Best Places to Enjoy Spring in Charlotte

If warm days and pops of early spring flowers are calling you outside, discover gardens and greenways throughout the Charlotte area.

Daffodils and Tulip Poplars are blooming across the Queen City, and families are heading outdoors to take advantage of warmer temperatures. From gardens to parks by the lake, here are some Instagram-worthy locations perfect for taking in the sights and scents of spring in the Charlotte area.

1. Wing Haven

Wing Haven is two public gardens tucked in the middle of Myers Park. The garden is a tranquil in-town reprieve with fountains and a variety of well-marked plants and trees, plus a children's garden. The children's garden is made for hands-on play with a rain barrel stationed beside small watering cans that children can use to water the raised vegetable gardens and flowers, plus opportunities to dig for worms, enjoy the butterfly garden and bird watch. Birding books are available while you are there to help identify birds. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. or for special event programs. Admission is $10, free for children age 10 and younger. Wing Haven, 704-331-0664, 248 Ridgewood Ave., Charlotte. 


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2. UNCC Botanical Garden

Tucked away in a ravine at the edge of campus, the UNC Charlotte Botanical Garden is one of Charlotte's most amazing "secrets." Open seven days a week during daylight hours and free to the public, the trails are a perfect chance to get away from it all — without leaving town. Two outdoor gardens have seasonal brochures with maps located at the entrances. The greenhouse also offers surprises — including a new, life-size dinosaur. Restrooms and a water fountain are located in the greenhouse building. UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens, 9090 Craver Road, Charlotte.


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3. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Lost Hollow is the garden sanctuary created just for children at this beautiful botanical garden located in Belmont. Complete with a spinning aviary and sunken pond, plus a small amphitheatre for special performances, it's a magical setting for all ages. Perennial plants, annual flowers, fountains and garden sculptures, plus the orchid conservatory make it a great place to visit any season. Admission is $6.95-$12.95, free for children under age 2. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden704-825-4490, 6500 S. New Hope Road, Belmont.


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4. Latta Nature Preserve

Latta Plantation Nature Preserve has more than 16 miles of trails, many that follow alongside Mountain Island Lake, that offer easy hiking and places to stop and skip a rock from the lake's sandy beaches. Self-interpreted trail guides are available at the nature center. The nature center at the preserve is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. FREE. Latta Nature Preserve, 980-314-1129. 6211 Sample Road, Huntersville.


5. Jetton Park

Enjoy walking, jogging, scooting or biking along the paved 1.5 mile loop through this 104-acre park that is situated on Lake Norman. A sandy beach is great for a picnic or letting or for building sandcastles. There also are tennis courts and a playground. Jetton Park, 19000 Jetton Road, Cornelius.


6. Freedom Park

Freedom Park makes for a lovely place to walk, bike, scoot or jog, and you'll likely see a few Mallard ducks and possibly ducklings by the 7-acre pond. Spread a blanket on the grassy knolls, and let the kids run free up and down the hills. Plus there is a great playground, beach volleyball courts, swings for all ages, and the Play 60 KidZone. It also connects to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway. From the park, take a quick bike ride or walk along the creek to Metropolitan for lunch. Open all the time and it's free! Freedom Park, 1900 East Boulevard, Charlotte.


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7. Colonel Francis Beatty Park

A great playground surrounded by paved paths for scooting and biking. The paths meander through the park and alongside a small lake where you can also fish, kayak or canoe. There are also mountain biking trails and hiking trails. FREE. Colonel Francis Beatty Park, 4330 Weddington Road.

8. Anne Springs Close Greenway

Horses, hiking and biking … it's all here, plus a 25-foot suspension bridge, two 200-year-old log cabins, the historic Springfield House and a replica grist mill modeled after the historic Garrison-Webb Grist Mill and an orchard of blossoming peach trees. Open Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 5:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person (non-members), free for ages 4 and younger. Anne Springs Close Greenway, 250 Dairy Barn Lane, Fort Mill, S.C.