities with other inquisitive souls in the process of transforming.