Adventure Activities in Charlotte - Try if You Dare
Hot Air Balloon Ride
For a breathtaking encounter with nature, you'll have to be more than just a little bit daring. Balloons Over Charlotte gives you a chance to conquer your fears with hot air balloon rides led by FAA-rated pilots. Sailing through the sky over Lake Norman stimulates adrenaline, pleasure and certainly anxiety in acrophobics. Flights occur in the vicinity of the lake only and patrons are transported back to their vehicles after landing. Like many fun activities in Charlotte, there is a price to pay. Sunrise and sunset flights are available.
Balloons Over Charlotte, 19357 H.M. Junker Dr, Cornelius, NC; 704-896-5241; Rides available every day, weather permitting; $165-$199
Epicureans find several culinary dares at one of the city's beloved eateries, Eddie's Place Restaurant & Bar. This local favorite has two locations in Charlotte, making adventures possible whether you're downtown or you're exploring the outskirts of the city.
Eddie's claim to fame is livermush. Yes, livermush. This dish is one of the Holy Grails of Carolina cooking and is made of pig ears, heart, head, bones, liver, spices and cornmeal – basically everything but the "oink." It's usually fried and eaten with breakfast. Lucky for you, breakfast at Eddie's is available all day. So if you need to schedule your meal around other fun activities, this Charlotte specialty will be waiting on you.
The description may not be appealing, but Eddie's livermush is actually quite tasty. Try eating it with grits – another adventurous food for those not raised in the South. If you're eating at Eddie's for lunch, a portion of deep fried frog's legs is a must, as well.
Eddie's Place Restaurant & Bar, 12239 Toringdon Way, Charlotte, NC 28277; 704-542-0000; Kitchen Mon-Sun 8AM-10PM, Bar Mon-Sun 8AM-until
617 S Sharon Amity Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211; 704-442-0147; Kitchen Mon-Sun 8AM-10PM, Bar Mon-Sun 8AM-until
If you're seeking an adventure activity in Charlotte any time from April through November, plan to visit Circle K Rodeo. Located in Rockwell, just outside of the Charlotte metro area, this celebrated local attraction offers spectators the chance to get in on the action. Patrons have an opportunity to line-dance and even chase small livestock animals around the ring. And for those who have always wanted to ride a bull, the practice pen opens Thursday nights at 7:30PM.
Circle K Rodeo, 7860 Gold Hill Rd, Rockwell, NC 28138; 704-305-0298; Admission $6, Children 6 and under free, Bull rides start at 8PM
If you've never experienced deep-fried pickles, add this to your to do list of fun activities. For Charlotte visitors who just can't manage livermush or frog legs, this is a safer alternative. Penguin Drive-In is famous for making this southern delicacy; they have truly mastered the art of optimum slice thickness and time in the fryer. Pickle crunch is not sacrificed, coating is not heavy and the result is stratospherically yummy paired with ranch dressing. If you're watching your sodium intake, you may want to opt out of this adventure activity. But if Charlotte visits – and deep-fried pickles – aren't on your agenda very often, dive right in!
The Penguin, 1921 Commonwealth Ave, Charlotte, NC 28205; 704-375-6959; Mon-Sat 11AM-2AM, Sun 12PM-2AM
SpeedTech Auto Racing Schools
The last on my list of Charlotte adventures is, of course, the best. Just outside of Charlotte is a mecca for NASCAR fans: Lowe's Motor Speedway. Thrill-seekers looking to ride in, or even learn to drive, racecars can contact SpeedTech Auto Racing Schools to arrange for a turn around this famous track. The most expensive packages can reach thousands of dollars. However, the more modest price range of $169-$369 buys the experience of 3 laps and 6 laps, respectively. Safety is tantamount at SpeedTech Auto Racing Schools, and all laps are made with an instructor. For $169, you only ride along with a professional. For $369, driving instruction is included.
SpeedTech Auto Racing Schools, 4333 Motorsports Dr, Concord, NC 28927; 877-807-7333, 704-794-9642; Day and night programs are available; $169-$369
- Overview: Charlotte Travel Guide
- Introducing Charlotte: Tips, Recommendations & Articles [Lonely Planet]
- Plan a Family Trip to the Outer Banks [National Geographic]