Summer Fun: Plan A Waxhaw Staycation

If you want to enjoy a vacation experience while minimizing the hustle and hassle, try a staycation instead.

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Summer is a time for vacations and relaxation. But sometimes the stress of planning and travel negate the benefits of “getting away.” If you want to enjoy a vacation experience while minimizing the hustle and hassle, try a staycation instead. The Waxhaw area is full of local attractions and restaurants you can visit during the day while sleeping in your own comfy (and free!) bed at night.

Like the beach? Try Cane Creek Park.

If you had to mark the beach off your destination list, Cane Creek Park makes a great substitute. According to its website, “During Cane Creek Park’s summer season (Memorial Day weekend – Labor Day weekend) activities such as swimming, pedal boats, and miniature golf will be open. Swimming will be open Wednesday – Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Weekday hours for beach access, pedal boats, and miniature golf only apply when Union County Public Schools recess for summer.”

Cane Creek also has campsites that range from traditional tent areas to cabins. “For a modest fee, visitors can enjoy the following activities year round: fishing, boating, hiking, picnic areas, canoe and rowboat rentals, ball fields, playgrounds, disc golf, and mountain bike and horse trails.” And shelters and picnic pads are available to rent for parties or family reunions.

Enjoy History? Go on the Waxhaw Historic Walking Tour.

There are 30 stops on the Waxhaw Historic Walking Tour. To access the self-guided tour brochure, you can follow the link under the “Things To Do” tab on the city page. If you are looking for a guided tour, call Parks and Recreation at 704.843.2195 to see if any are scheduled.

Most of the buildings on the walking tour are from the early 1900s, although some date back to the 1800s. But fortunately for walkers, the surrounding area has been modernized and revitalized. Going on the walking tour will give you a good excuse to stop in and check out all the stores and restaurants in downtown Waxhaw that you encounter along the way. Mixing history with a modern shopping experience is a great way to see the sites and beat the heat.

Morrow Mountain State Park has more than 15 miles of hiking trails.

Miss the Mountains? Take a short drive to Morrow Mountain State Park.

Morrow Mountain isn’t in Waxhaw, but it is a reasonable distance away. Most people can get to Morrow Mountain State Park in about an hour’s drive. Once there, it will be hard to tell you are still just in the foothills.

Morrow Mountain’s website encourages visitors to “Choose an adventure at Morrow Mountain State Park, whether it’s hiking, camping, paddling, fishing, horseback riding, swimming or just taking in scenery on one of the highest points in the piedmont.”

The park has more than 15 miles of hiking trails and 16 miles of bridle trails. At the base of the mountain, visitors will find Lake Tillery, “where a boathouse offers canoes and rowboats for rent and bait for fishing. Visitors can launch their own craft from a boat ramp. A family campground with 106 sites for tents, trailers and RVs is close by a swimming pool with bathhouse. Group camping, remote backpack camping and rustic vacation cabins give more choices for extended stays.”

Looking for the thrill of Disney? Go to Carowinds.

Carowinds is another destination that requires a drive, but you can still spend a day at the park and make it home for the evening. Carowinds pulls double duty as a roller coaster theme park as well as a waterpark.

Carowinds rides include roller coasters, thrill rides, family rides, and kids rides. Carolina Harbor, one of Carowinds newest additions, is a massive waterpark that “features everything from giant water slides and wave pools to large play structures and a three-acre kids’ area.” You can also rent private cabanas that provide amenities for your party throughout the day.

Still want to get away without getting away? Rent an Airbnb.

Sometimes you want to get away- but not too far away. Whether travel is too expensive, you have a short turnaround time on your trip, you have elderly relatives or small children to keep an eye on, or you need to stay close to home for some other reason, a local Airbnb rental can give you the feeling of getting away without leaving the area.

Check out Airbnb’s website to sort by house type, price, and location. Some even allow pets. (Cutting out boarding fees is another bonus!) Whether you want to be alone for the weekend or find a place for the whole family to gather, you can usually find a suitable place on Airbnb.

Spend your time just hanging out at your new property, resting, and enjoying the unique features of the home you chose. Or, if you want to make your staycation even more like a traditional vacation, combine your Airbnb stay with one of the activities above. Either way, you can create an amazing vacation experience this summer without ever leaving the greater Charlotte area.

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Annie Beth Donahue lives in Indian Trail, North Carolina with her husband Brad, and four children. She is a professional writer for both the web and print, and she can be found at

Annie Beth also has a bachelor's degree in music therapy from Queens University of Charlotte, and has either been working with or parenting children with special needs for the past 18 years. She is a children's book author and the founder and president of Signposts Ministries, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves families that have children with chronic health problems or disabilities. In her non-working time, she homeschools and oversees the children's care of their small menagerie made up of chickens, two donkeys, a dog, a cat, and a snake.