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12 Exciting Things to Do in Gastonia and Gaston County

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on February 15, 2024.

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Home to 13 distinctively unique municipalities, Gaston County is a huge treasure trove of fun! From the beautiful Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden to the delicious Southern food you’ll find throughout, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Gastonia and its surroundings in Gaston County.

Whether you’re taking a day trip from Charlotte (or even Greensboro) or looking to spend a weekend somewhere new in North Carolina, we think you’ll really enjoy all that Gaston County has to offer!

Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in the Gaston County area and are wondering, “What are the best things to do near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!

Read More: Places to Visit in Central North Carolina

Things to Do in Gastonia and Gaston County

African-American Museum of History & Culture

The first thing on our list of what to do in Gastonia NC, as well as Gaston County, is a visit to the African-American Museum of History & Culture at Loray Mill. This is one of the newer places to learn about Black history in North Carolina.

Since opening in February 2019, this museum has honored African Americans who have contributed to the Gaston County community. They include various business leaders, artists, and other change-makers.

Read More: Fun Museums in Greensboro (Kid-Friendly, Contemporary Art, and More!)

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden 

The flowers bloom year-round at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden! With 380 acres of beautiful flowers and plants, this garden is one of the best things to do in Gaston County.

No matter how long you’re visiting, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a must-see! Stroll through the dreamy all-season garden and orchid conservatory, or let loose in the children’s garden—whatever you decide to do, there is a full day of fun waiting here.

Read More: Botanical Gardens in North Carolina

Dallas Lavender Lane Farm 

5,000 lavender plants dot the Dallas Lavender Lane Farm in Gaston County. Spreading out over six acres, the sweet smells are captivating, and the sights are even better. Touring this farm is a wonderful activity for the whole family.

Say hello to the potbelly pigs, pygmy goats, and miniature ponies that reside here, or come by for one of their many festivals, yoga classes, or group tours. And don’t forget to take some of their handmade lavender products and a pink lemonade lavender slushie!

Read More: Lavender Farms in North Carolina

Lineberger’s Farm

Located down the road from Dallas Lavender Lane Farm is Lineberger’s Farm. A family farm that has run for over 90 years, Lineberger’s has an abundance of strawberries, blackberries, and muscadine grapes ready for you to pick!

Their annual pumpkin patch is one of the most celebrated things to do in Gaston County and makes for a wonderful day in the country.  

The Schiele Museum of Natural History

a mother an daughter exploring the Schiele Museum of Natural History

Intriguing minds of all ages since 1961, The Schiele Museum of Natural History was a passion project well before the doors opened. Bud Schiele knew when he was young that he would one day open a space to display his nature collection.

At 67 years old, Bud’s dream became a reality when the Gaston County Museum of Natural History opened. 

a few exhibits of North Carolina animals and other nature

Today, the museum features exhibits about North America and North Carolina’s natural wildlife, an outdoor wildlife garden, and an interactive farm exhibit. Walk the surrounding trails and explore Catawba Village, a display detailing the rich history of the region.

In addition, the museum has the second-largest collection of Catawba pottery in the nation! Inquiring scientists of all ages are guaranteed to learn something new at this truly wondrous museum!

Read More: 20+ Awesome Museums in Charlotte and Nearby!

Crowders Mountain State Park

Crowders Mountain State Park is hands down one of the best things to do in Gastonia and Gaston County.

Visiting Crowders Mountain State Park is one of the most popular things to do in Gastonia. It’s home to moderate and challenging hiking trails leading to stunning views.

Choose one of the eleven trails to hike, including the Pinnacle Trail, a strenuous 4-mile round trip hike to the highest point in Gaston County. Be sure to pack out what you pack in and leave no trace at this state park

Read More: The Best Hiking Trails in North Carolina

Lineberger Park

Looking for more outdoor recreation in Gaston County? Lineberger Park in Gastonia has been a staple of family fun since the 1920s.

With a giant splash pad, miniature train ride, outdoor pool with a lazy river, and plenty of walking trails, Lineberger Park has it all and is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors.

US National Whitewater Center

The U.S. National Whitewater Center and the exhibits located here.

While technically in Mecklenburg County, the US National Whitewater Center shares some of its water with Gaston County. Despite this, though, this is one of the best outdoor activities for the whole family in our opinion.

With whitewater rafting, biking, zip lines, live music, rock climbing, and more, there is enough fun for the whole family to enjoy.

Stay in Belmont or Gastonia, and ensure the US National Whitewater Center is on your itinerary!

Christmas Town USA

a close up of a Christmas three with Christmas lights on it

Since 1956, McAdenville has warmed the hearts of thousands during the Christmas season with its beautiful lights. Every night from the first day of December to Christmas, the 600-resident town of McAdenville sparkles and transforms into Christmas Town USA.

Houses glimmer and shine with wonderful Christmas lights displays. The area welcomes more than 600,000 visitors to drive through their streets.

Be sure to check out this beautiful scene if you visit in December. Visiting Christmas Town USA is easily one of the best Gastonia NC things to do surroundings throughout the year!

Read More: Christmas in North Carolina (the Best Holiday Events)

Drink Beer in Gaston County

Gaston County features several North Carolina breweries, each one with its own unique take on brewing.

From the award-winning Cavendish Brewing to the small-town vibe at Ole Dallas Brewing, there are plenty of hops to go around in Gaston County. Primal Brewery is also popular in Belmont, with live music and plenty of space to stretch out! 

If you can’t decide what you’re looking for, then a stop by The Summit Beer Shop in Mount Holly will be your best bet! With a great selection of canned beer and taps, this is the perfect place to stop by and try something new. 

Muddy River Distillery 

Located along the banks of the Catawba River, Muddy River Distillery is the oldest legal rum distillery in North Carolina. Their entire production, from fermenting, distilling, aging, and bottling, happens in-house.

Take a tour to learn more about this process and its history. Have a sip here and enjoy the taste of Gaston County.

Read More: Outer Banks Distilling

Eat Southern Food in Gaston County

southern fried chicken and collard greens in NC

There are plenty of delicious restaurants in Gaston County’s 13 municipalities!

During our visit to Gaston County, we were hosted by the kind folks at Nellie’s Southern Kitchen in Belmont, and we most definitely recommend it! Owned by the Jonas family (that’s right… the Jonas Brothers!), the food is unmatched.

Locally sourced, the restaurant is an ode to Kevin Jonas’s grandmother, Nellie, who lived in Belmont until she passed. The restaurant’s focal point is a giant painting of Nellie, remembering her as an incredible cook focusing on simplicity and freshness. 

Today, the Jonas family has made her memory live on for the people of Gaston County through delicious and filling Southern fare. Make sure to come hungry because you will leave absolutely stuffed. Order a bucket of biscuits and enjoy all that the best restaurant in Gaston County has to offer!

Oh, and make sure to check out all of the Jonas Brothers memorabilia on your way to the bathroom!

Ready to Explore these Things to Do in Gastonia and Gaston County?

Gaston County is still growing, with plans to expand trails and outdoor recreation in the works. We can’t wait to see all that come to fruition, but in the meantime, we still think there are plenty of fun things to do in Gastonia NC and elsewhere in Gaston County.

Fill your travel itinerary with these activities, and let us know just how much fun you had!

If you’ve been to this part of the state, we’d love to know about your favorite things to do in Gastonia and nearby. For anyone who hasn’t visited yet, we’d also be interested in knowing what you plan to do first!

More Things to Do in Gastonia’s Surroundings

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