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The Most Beautiful Waterfalls Near Charlotte, NC

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Looking for some incredible waterfalls near Charlotte, NC? We can help! We’ve rounded up some of the very best waterfalls to hike to and bask in the beauty of near the Queen City. 

The city of Charlotte sits only at 751 feet above sea level, which isn’t terribly high. Why does this matter? Because to see amazing waterfalls, you need the water to fall from heights, which means you need to get higher into more mountainous territories. 

waterfalls near Charlotte

The closest waterfalls to Charlotte are at the beautiful South Mountains State Park, a little over an hour and 15 minutes away but we’ll tell you about more waterfalls within two-and-a-half hours from Charlotte and give you information about more than just one in those areas because, really, you will probably want to see more than just one waterfall when you’re driving that distance.

Best Practices Around Waterfalls 

Please remember to practice Leave No Trace principles and keep our lands and waterfalls as pristine – or better than – as you found them, which involves staying on the trail, packing out what you pack in, and not littering. Obey all leash laws and remember to never stand on top of a waterfall, no matter how awesome that Instagram photo will be. Many people have died doing the same thing. 

Lastly, be sure to assess the hiking abilities of all in your party before heading out and choose trails according to those abilities so everyone has fun. Happy hiking! 

Waterfalls Near Charlotte, NC

South Mountains State Park

Waterfall: High Shoals Falls
Hike: Yes; 2.5 mile moderate loop
Distance from Charlotte: 1.25 hours

3001 S Mountain Park, Connelly Springs, NC 

High Shoals Falls
High Shoals Falls

Green River Gamelands

Waterfalls: Lower Big Hungry Falls, Milton Bradley Falls, Green River Narrows, Little Bradley Falls
Hikes: Some. Lower Big Hungry Falls is roadside. There is a short, dirt trail next to the bridge to walk down. Lots of people swim here over the summer. Milton Bradley Falls is a 5-mile roundtrip easy hike. And the Green River Narrows is a 3-mile out-and-back hike that is easy except for the very steep part heading down to the river. It involves ropes that aren’t good for dogs and smaller kids. As for Little Bradley Falls, the hike is about 1.8 miles roundtrip. This is an easy hike except for the big water crossing. You’ll probably get wet. The trailhead is across from the Big Bradley Falls trailhead. 
Distance from Charlotte: 1.45 hours 

Lower Big Hungry: 2193 Co Road 1802, Flat Rock, NC
Milton Bradley Falls: 3772 Green River Cove Road, Saluda, NC 
Green River Narrows: Pulliam Creek Trailhead, 4134 Big Hungry Road, Flat Rock, NC 
Little Bradley Falls:  5336 Holbert Cove Road, Saluda, NC

Little Bradley Falls
Little Bradley Falls

Catawba Falls [currently closed]

Waterfall: Catawba Falls
Hike: Yes, an easy/moderate four mile out-and-back trail. This trail is currently closed as the forest service is building an observation platform. It is expected to open back up in the Spring of 2024.
Distance from Charlotte: 1.5 hours

3074 Catawba River Rd, Old Fort, NC

Chimney Rock State Park 

Waterfall: Hickory Nut Falls
Hike: Yes, an easy two mile trail leads to this beautiful waterfall inside Chimney Rock State Park. Take the lower route. The upper route only leads to the top of the waterfall, is a much longer hike, and you cannot see the waterfall. Please note that there is an entrance fee to Chimney Rock State Park.
Distance from Charlotte: 1.5 hours 

431 Main Street, Chimney Rock, NC

Hickory Nut Falls at Chimney Rock State Park
Hickory Nut Falls at Chimney Rock State Park

Linville Gorge

Waterfall: Linville Falls
Hike: Yes – there are two hikes to see this waterfall. One is parking at the Visitors Center off the Blue Ridge Parkway and hiking the Plunge Basin Trail down to the river for a 2-mile out and back hike. It’s easy on the way down but hard on the way back up. The other is hiking to the high overlooks along the rim of the Gorge for about a total of 1.5 miles. Add on Crabtree Falls or a visit to Linville Caverns for a fun day trip.
Distance from Charlotte: Just over 2 hours

