15 of the most gorgeous fall views within driving distance of Charlotte

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As a Charlotte native, I may be biased — but there is something about the crisp air and stunning color variation that takes place in North Carolina that is simply unbeatable.

There are so many places around Charlotte and the surrounding areas to take in some of this autumnal beauty. From tree-lined parks to mountaintop views, here are 15 of our favorites places to visit around Charlotte for the best fall views:

Marshall Park

800 E. 3rd St.

Distance from Uptown: 0 minutes — it’s located Uptown

Nestled in Second Ward between N. Davidson and S. McDowell streets, you’re likely to recognize Marshall Park by the notable fountain in its center and the beautiful skyline views. Walk along the waterfront as you marvel at the color-changing trees juxtaposed by city views. Go for a romantic walk here before dinner Uptown.

Freedom Park

1900 East Blvd

 

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#autumn#fall#trees#canonphotography#beginnerphotographer#canont7i

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Distance from Uptown: 10 minutes

Freedom Park offers beautiful fall views without the hour-long drive to the mountains. The various colored trees accompanied by the park’s signature stone bridge paint the perfect fall landscape photo-op. Grab a good book and a cozy blanket and enjoy a relaxing day by the lake to make for the perfect fall afternoon.

Crowders Mountain

522 Park Office Ln, Kings Mountain, NC 28086


Distance from Uptown: 40 minutes 

Located in Crowders Mountain State Park — a 5,126-acre state park located just about 25 miles outside of Charlotte — Crowder’s Mountain (and companion peak, the Pinnacle) offer various trails ranging from easy to strenuous. A stunning countryside view and (on a clear day) the Charlotte city skyline in the distance await hikers, along with a multitude of beautiful colors in the fall. The park’s lake trail also offers a scenic wooded lake — a perfect place for a peaceful stroll with the pup to enjoy the crisp fall air.

Anne Springs Close Greenway

104 Adventure Rd Fort Mill, SC 29715

Distance from Uptown: 30 minutes

Anne Springs Close Greenway is a 2,100 acre (twice the size of Central Park, according to their website) natural preserve located in Fort Mill. The greenway offers several recreational activities that allow visitors to get close to nature, such as hiking and running trails, water activities, horse back riding, outdoor fitness and mountain biking. With beautiful lakes and forests, Anne Springs is a stunning spot to spend a fall day.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

 

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Name a better drive in the Fall… I’ll wait…

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Distance from Uptown: 2 hours (from Charlotte to Boone on the Parkway)

Winding for 469 miles from North Carolina to Virginia through the Blue Ridge Mountains, there are a variety of ways you could take in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway. You could simply take a drive and enjoy the view from your car. You could hike a specific part of the Parkway like Grandfather Mountain or Linville Falls (also mentioned on this list). You could camp along the stretch of gorgeous foliage. The choice is yours.

[Related: Here are some more must-see stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway.]

Lake Norman State Park

759 State Park Rd, Troutman

 Distance from Uptown: 43 minutes

Enjoy the gorgeous colors of fall reflected on the largest man-made lake in North Carolina. Lake Norman State Park is popular for mountain biking, hiking and swimming. The park hosts group hikes regularly, as well. Along these hikes, attendees can take in beautiful fall colors and identify various trees along the way.

Little Sugar Creek Greenway

1133 Metropolitan Ave

Distance from Uptown: 5 minutes

Little Sugar Creek Greenway is a linear park and stream restoration project. When completed, it is said that it will be more than 19 miles long, from Toby Creek Greenway on North Tryon Street to Cordelia Park north of Uptown — and will continue all the way to the South Carolina state line. The trail currently connects many highlights of the city, such as the Charlotte Nature Museum, baseball fields and playgrounds, and it is a great spot for jogs, walks and bike rides with a skyline view.

McDowell Nature Center and Preserve

15222 York Rd

 Distance from Uptown: 30 minutes

The oldest preserve in Mecklenburg county, McDowell Nature Center and Preserve has over seven miles of trails that include scenic views of Lake Wylie, forests, streams and a piedmont prairie restoration area. If you are looking to camp, the preserve offers 56 reservable campsites. Enjoy fall during the day and at night during a campfire meal accompanied by stargazing into the autumn night sky.

