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Charlotte, Off the Beaten Path

AAA/Sherry Mims
By AAA Travel Editor Sherry Mims
December 12, 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.
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Best Western Carowinds

Fort Mill, South Carolina
(803) 548-8400
If you’re looking for hotels in Charlotte, N.C., check out this property on the outskirts of the city. Tucked away on a side road near the Carowinds theme park and I-77, this hotel provides a convenient yet quiet 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

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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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.).
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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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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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