One visit is all it takes to fall in love with Gastonia’s local charm and natural beauty. Ideally located 30 minutes west of the Charlotte metropolitan area, Gastonia’s combination of serene landscapes, top restaurants and shops, and endless entertainment options ensure there’s never a dull moment for locals. But don’t just take our word for it — experience Gastonia yourself. We’ve rounded up our favorite fun things to do in Gastonia, NC that’ll make you want to call this charming suburb home.
Lotus Bar and Eatery
Lotus Bar and Eatery specialize in modern American comfort food, drawing inspiration from homegrown country classics and southern techniques. They offer an incredible variety of locally-sourced products and imported fresh ingredients, searching far and wide for distinct flavors including locally-grown produce, poultry from Georgia’s Springer Mountain Farms and Chilean sea bass to name a few.
Ray’s Country Smokehouse-Grill
If you’re in the mood for some classic barbecue flavors, Ray’s Country Smokehouse-Grill has you covered. From brisket, pulled pork and butter beans, to coleslaw, mashed potatoes and more, your craving for all things barbecue will be satisfied.
The Carolina Speedway
Built in 1961 by the Harrison family and legendary race promoter, Humpy Wheeler, the Speedway is a 4/10 dirt mile oval that hosts several annual events including the Shrine 100, the King of the Carolinas, the Skylar Trull Memorial and many other events throughout the season.
Bank of America Stadium
Home to the Carolina Panthers, the Bank of America Stadium is the Carolinas’ premier destination for sports and entertainment. Locals and tourists from far and wide travel to the stadium, one of the region’s most unique landmarks, for fun at any time of year.
Catawba Creek Golf Course
Formerly known as the Gastonia Municipal Golf Course, the Catawba Creek Golf Course features a par 70, 18-hole course, in addition to a driving range, practice putting green, clubhouse with a pro shop, and snack bar to fuel the fun.
The Schiele Museum of Natural History
Bringing together professional educators and curators to provide a quality venue for learning, the Schiele Museum of Natural History is a must-see. Offering a wide range of experiences and educational opportunities for the community, you’re sure to make some memories at this quaint museum in the heart of Gaston County.
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Reconnect with nature at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. As a garden for all seasons, the breathtaking visitor pavilion welcomes visitors to 30 acres of spectacular sights including a children’s garden, a conservatory dedicated to tropical plants and orchids, annual and perennial displays, sparkling fountains, walking trails and the Dry Piedmont Prairie.
Crowders Mountain State Park
Located in Gaston County, 32 miles west of Charlotte, Crowders Mountain State Park boasts two mountain peaks that offer magnificent views of Piedmont. From trails that offer challenging hikes to towering cliffs where you can admire a wide variety of resident birds, the park is a local favorite for countless reasons.
Featuring a strong lineup of national retailers including Walmart, Ross Dress for Less, Michaels, Dollar Tree, Pep Boys, Five Below and Best Buy, Franklin Square is a quintessential plaza to buy all your basics in one convenient location.
Notable for Belk, Dillard’s, Curt’s Premium Outlet and Teddy’s Emporium Outlet, the Eastridge Mall includes many nationally-recognized, quality brands including American Eagle, New York & Co., Bath & Body Works, LensCrafters, Footlocker and more. The mall is also filled with local businesses and a variety of retail and entertainment experiences for the whole family to enjoy.
Akers Shopping Center
The Akers Shopping Center is situated at the prime location of U.S. 74 and South New Hope Road. The shopping center consists of three small buildings with freestanding restaurants and additional big box retailers on Franklin Boulevard — a rapidly growing neighborhood.
Images courtesy of Eventective (Lotus Bar and Eatery); Go Gaston NC (Webb’s Custom Kitchen); Charlotte’s Got a Lot (Ray’s Country Smokehouse-Grill; The Schiele Museum of Natural History; Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden); Racing America (The Carolina Speedway); Carolina Panthers (Bank of America Stadium); CN Media (Crowders Mountain State Park); Pinterest (Eastridge Mall); Gaston Gazette (Akers Center); American Asset Corporation (Franklin Square).