Grandfather Mountain

9872 Highway 105 South, Banner Elk, NC 28604

 

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Today’s photo, taken from nearby #BlowingRock, marks the last in Grandfather Mountain’s 2018 Fall Color Gallery. According to Dr. Howie Neufeld, professor of biology at Appalachian State University and WNC’s esteemed “Fall Color Guy,” peak color may persist this week in the High Country but is expected to have passed by this coming weekend. After that, he noted, colors will all be below 3,000 feet in elevation, meaning they could still be visible from some of the area’s higher locales, including Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway. For more Grandfather Mountain #fallcolor photos, or to plan a trip, visit www.grandfather.com. #autumn🍁 #fallcolors #fallcolors🍁🍂 Photo by Skip Sickler | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

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Distance from Uptown: 2 hours and 7 minutes 

The highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Grandfather Mountain is said to be a must-visit by nature lovers and avid hikers. Just the drive itself along the Blue Ridge Parkway will satisfy your fall foliage needs. Conquer that fear of heights with a walk down the state park’s mile-high swing bridge that offers a 360 view from the mountain, or enjoy one of the 11 hiking trails. 

Linville Falls

Linville Falls, Jonas Ridge, NC 28657

Distance from Uptown: 2 hours and 4 minutes 

While you are on the Blue Ridge Parkway, make a stop at one of the state’s most photographed waterfalls, Linville Falls. A three-tiered waterfall accessed by two main hiking trails offers peaceful sounds of rushing water with a stunning reflection of gold, red and orange across the water in the fall.

The Biltmore Estate

1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803

Distance from Uptown: 2 hours and 4 minutes 

The Biltmore is beautiful in it of itself — but surrounded by the various colors of fall, the game is changed even more. With some of the oldest trees in the region and a plethora of  colorful chrysanthemums and Salvias, a stroll around the estate’s entry, walled garden and winery will take your breath away. During the fall, the estate offers outdoor activities and special harvest-themed dining and winery offerings.

Downtown Asheville

Distance from Uptown: 2 hours and 7 minutes 

The fun and unique city of Asheville offers fall beauty just about everywhere you step. Downtown offers an urban trail, chic boutiques, all kinds of breweries, trolley tours, art galleries and more. Venture outside the city and take a drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway for and unforgettable road trip with some of the Carolinas’ most breathtaking views.

[Related: 32 of the best things to eat, drink and do on a weekend trip to Asheville]

Table Rock State Park

158 E Ellison Ln, Pickens, SC 29671

 

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Fall at my lodge 🍁🧣🍂 . Ok ok, it’s not technically mine. Let me dream ✨

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Distance from Uptown: 2 hours and 10 minutes

Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway in South Carolina, Table Rock State Park is a 3,000-acre state park that includes a towering mountain backdrop, cabins, a campground and two lakes. The park offers hiking trails past streams, mountains, and waterfalls along the way to the top of the mountains.

Windy Hill Orchard

1860 Black Highway. York, SC 29745

 

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More Stayman Winesap coming in from the orchard! #farmy #applesseason #nccider #sccider #truecider

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Distance from Uptown: 56 minutes

Windy Hill is an apple orchard and hard cider producer located in York, South Carolina. From hayrides to picking your own apples to tastings at the cider bar, Windy Hill is bound to get you in the fall spirit.

Pro tip: Try one of their fried fresh apple cider donuts.

Wise Acres Organic Farm

4701 Hartis Rd Indian Trail, NC 28079

 

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Gorgeous morning for coffee, pizza and fresh air on the farm.

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Distance from Uptown: 36 minutes

Wise Acres Organic Farms is a “you-pick” strawberry farm and pumpkin patch in Indian Trail. In the fall they offer pick-your-own pumpkins, a free corn maze, wagon rides, apple cider slushies and their very own Wise Pie Wood Fired Oven pizza.

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