Racing lives here. Located just northeast of Charlotte, Cabarrus County is home to Concord Mills, the number one shopping destination of the Carolinas, along with Charlotte Motor Speedway (and about 90 percent of NASCAR teams), Great Wolf Lodge, several historic sites and the towns of Concord, Kannapolis and Harrisburg. www.visitcabarrus.com. Concord. Map 1 F2
Travelers looking to escape the city can check out this country west of Charlotte. Not too far a drive affords natural and historical wonders, from scenic Crowders Mountain to picturesque downtown Belmont. www.visitgaston.org. 704.825.4044.
Just north of Charlotte sits Lake Norman, the largest manmade lake in the Carolinas, which was created in 1963 by Duke Energy. With more than 500 miles of shoreline, it’s a great way to escape the city for boating, fishing and swimming. Plus, nestled on its banks are the charming sister towns of Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville, which offer plenty of restaurants, shopping and history. www.visitlakenorman.org. 759 State Park Road, 704.987.3300.