Warrior Lane, Marion, NC

Linville Falls
Linville Falls

Crabtree Falls

Waterfall: Crabtree Falls
Hike: Yes, a moderate 2.5 loop hike. This is an absolutely beautiful hike and waterfall.
Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours and 10 minutes

39000 Blue Ridge Parkway, Marion, NC

Crabtree Falls
Crabtree Falls

DuPont Recreational State Forest 

Waterfalls: Several, including High Falls, Triple Falls, Hooker Falls, Bridal Veil Falls
Hike: Yes, the easiest hike is a quarter mile trail to Hooker Falls in Dupont State Forest, a popular swimming spot. You can see both High Falls and Triple Falls doing a 3-mile hike from the same parking lot as Hooker Falls. When you visit, go early in the morning or on a weekday as this forest is wildly popular. Parking areas are now limited due to overuse. Also, be sure to bring a map as the trail system is vast and trails overlap.
Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Staton Road, Cedar Mountain, NC 

High Falls in DuPont Forest

Pisgah National Forest 

Waterfalls: Several, including Looking Glass, Moore Cove, and Sliding Rock 
Hike: Looking Glass Falls is roadside. You can get to Moore Cove Falls doing an easy 1.7 mile roundtrip hike, and Sliding Rock is not really a hike either, maybe a couple hundred yards from the parking lot. You must pay to park there over the summer as it’s a popular waterfall for sliding down into the cold water. Visit the Pisgah Ranger Station for information on other waterfalls in the area. 
Distance from Charlotte: 2 hours and 10 minutes

1600 Pisgah Hwy, Pisgah Forest, NC 

Looking Glass Falls
Looking Glass Falls

Happy waterfalling!

For more waterfalls, check out Waterfalls of the Southeast which is a long list of great waterfalls to visit with families.
Or, visit our list of Waterfalls near Greenville, SC. It has options in the Upstate and into Western North Carolina including Gorges State Park.

Explore the Reedy Creek Park, Nature Center, & Preserves in Charlotte, NC

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Local mom Bethany Winston reviews the Reedy Creek Park, Nature Center, and Preserves in Charlotte, North Carolina. This free day-trip destination includes a treehouse-themed playground, hiking, and an indoor nature center.

Things to Do at Reedy Creek Park and Nature Center in Charlotte

Recently, my family discovered an amazing nature center and preserve about 6 miles northwest of downtown Charlotte: Reedy Creek Nature Center and Preserve located inside the large Reedy Creek Park. This county-owned park was completely free, including parking. While there might not be an admission fee, don’t make the mistake of thinking that means that this nature center is not worth the drive from Greenville.

Find a place to stay near Reedy Creek. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.

Family-Friendly Things to Do at Reedy Creek Park


Reedy Creek Park has three playgrounds that we discovered. The first playground was on our left almost immediately after entering the park. It’s a large playground with plenty of slides, ramps, and ladders. The play structures were not particularly high and I think even smaller children would enjoy it as long as they are comfortable climbing short ladders.

There was little shade on this playground and it was hot on the day we visited so my kids chose not to play long, but it was a large, interesting playground and I’m sure would have been a completely different experience if we had visited earlier in the day or during a cooler season of the year.

Playground at Reedy Creek Park

Adjacent to the playground, we also found basketball courts and picnic shelters. There was also a rather large dog park on our right before we reached the playground.

Just a little bit farther up the road, we found the parking lot for the Reedy Creek Nature Center. This area of the park was wooded (quite a relief due to the heat).

Outside the Reedy Creek Nature Center, we found a second playground that felt like a hidden magical world tucked away in the forest. The playground included natural-themed play structures such as artificial tree stumps and the main focal structure was a treehouse complete with a bridge.  My kids played for a good hour on this playground and probably would have been content to spend the day on it.

Later in our day, we drove up to the third playground which was beside a lake. This “playground” only had a couple of swings and a volleyball court, but it was an easy walk down to a beautiful lake with a fishing pier. We saw several families picnicking and fishing in this area.

