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Great outdoor adventures for your family in Gaston County

Your next outdoor adventure starts here in Gaston County. This destination is an amazing for families to get outside, become one with nature, explore trails, paddle, climb and whitewater raft, creating a great place to enjoy some time together. Whether you love the outdoors or need a getaway, a great adventure awaits you.

Crowders Mountain State Park
The crown jewel of outdoor adventure, Crowders Mountain State Park

Get outdoors

Discover this outdoor recreational wonderland.

Crowders Mountain State Park

The crown jewel of Gaston County is Crowders Mountain State Park. While most people hike to the top for the spectacular views, there are also trails at the base with a short loop located around the lake for little hikers. At the main entrance is a visitor center with educational displays. Camping and fishing are also available.

Carolina Thread Trail

The simple act of exploring a trail encourage families to interact with each other while enjoying the outdoors. With the help of the Carolina Thread Trail, Gaston County offers miles of trails that create an opportunity to get outside.

Thrill seekers at US National Whitewater Center
Thrill seekers at US National Whitewater Center

Thrill seekers

The Whitewater Center is a premier outdoor facility featuring the best adventures for thrill seekers, whitewater rafting, zip lines, and climbing.

Whitewater rafting

A must at Whitewater Center — it is 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.

Zipline courses

Stretch across the campus, the ziplines vary from 200 feet to more than 1,000 feet, carrying 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 Deep Water Solo Complex has five walls ranging from 20 to 45 feet in height.

Tree canopy ropes

Crafted into the trees, the Tree Canopy Ropes incorporate traversing obstacles of varying difficulty. Participants wear harnesses and are attached to safety lines throughout the activity.

Paddle the Catawba River and its South Fork
Get in the Water by Paddling the Catawba River and its South Fork

A day on the water

Paddling the Catawba River and its South Fork.

Paddling the calm waters is a super easy and a fun way to pass the time. Grab a boat and head to the Catawba or South Fork River using a sit-on-top kayak, with single or tandem options, or maybe even a canoe.

Maybe paddling is not your idea of a good time. That's ok! The Catawba River, which leads to Lake Wylie, allows our visitors to enjoy open water. Grab your family to rent a jet ski or a pontoon boat at one of our marinas and make your own private party on the water.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Appreciate nature at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Nature lovers

Enjoy the beauty of nature in a beautiful garden.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

The Carolinas garden for all seasons, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden provides families a chance to reconnect with nature and 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.

A day of interactive learning a Schiele Museum

Inspiring our youth

For those with natural curiosity, look no further.

The Schiele Museum of Natural History

Inspiring curiosity and understanding of science and the natural world through research, programs, and exhibits. Spend the day with your kids learning at The Schiele Museum of Natural History, one of only 70 museums in the US designated as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

A day at the park

With over 80 parks, explore anywhere adventure might lead.

Goat Island

Goat Island Park, is a popular stop for families. The island is full of activities: 18-hole disc golf course, fishing pier, playground, exercise equipment, a kayak launch, permanent ping-pong tables, cornhole boards and a greenway that runs through the park.

Stowe Park

Stowe Park has a great big playground your kids are going to love! Hit this park after shopping and dining in downtown Belmont.

Rankin Lake Park

The focal point of Rankin Lake Park is a gorgeous 80-acre lake with paved walking trail, fishing pier and boat dock. Canoes, kayaks, johnboats and pedal boats are available to rent, a clubhouse and several picnic shelters, perfect for your family.

Martha Rivers Park

At Martha Rivers Park, children head straight for the castle. The playground at this park offers a large wooden structure that houses a fort, a ship, a race car, slides and swings.

Grow with us

See what is 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.

Cheer for the home team in Gaston County

Root for the home team

In Gaston County we pack the house as spectators roar with cheers for their team and favorite athletes.

Gastonia Honey Hunters

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. Your kids will absolutely love the amusing antics of BAM, the team mascot.

Carolina Speedway

Roaring to life with spectacular dirt track races 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 your chance to watch 700 horsepower race cars thunder around this track.