For a vacation spot that’s full of outdoor adventure, artsy neighborhoods, museums for every interest and tons of fun for families, choose Charlotte. This North Carolina city is the perfect family vacation destination as it has both the city amenities that you want plus a super chill vibe. Scroll through to find 15 reasons why it should be your next family vacation spot!

photo: Carowinds

A Day of Thrills and Chills

A trip to Charlotte isn't complete without a visit to Carowinds, the massive amusement park with fun around every corner. Little ones will love flying an airplane with Snoopy and riding in Pig Pen's Mud Buggies. Thrill seekers line up for Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster. When the day gets hot you can cool off at Carolina Harbor, the waterpark located inside the park. You won't have to leave when the little ones get hungry as you can enjoy Carolina cuisine all throughout the park. 


photo: Kenzie Kramer

Spend Some Time at This Outdoor Wonderland

The U.S. National Whitewater Center is the place to go if you are looking for some outdoor adventure in Charlotte. With over 30 activities to choose from, you can spend the day whitewater rafting, ziplining, rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking. Families can enjoy live music there in the summer months as well as a number of dining opportunities. 


photo: Marriott Ballantyne

Green Space for Miles

The Ballantyne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte is the ultimate spot for families to stay the night when visiting Charlotte. The gorgeous property includes both indoor and outdoor pools, tons of green space perfect for kids who need to burn off some energy and on-site dining with options everyone will love. Kids can take golf lessons at the hotel's golf course while parents enjoy a spa treatment. Choose from deluxe rooms, suites and even a four-bedroom cottage where you can really spread out. The hotel's location makes it easy to visit nearby attractions like Carowinds and the Whitewater Center. 


photo: Kenzie Kramer

Stroll Down the South End Rail Trail

Meander through the heart of Charlotte via the South End Rail Trail. This 3.5-mile trail along the Blue Line connects neighborhoods into a network of gardens, public art and unique spaces. Grab a drink at local cafés and bars, relax at an outdoor concert, see artists at work and just enjoy the city with your family. 


Start Your Engines at the NASCAR Hall of Fame

More than just a museum, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is a fully-immersive experience that gives you a glimpse of the past and future of this exciting sport. Feel what it's like to get behind the wheel via the iRacing simulator and then test your skills in the Pit Crew Challenge. On the second Saturday of the month they have special activities for visiting families.


Get Your Art Fix

The Levine Center for the Arts brings together the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture and the Mint Museum Uptown into a united arts conglomeration. Families can take a stroller tour at the Gantt, enjoy some jazz with modern art at the Bechtler and get free admission to the Mint Museum Uptown on Wednesday evenings.


photo: Renaissance Charlotte SouthPark Hotel

Livin' the Easy Life

All the members of your family will feel welcomed to the Renaissance Charlotte SouthPark Hotel, even the four-legged family members. Kids will love the special American Girl check-in experience and the indoor pool while parents will enjoy the affordable room rates. The hotel is within walking distance of the SouthPark Mall where you can find family-friendly dining and shopping galore. 


7th Street Public Market

Foodies, this is the spot for you! The 7th Street Public Market celebrates the food culture of the Carolinas and it is the perfect spot for visiting families. With everything from pizza to açai bowls to crêpes, there's something for every palate. Enjoy live music, board game nights and other special event—it's always hopping at the 7th Street Public Market.


Shopping + Paddle Boats

When you head to the Shoppes at University Place, you'll find shopping, dining and a whole lot more. Kids will love the paddle boats that you can rent to take you out to see the resident ducks. Grab a bite to eat at family-friendly spots like Five Guys, Boardwalk Billy's and Pei Wei Asian Diner to fuel up for some shopping. 


Travel through History

Reed Gold Mine is the site of the first gold found in the United States and kids will love touring the mine and trying their luck at panning for gold. Admission is free and guided tours are offered each hour. Don't miss a stop at the Visitor Center where you can see a film about North Carolina's gold mining industry dating back to the 1800's. Online:

photo: Sheraton Charlotte Hotel

Views for Days

The Charlotte skyline is right out your window when you book an overnight stay at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel. Ideally located in downtown Charlotte, the hotel has both an indoor pool as well as an outdoor pool that's adjacent to the hotel's newly-renovated casual restaurant. Walk to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Bank of America Stadium and Marshall Park. 


Explore the Murals in NoDa

There's nothing that gives you a feel for a city quite like a walking tour of its street art. NoDa (short for North Davidson, the main street in the area) is Charlotte’s historic arts and entertainment district. It is home to loads of amazing murals and other street art that make up the perfect activity for a gorgeous Charlotte afternoon. Fill up your Instagram feed with snaps of the kids in front of "Yoda in NoDa" and "E.T." among other amazing works of art. 


Relax at the Olde Mecklenburg Brewery

Charlotte's largest brewery isn't just for the parents in your crew. The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery has the feel of a German bierhall and families are welcome to tour the brewery and enjoy authentic German fare like sausages, soft German pretzels and currywurst. Pick a spot outside and the kids will have fun playing a game of corn hole while the adults enjoy a Charlotte-brewed pilsner or hefeweizen.


Spend the Day Immersed in Science

There's nothing like a science museum that will pique the interests of everyone in your family. Discovery Place Science is the perfect spot to see, touch and explore science from Antarctic dinosaurs to the human body. In the Thinker Space you can learn new skills like woodworking and soldering. Budding architects can create blueprint sketches for virtual clients at Project Build. Trust us, the kids won't want to leave!


With Marriott Bonvoy™, families can enjoy special rates, free in-room Wifi, mobile check in and more! Save up to 20% on your trip to Charlotte with Marriott Bonvoy.

—Kate Loweth