Reedy Creek Nature Center

The Nature Center was small but it was free and even better air-conditioned. Inside the Nature Center, our children were able to look at animals and small science displays. We also found a quiet area for pretend play where our children could dress up as rangers and play in a pretend campsite.

The room had a couple of rocking chairs for adults too. It was very quiet on the day we visited and we had the spot to ourselves. Our kids had a lot of fun and didn’t want to leave even after a long playtime.

Inside of the Reedy Creek Nature Center at Reedy Creek Park

Hiking at Reedy Creek Park

After a long day of fun (we had already spent hours at Discovery Place in downtown Charlotte) our kids were too tired and hot for us to dare attempt sustained hiking, but the map showed several easy hikes on the preserve that we hope to try on another day.

One hike lead to a historic site and was only an hour’s walk. The grounds also had butterfly gardens, bird feeders, streams, vast wooded areas, and lakes. We were able to obtain a free map from the Nature Center so that we could still take a short stroll. The trail system was clearly marked and it was possible to take both short walks along the trails and longer hikes.

Trail system at Reedy Creek Park in Charlotte

Tips for Your Visit

  • If you visit on a hot day, be sure to pack sunscreen and bug spray. While the preserve does have a lot of shade, there are several open spaces with little shade.
  • Plan plenty of time if you want to get the full experience. The preserve alone is over 900 acres of woods. Fortunately, the park does have a decent road system and multiple parking lots, so you can drive to the parts of the park in this article if you are short on time or if your children are tired (like us).
  • Don’t forget your fishing supplies. The park has two fishing lakes. Visitors over 16 must have a fishing license.
  • The Nature Center has a gift shop for those who would like to purchase souvenirs.
  • Bikers will find plenty of bike-friendly areas but are limited to the gravel trails and paved roads.
The nature preserve at Reedy Creek Park in Charlotte

Hummingbird Festival at Reedy Creek Nature Center

Each August, a hummingbird festival is held at the Reedy Creek Nature Center. It includes bird banding, science experiments, bird hikes, art vendors, and storytelling sessions. The events are held throughout the week, and some require pre-registration. The front desk at the Nature Center recommended coming early to see the most hummingbirds.

About the Reedy Creek Nature Center & Preserve

Reedy Creek Park, Nature Center, and Preserve
2900 Rocky River Rd.
Charlotte, NC

Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday, 1-5 pm

Have you ever been to the Reedy Creek Nature Center?

Your guide to cheap day trips near me and inexpensive day trips near me

For more inexpensive day trip ideas see our list of day trips under $25 from Greenville.

Explore Revolutionary War History With a Hike Through the Blackstock Battlefield in Enoree, SC

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Have you checked out Blackstock Battlefield in Enoree, SC? One of the benefits of living in South Carolina is the chance to bring history to life by visiting the hundreds of historical sites across the state. We’ve visited Musgrove Mill State Historic Site many times, as it covers all the bases for my kids: Revolutionary War battlefield to explore, Tyger River trail to hike, and Horseshoe Falls to cool down in. But did you know Musgrove Mill manages a second battlefield?

Located only 7 miles to the north, Blackstock Battlefield preserves the site of the Revolutionary War battle where the infamous British Lt. Col. Tarleton was foiled in his attempt to defeat Patriot Brig. Gen. Sumter in 1780. We recently received a tour of Blackstock Battlefield during the South Carolina 7 Wonders Expedition, and wanted to share with you more on this little-known historic site just 40 minutes from Spartanburg!

Revolutionary War Action

Some months after the Battle at Kings Mountain, Sumter had gathered troops in preparation to attack the British post at Ninety Six. The British summoned Tarleton from his pursuit of the “Swamp Fox” Marion down near the coast to intercept Sumter, and the British Lt. Col. managed to secretly cross the Broad with his feared Dragoons before a defector informed Sumter he was being pursued. Sumter chose to make a stand at Blackstock’s Plantation on the Tyger river as Tarleton raced towards his position with his cavalry and mounted infantry.

