AAA Travel Tips / Charlotte, Off the Beaten Path

Charlotte, Off the Beaten Path

AAA/Sherry Mims
By AAA Travel Editor Sherry Mims
February 15, 2019
A road trip through Charlotte, N.C., and neighboring South Carolina destinations offers plenty of fun things to do on a vacation. Head off the beaten path on this Carolinas-inspired getaway through artsy neighborhoods and suburban splendor.
Best Western Carowinds in Fort Mill, S.C., is off I-77 but tucked away on a side road, offering a quiet yet convenient place to stay, especially if you're going to Carowinds.
AAA/Sherry Mims
Best Western Carowinds
Fort Mill, South Carolina
AAA Inspector Rating
(803) 548-8400
If you’re looking for hotels in Charlotte, N.C., check out a AAA Two Diamond on the outskirts of the city. Tucked away on a side road near the Carowinds theme park and I-77, this hotel provides a quiet yet convenient place to go when you want to unwind. It’s also an affordable option with a complimentary continental breakfast that’ll fuel you as you head toward local attractions.
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The Billy Graham Library documents the evangelical leader, who grew up near Charlotte, N.C., and his ministry. Highlights include the house he was raised in, a barn with interactive exhibits, a silo and a memorial garden. Billy and Ruth Graham as well as several evangelical leaders are buried on the grounds. (The Graham Family Homeplace was moved on-site  from its original location, which was a few miles east.)
AAA/Sherry Mims
The Billy Graham Library
Charlotte, North Carolina
(704) 401-3200
Billy Graham, the well-known evangelical leader who counseled presidents, grew up near Charlotte on a dairy farm. Those interested in his ministry should plan a visit to this immaculately landscaped destination near the airport. Along with the family farmhouse, the attraction includes a silo, a barn with a retrospective of the family’s life and beliefs, and a memorial area for Billy and Ruth Graham.
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NoDa, or North Davidson Street, is the artsy neighborhood of Charlotte, N.C., where murals are among the most popular things to see. Many like this one—near NoDa Company Store's entertainment area—are adjacent to local businesses.
AAA/Sherry Mims
NODA
Charlotte, North Carolina
NoDa, which stands for North Davidson Street, is the place to go if you want to see the artsy side of the Queen City. Note the bright murals on many of the nearby businesses. Afterward grab a drink and a live performance at the NoDa Company Store (3221 Yadkin Ave.).
President James K. Polk, America's 11th president, is associated with this historic site, a remnant of his family's land in Pineville. A reconstructed cabin, outbuildings, a visitor center and garden are on-site.
AAA/Sherry Mims
President James K. Polk State Historic Site
Pineville, North Carolina
(704) 889-7145
If you’ve exited toward Carowinds, off Charlotte's I-77 exit 90, follow the signs toward this historic site associated with President James K. Polk, America’s 11th president. The drive through the countryside is short but picturesque. The grounds feature a visitor center, reconstructed cabin, outbuildings and exhibit garden. After learning some presidential history, be sure to explore the tranquil setting, which is especially colorful in fall.
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The Piedmont Medical Center Trail, frequently called the Riverwalk, offers a paved, 2.5-mile walkway by the Catawba River. This recreational offering is a short drive away from Charlotte. Don't forget to pick up a book at the Little Free Library at the trailhead.
AAA/Sherry Mims
Riverwalk: Piedmont Medical Center Trail
Rock Hill, South Carolina
(813) 329-7012
Head south of Charlotte to enjoy the recreational opportunities at this beautiful retreat by the Catawba River. (There’s also a launch if you prefer to kayak.) Stately trees surround the paved trail in Rock Hill, making it a vibrant place to stroll and take pictures most of the year. A Little Free Library with a couple of shelves containing donated books also beckons by the trailhead, offering an opportunity to refresh your reading materials—and perhaps inspire your next vacation.
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