Outdoor Dates in Charlotte for Every Couple
Take time to soak up some sunshine with your sweetheart.
by Emily Nobles Sep 22, 2020
Per a COVID-19-related Mecklenburg County health directive issued Jan. 12, 2021, please note that some businesses may have modified their hours of operation and changed procedures in order to comply with CDC and Mecklenburg County Health Department guidelines. Please wear a mask, limit any non-essential activities and refrain from gathering with anyone outside of your household.
For the Explorers
If you both share an adventurer’s spirit, then get ready to take a 100-foot leap of love off Hawk Jump – or zipline through a canopy of trees exploring a whole new outdoor world together. Spend the day getting to know each other while enjoying standup paddleboarding, whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, ropes courses and more at the U.S. National Whitewater Center.
This nearby state park offers a romantic escape into nature but with a shorter drive time than other North Carolina mountains. Crowders Mountain features more than 20 miles of scenic hikes ranging from leisurely to strenuous, and three of them lead up to gorgeous companion peaks that offer amazing views. The park also offers camping grounds, if you’re looking to pair up and pitch a tent for a weekend getaway. Pack a picnic to eat at the top and bring your couple selfie A-game for lots of Insta-worthy moments from the peak.
Historic Latta Plantation is 1,460 acres with features like 16 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails along the banks of Mountain Island Lake, as well as options to tour a restored 19th century federal-style home and living history farm. If you’re animal lovers, you can head to The Nature Center to see live, native animals, or visit the Backyard Habitat Garden. The Carolina Raptor Center is also located on the park’s property and features bird shows and a self-guided trail with over 30 species of birds of prey, including hawks, owls and vultures.
Explore the wonders of Fort Mill’s 2,100-acre natural treasure (twice the size of Central Park) with your special someone. Spend the day at Anne Springs Close Greenway surrounded by beautiful lakes and hardwood forests while discovering hidden waterfalls and photo-worthy backdrops. Explore the Greenway on foot, from the seat of a mountain bike or in a tandem kayak.
For the Thrill-Seekers
With both indoor and outdoor attractions, Frankie's 20-acre fun park is the perfect place to take your sweetie on those hot summer days or cool winter nights. The outdoor portion of the park features three 18-hole miniature golf courses and three custom go-kart tracks while inside you’ll find bowling and laser tag.
The Speedpark at Concord Mills offers the chance for the more competitive couples to best each other again and again. Race around four unique tracks on single or two-seater go-karts, or enjoy a newly renovated 18-hole miniature golf course. The park also features a bungee jump, fun slide, eight-story spider web and an indoor game room. Keep the good times rolling at Dave & Buster’s or SEA LIFE Charlotte-Concord Aquarium in Concord Mills Mall next to The Speedpark.
For over 45 years, Carowinds has been right at the heart of where the Carolinas come together, so it’s fitting this is on our list of perfect places for bonding time with your bae. With over 60 rides - including two of North America’s tallest steel coasters – dining options, shows, Midway Games and more you can plan an unforgettable day made for two. Pack a swimsuit to beat the heat on a waterslide or in the wave pool at Carolina Harbor, a waterpark designed to celebrate the culture of the Carolina coast or plan ahead with Carowinds’ Date Guide.
*Note: Carowinds is closed through the duration of 2020 and plans to reopen in 2021.
For the Water Lovers
Take the typical dinner date up a notch with a sightseeing or dinner cruise on Lake Norman with Queen's Landing Sightseeing & Dinner Cruises. Admire the view while enjoying a three-course chef-crafted meal on Lady of the Lake, a 93-foot luxury yacht, or add a vintage flair to the night with a buffet dinner on the Catawba Queen, a Mississippi river boat.
Slowly make your way around the pond in one of Dave's Paddle Boats at The Shoppes at University Place while enjoying an ice cream cone or milkshake from local favorite Ninety’s Ice Cream & Sandwiches. It’s the perfect way to take in the scenery and enjoy the water, without having to pack a swimsuit.
Take the weekend to paddle down the Catawba River in kayaks, or let your worries float away while you drift in a tube. No matter how you choose to enjoy the water, the easy current and natural beauty of the river make a romantic backdrop to any date with Rockin' River Adventures.
*Note: Rockin' River Adventures is closed for the 2020 season but plans to reopen Memorial Day weekend in 2021.
For the Day Drinkers
Charlotte Rooftop Lounges
Take in the skyline and watch the clouds drift by while sipping on a drink. The view from Fahrenheit is stunning whether you’re visiting for brunch or post-dinner cocktails, while Cloud Bar by David Burke boasts a 360-degree view of the city. Merchant & Trade is perched on the 19th floor of the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, offering couples a curated cocktail menu plus elevated bar bites. Nuvole Rooftop TwentyTwo boasts a beautiful U-shaped bar and floor-to-ceiling windows along with 2,400 square feet of partially covered patio seating. Enjoy fresh seafood with your view at The Waterman Fish Bar. For a more casual vibe, head to Whiskey Warehouse and savor good company and a plate of Whiskey Poppers (fried pimento cheese poppers) or The Unknown Brewing Co. to grab a drink and find a seat on the high tops adorning their rooftop patio.
Charlotte’s original craft brewery, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery boasts the largest biergarten in the southeast. Set on eight acres and modeled after the world famous biergartens of Munich, this natural, tree-shaded oasis is the perfect place to enjoy a cold brew and sample some of the traditional German food offered on their menu.
Cozy up on NoDa Company Store’s patio porch swings while sipping on one of the Company Store’s large craft beer and wine selection or their signature sangria. This neighborhood spot draws and eclectic crowd and also plays host to a variety of events including the NoDA Farmers Market, Sunday Funday Free Lunches and a calendar full of food trucks, dance nights, music and more.
VBGB features over 30 local and regional brews on tap, as well as full bar of wine and liquor. Enjoy your drink at the bar’s frost rail or take advantage of one of the largest patios in the city, stocked with fun bar games. Make sure to sample something off their menu – such as the must-try jumbo pretzel – that is part traditional bar food, part German and part health inspired.
The indoor seating area is impressive on its own, but it’s when you step outside to Dilworth Tasting Room's open air private courtyard/patio space complete with koi pond and string lights that you really start to feel the magic. Their patio was even named Charlotte Magazine’s 2019 Best of the Best Awards Editor’s Pick for best Secret Garden Patio. The wine selection is top tier, and the staff are more than willing to help you pick out the perfect glass or cheese and wine pairing.