Historical Map of Blacksotck Battlefield
Historical Map of Blackstock Battlefiled

When the British caught up with Sumter, they were at a disadvantage; they had gotten ahead of their infantry and artillery in hopes of catching Sumter unawares, and instead were themselves caught in the open under heavy fire from the high ground. After suffering heavy losses and regrouping, Tarleton retreated to join his infantry and artillery – but without half of his men, who had been lost in the battle. Sumter was badly wounded, and was evacuated overnight. Tarleton pursued the Patriots for two more days, and although he claimed a victory for dispersing Sumter’s militia, it was a costly defeat for the British in that they lost numerous officers, horses, and equipment. The Battle of Blackstock’s was a precursor to the action later at Cowpens. 

Blackstock Battlefield view

On Your Visit to Blackstock Battlefield

Directions: From Exit 44 on I-26, go east on SC Hwy 49 about 5.5 miles to the Blackstock’s Historical Marker. Turn left onto Blackstock’s Road, then go about 1.2 miles and turn right onto Monument Road. Continue until the pavement ends, and park in the parking area before the gate. 

For the best vantage point of the battlefield, continue up the gravel road to Monument Hill. Standing with your back to the monument, Blackstock’s Ford of the Tyger River is down the hill to the right. The open meadow was much larger when the Blackstock family lived there, and the British would have come charging up the hill to meet the forces lined up along the top. On the far end of the meadow was where the house and barn were located. 

Take a Hike

The parking area is also the trailhead for the Blackstock Battlefield Passage of the Palmetto Trail. This 1.6-mile loop descends to the Tyger River, and then follows the river for about ½ mile before climbing up to the battlefield. Skirting the edge of the open field, the trail re-enters the woods and returns to the parking area. 

The SC Park Service asks that you remain on signed roads & trails while visiting the battlefield. Going off-trail can be hazardous, especially to children, as there are many deep holes from when the area was logged and the stumps were buried. On our visit, we also saw fire ants, bees, and snakes. Highlights of our hike included seeing an eastern box turtle, taking in the view from Monument Hill, and experiencing another piece of the Revolutionary War puzzle that we have been piecing together during our southeastern travels.

Blackstock Battlefield Monument and fencing

Things to do near Blackstock Battlefield

After hiking the Palmetto Trail Passage, my kiddos were more than happy to make the 15-minute drive to Horseshoe Falls, a small waterfall on a tributary of the Enoree River that is located in Musgrove Mill State Historic Site off Battlefield Trail. Just across the Enoree is the main portion of the State Park, including a Visitor Center and British Camp Trail. A little farther to the east is another State Historic Site, Rose Hill.

Just to the southeast is the Enoree Ranger District of Sumter National Forest. In addition to camping, cycling, OHV, fishing, horseback riding, and hunting, the Enoree is home to the Enoree Passage of the Palmetto Trail, with 36 continuous miles of trail linking Newberry, Laurens, and Union counties.

If you are headed north, towards Spartanburg, on your way home, you will pass near Glenn Springs, a small community with a lot of history, as well as by Croft State Park.

Blackstock Battlefield Passage of the Palmetto Trail
Blackstock Battlefield is open 9 am – 6 pm daily.

Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
Admission to Musgrove Mill is $3 adults; $1.50 SC seniors; $1 children age 6-15; age 5 & younger free.
Musgrove Mill is open 9 am to 6 pm daily.

Adventure is Waiting at Congaree National Park

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Are you planning a trip to Congaree National Park in Hopkins, SC? Whether you want to kayak, canoe or hike through the old-growth forest, Congaree National Park is a fabulous adventure. With unique hiking trails for all skill levels, plus so many natural features and animals to observe, there’s something for everyone at Congaree National Park.

This article includes:
Kayak or Canoe Congaree National Park
Congaree National Park Visitors Center
Congaree’s Old-Growth Forest
The Boardwalk Loop Trail at Congaree National Park
Things to Know Before You Go to Congaree National Park
Places to Stay Near Congaree National Park