Crowders Mountain - Climbing
The craggy, quartzite peaks of Crowders Mountain are full of challenging routes and surrounded by great views. As the classic trad climbing destination in the area, the park sees lots of traffic. But with dozens of routes on several walls, there’s room for many climbers. And it’s all less than 45 minutes from uptown Charlotte.
Insider's Guide to Gaston County
Directly to the west of Charlotte, on the other side of the Catawba River, lie the blue-collar towns within Gaston County. Known more for light industrial work and sports bars than outdoor adventure and eclectic fusion fair, it’s easy to overlook Charlotte’s western neighbors when you have an urge to explore outside. With a bit of knowledge, however, you can find a weekend’s worth of activities to keep you busy and entertained.
Caravan Coffee A Solid Coffee Shop
Great java is, of course, the foundation for a solid coffee shop. But to really stand out, there should be awesome service, tasty snacks, and an atmosphere that makes you want a second cup. The cozy confines of Caravan Coffee in downtown Belmont, NC have all that and more.
The Best Food & Trail Parings Gaston County
Anchored by stalwarts who have served the county for decades and spiced with newcomers bringing fresh ideas, “grabbing a bite” in Gaston means an eclectic mix of traditional southern and contemporary styles. From the best of southern BBQ to huge buttermilk biscuits covered in country gravy, Gaston County is a destination for anyone seeking true southern comfort food.
Where to Go with Your Kids Gaston County
School’s out for the summer! A rally cry for kids everywhere, a warning for parents. What to do when days get longer and the words “I’m bored” reverberate off every wall? Here’s a list of activities around Gaston County guaranteed to burn off the biggest store of kid energy and maybe even help them learn a few things at the same time.
USNWC: Big Plans for its 10th Year
In August, the U.S. National Whitewater Center turns 10 years old. This season, Charlotte’s crown jewel of the outdoor community is hitting a tremendous pre-teen growth spurt. Adding both acreage—the center has nearly doubled in size over the last 1.5 years—and experiences, it can be difficult to keep up with everything that’s new here.
Catawba River - Paddling
Forming the western border of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, and feeding many of the lakes in this part of the piedmont, the Catawba River is the source for some of the best flat water paddling near the Queen City. The section of river that flows past the U.S. National Whitewater Center is smooth and calm with lots of opportunities to duck in small coves and circumnavigate islands. Osprey, hawk, and sparrows roam the skies while bass and carp swim below.
A Guide to Gaston County's Masterpiece Mountain Biking Scene
Gaston County sits in a spot where the smooth Western Carolina piedmont begins to bunch up to the foothills of the Tarheel State. For hundreds of years, creeks and rivers flowing through the county have carved away at the banks which surround them, further dramatizing the humps and bumps. The resulting hills and ravines, covered in a canopy of pine and hardwood forests, are the ideal palate for mountain bike trail designers to create masterpieces.
The String Bean Cafe - Food & Drink
Located in the cozy little downtown of Charlotte's western neighbor, Belmont, NC, The String Bean is a convenient stop after a day on the trails at Crowders Mountain State Park. Part full-service restaurant, part butcher / seafood counter, and part beer and wine store, "The Bean" is a pleasant departure from standard pub grub.
Wilderness and Waterways: A Guide to Paddling in Gaston County
Whether it’s a lazy afternoon float or a long distance exploration of flora and fauna, Gaston County offers a range of activities flat for water paddlers. Wide rivers and narrow blue-ways carry kayaks and canoes on wilderness adventures, and calm waters bring stand-up paddleboarders out for early morning workouts. Here are some of the best places to paddle.
Spinning Yarns and Casting Lines: The Lowdown on Fishing in Gaston County
Like every great fisherman (Guy was inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame in 2011) he can spin a yarn as well as he can throw a line. Stop for a chat and he’ll tell you about his first big tournament in the 70’s and how nervous he was competing against some of the greats (he traveled 14 miles across Lake Norman to find the spot that won the day). And he’ll tell you about the time, back in ’92, when he fished with George H.W. Bush....
Exploring the Carolina Thread Trail in Gaston County
Gaston County is full of natural places. From the shores of the Catawba River—where stoic herons stand in wait for their next meal—to the rugged peaks of Crowders Mountain State Park—where a clear day offers views all the way to the Charlotte skyline and beyond. The opportunities to ditch the city and duck into the woods are numerous.
Cant-Miss Spring Events
In neighborhoods throughout Gaston County, pink and white petals of blooming tulip trees have caught a ride on the season’s first warm breeze. Foliage awakens from its long hibernation—buffering the recently bare edges of rugged trails at Rocky Branch with a brilliant green carpet. And the grounds of the Danial Stowe Botanical Garden are exploding with every imaginable color.