Our permanent house when we aren’t on the road is in beautiful Mooresville, North Carolina, overlooking the calm waters of Lake Norman. While we love the tranquility of our lakeside home between road trips, sometimes we crave the excitement of the city. This past weekend, we drove to Charlotte for a little getaway. Over the years, Charlotte has changed a lot. Today, this traditional Southern town is a hotbed of commerce and activity, with lots of fun things to do. If you are planning a weekend in the Queen City, here are some things we recommend doing:

Outdoor Activities Galore

Thanks to its great weather almost all year round, Charlotte is a great weekend destination to get outside and enjoy nature. There are numerous opportunities to take a hike, catch some sporting events, and even go to a theme park with the kids. If you’re into roller coasters, Carowinds will not disappoint. We have fond memories of taking our own kids here when they were little (and can’t wait to go back with grandkids!) Open daily from May until Labor Day, this is a destination that you must put on your agenda.

Carowinds is great for some thrilling, summer-time entertainment.

Carowinds is great for some thrilling, summer-time entertainment.

In the northwest corner of the city lies the Latter Plantation Nature Preserve. This is a place where you can take a nice, quiet stroll through the woods. You can imagine what life must have been like before modernity hit society head on. We love bringing the dogs here for an afternoon of exploring. There is also a nice lake here to have a picnic, and the more adventurous can saddle up on a horse and go for a trail ride. The adjoining Latta Plantation Equestrian Center provides guided rides for 45 minutes, and there are also pony rides ready to be offered to the kids in the party.

While there is not a major-league baseball team in Charlotte, there is an AAA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, the Charlotte Knights, that plays just 15 minutes away from city center. While the season hasn’t yet started, come April, this makes for a great afternoon out in the sun enjoying America’s favorite pastime. There are numerous other sporting opportunities available throughout the city, such as golf and tennis, making for an enjoyable weekend in the great outdoors.

Southern Shopping Destination

Because of its special role in the South, Charlotte has some unique shopping destinations that are my go-to when I need new clothes or things for the RV. Many of the shops are located downtown in a series of row houses that have been well preserved. Cottage Chic, for example, is a great place to shop for unique household items. There is also Phillips Place, which boasts several higher-end retailers and shops. While there, you can also enjoy a great meal at one of the many restaurants dotting the area.

Dance the Night Away

Even if dancing is not your thing, there are plenty of places around Charlotte to enjoy a night out on the town. If the kids are with you, head to 300 East. This is where you will find some of the best burgers anywhere in the country. Sometimes, when we’re feeling adventurous, we’ll try one of their special cocktails, called the Matilda Wong, which are so potent they only allow you to have two!

If it's baseball season, be sure to catch a Charlotte Knights game at BB&T stadium.

If it’s baseball season, be sure to catch a Charlotte Knights game at BB&T stadium.

At night, there are several great restaurants and bars to keep you entertained all evening. While our pub crawling days are over, we do like grabbing brews at Sycamore Brewing. This s a great way to sample the variety of nightlife available in this Southern city, get your fill of great food, and enjoy drinks with your companions at the same time.

Enjoy Charlotte. It is a great place to spend the weekend and make memories that will last a lifetime.