Where to Swim, Paddle and Float in Charlotte This Summer
Cool off at these 15 places to splish-splash the summer away.
Photo courtesy of Ramsey Creek Park at Lake Norman
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There’s no denying it, summers are brutally hot in Charlotte — so hot that we often find our kids hiding inside watching TV or playing video games to avoid the blazing heat. When the heat gets to be too much, but burning off kids’ energy is imperative, Charlotte has plenty of places to swim and get wet – from beaches to spraygrounds and waterparks – to help everybody stay cool.
Natural Watering Holes
The Quarry at Carrigan Farms
1213 Oak Ridge Farm Hwy., Mooresville
Imagine swinging Tarzan style from a rope swing into a 25-foot deep quarry. The dream can be a reality at the Quarry at Carrigan Farms. The quarry was converted into a natural swimming pool when a natural spring was discovered beneath the rock.
Because the quarry is 25-feet deep throughout, ages 11 and younger must wear a life jacket and all other swimmers must either pass an on-site swim test or wear a life jacket.
Hours: Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with select weekend days offered each month. Check the Carrigan Farms website to confirm dates.
Cost: $15 per person.
Ramsey Creek Park at Lake Norman
18441 Nantz Road, Cornelius
Bring your beach chair, sand buckets and picnic lunch for a day playing in the sand and splashing in the waters of Lake Norman. Not only does Ramsey Creek Park offer half an acre of sandy shoreline, there also is a playground, nature trails, fishing pier and volleyball court. Avoid paying the entrance fee by catching a shuttle from the Cornelius CATS’ Park and Ride site at 20300 Sefton Park Road, Cornelius. Shuttle riders are admitted free.
Hours: Open daily through Labor Day, 10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Cost: $5 per vehicle for Mecklenburg County residents, $8 per vehicle for non-county residents on weekdays; $10 for Mecklenburg County residents and $15 for non-county residents on weekends.
My Aloha Paddle Sports
17505 W. Catawba Ave., Cornelius
My Aloha Paddle Sports helps get your family on the water with kayak and stand-up paddle-board rentals. For those looking to get wet, there’s always the fun chance of falling in. Children ages 10 and under can ride on the stand-up paddle board or kayak with a parent. Youths ages 10 to 18 are free to float on their own as long as a parent is with them on an accompanying rental. A free lesson is provided for anyone renting a stand-up paddle board or kayak for rentals of 90 minutes or more.
Hours: Open year-round Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; and Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: Rental rates start at $15 per hour for kayaks and $20 per hour for stand-up paddle boards.
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., Charlotte
Whether you tame the whitewater rapids on a raft or paddle on the tranquil flatwater of the Catawba River in a kayak, the water options at the U.S. National Whitewater Center are abundant. When the kids need a break from the water, check out the zip lines, trails and ropes course. Most activities are for ages 8 and older.
Hours: Trails are open daily from dawn to dusk year-round. Times for water activities vary depending on the weather. Check the website for the most up-to-date information.
Cost: Day passes cost $49 for ages 9 and under, and $59 for ages 10 and older. Individual activity passes also are available.