A hub of activity in North Carolina, Charlotte is a bustling city with no shortage of family-friendly activities. From history and hands-on learning to nature in the middle of the city, Charlotte keeps you busy whether you stay a few days or a full week. Find perfect Charlotte vacation rentals as your home base while you explore the kid-friendly options.

1. Enjoy Rides

Find fun rides for all ages at Carowinds amusement park. From kid-friendly Camp Snoopy rides to thrilling coasters, Carowinds offers enough entertainment to keep you busy all day. Your admission to the amusement park also gets you into the Carolina Harbor Water Park to keep the whole family cool.

2. Learn About Science

Prove that learning is fun with a trip to Discovery Place. Hands-on exhibits and science experiment demonstrations keep kids of all ages engaged. Kids can see live animals up close, build forts, and explore a variety of strange science exhibits. The KidScience area is designed especially for kids up to age seven with safe, hands-on exhibits for your youngest family members. Expect to hear all about the exhibits on your way back to your vacation rental.

3. Focus on Aviation

Find something for everyone at the Carolinas Aviation Museum, home to military and civilian aircraft, including planes and helicopters. The Miracle on the Hudson exhibit displays the A320 plane bound for Charlotte that required an emergency landing on the Hudson River. You can see the plane and hear stories from passengers. Its location near the Charlotte Douglas International Airport means you have a good chance of seeing planes taking off and landing. Swing by the museum when you land before you head to your vacation rental.

4. Have an Outdoor Adventure

Take your older kids to the U.S. National Whitewater Center for intense outdoor adventures. This natural area in Charlotte offers whitewater rafting, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, zip lines, ropes courses, mountain biking, and rock climbing in a natural setting. You don’t need previous experience to participate in the activities. Relaxing on your vacation rental’s deck is the perfect way to lower your heart rate after this intense Charlotte adventure.

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5. Check Out Animals

Explore underwater creatures at Sea Life Aquarium. A touch tank brings aquatic wildlife to your child’s fingertips. Wander through the ocean tunnel, where you find yourself surrounded by sharks, rays, fish, and other aquatic life. The museum hosts a number of tanks and exhibits covering many different species of sea life, making it ideal for kids of all ages.

6. Take in a Show

ImaginOn Children’s Library in the downtown area inspires your child to explore creativity. The building houses a kids’ library and a teen library, multi-use classrooms, a multimedia production studio, and exhibit space. Two theaters in the facility serve as the location for productions of the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. Catch a performance at the theatre when you need an indoor activity, or browse the library to inject some quiet time into your vacation. Don’t be surprised when your kids put on their own performance in your vacation rental living room.

7. Race Toward Fun

NASCAR fans, and even those with less enthusiasm for the sport, enjoy a trip to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. The museum is full of classic race cars that look much different than the vehicles you see in races today. You can also check out the inductees in the hall. While many of the exhibits are geared toward older kids, little ones may enjoy the Race Week area with its interactive displays, including a tire changing area.

8. Watch a Game

If your older kids enjoy sports, you’re in luck. Charlotte hosts several sports teams at the college and pro level. During a fall trip, catch a Caroline Panthers home game at the Bank of America Stadium. The Charlotte Hornets take over the Time Warner Cable Arena during basketball season. If your kids prefer hockey, get tickets to a Charlotte Checkers game. Summer trips to the city get that all-American feel with a trip to a Charlotte Knights baseball game. Whatever sport your kids prefer, grab memorabilia at the game to deck out your vacation rental.

9. Play in the Park

Charlotte is home to many unique parks that give you a place to run, play, and unwind. The 98-acre Freedom Park offers plenty of green space, sports areas, and playgrounds. Walking trails with fun bridges let you stretch your legs and explore. Spend some time along the shore of the lake to connect with nature in the city. Older kids enjoy trying the park’s NFL Play 60 KidZone course. With many park options in the city, you may find one within walking distance of your vacation rental for quick trips to burn off energy.

10. Splash and Play

Stay cool during a summer trip to Charlotte at one of many fountains and water play areas in the city. The Fish Fountain at The Green in Uptown Charlotte is a popular spot for kids. Three giant fish statues spit water into the middle of the fountain area, where kids can splash and play. Romare Bearden Park has another popular water spot: the waterfall fountains. If you want more options, head to Ray’s Splash Planet, an indoor water park with slides, a lazy river, and multiple play areas for kids of all ages. Wash off all that water and sunscreen when you return to your cozy vacation rental.

11. Explore History

Travel back in time to learn more about the city at the Charlotte Museum of History. Exhibits inside the main building cover the Revolutionary War, Charlotte neighborhoods, creeks in the area, Charlotte sports, photography, and music. In the Backcountry Gallery, kids can explore replicas of buildings from the Colonial era with hands-on displays to make learning fun. On your way back to your vacation rental, look for more signs of history in Charlotte.

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