While Gastonia may not be as well-known as its larger sister cities, it has plenty of attractions to keep you entertained. Whether you're looking for fun things to do with your family, a date night, or something new to explore, here are a few places to check out during your visit.
1. Visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is the perfect place for a family outing or a romantic date. It features tunnel fountains, stone work and orchids.
Located on 380 acres (1.5 km2) of rolling meadows, woodlands and lakefront property, this botanical garden was founded by former textile executive Daniel Stowe. It includes a tropical conservatory, nature trails, sparkling fountains and a children’s garden.
2. Go Bowling at George Pappas Liberty Lanes
One of the most fun things to do in Gastonia is to go bowling. This family-owned 32-lane center is open seven days a week and offers free bowling, league bowling and birthday party options. The best part about this place is that it's right in the middle of downtown, so it's a quick and easy way to spend a day. This place also has a number of other fun and interactive things to do, so it's the perfect place to keep kids entertained while you take in the city sights.
3. Take a Hike at Lineberger Park
Originally built in the late 1920s, Lineberger Park remains a favorite for families. It features picnic shelters, a spray ground, walking trails, a swimming pool and a creek.
It's also a trailhead for the Avon/Catawba Creek Greenway. This paved trail runs parallel to Fern Forest Drive and Avon Creek for 1.2 miles.
4. Visit Martha Rivers Park
When you're looking for a place to take your kids for a fun day out, Martha Rivers Park is the right spot. This 58-acre park features a castle-themed playground, hiking trails and picnic shelters.
The play area is a little bit magical, with castle-like structures, slides and ladders. There's also a sand pit for digging "dinosaur" bones, places to climb and hide and even a small playground that's designed especially for the smallest of visitors.
5. Visit the American Military Museum of Gastonia
The American Military Museum of Gastonia is a unique venue with a variety of historic war memorabilia. The collection includes soldier uniforms, aircraft models & medallions.
Founded by American Legion Post 23, the American Military Museum is a great place to learn about history of the United States military. Located in downtown Gastonia.
6. Go Fishing at Rankin Lake
Rankin Lake is one of the city’s most popular parks, offering an 80-acre lake and a variety of activities. It features a Lake Trail that’s perfect for a family stroll or a fitness workout.
Fishing is a popular activity at Rankin Lake, where anglers can catch largemouth bass, spotted bass, rock bass, bluegill, channel catfish and flathead catfish. Boat rentals are also available.
7. Go on a Group Date at Curtis Lee Butler Studio
Located in the heart of downtown, this art and science museum is sure to dazzle your eyeballs. The studio is home to over 70 exhibits covering everything from music to astronomy to engineering, and includes the latest in science and technology. Check out the top of the line interactive displays, and don't forget to try a hand at some of the more advanced experiments.
8. Go on a Group Date at Smyre Millennium Park
If you’re looking for a fun and inexpensive group date, try going on a horseshoe court at Smyre Millennium Park. This park is packed with people who want to enjoy outdoor activities, and the horseshoe court is a great place to kick back with your friends.
This 1.9-acre public park is a peaceful green space for social gatherings and unwinding with your loved ones. It features a walking track and a horseshoe court, ideal for exercise alone or with your family or friends.
9. Go on a Group Date at Regal Franklin Square
For a relaxing group date, you can watch a movie at Regal Franklin Square. The 14-screen theatre offers stadium seating for moviegoers and features RealD 3D and digital projection.
Regal also hosts the Summer Movie Express series where you can enjoy kids’ movies for just $2 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The program starts on June 14 and ends on August 24.
10. Go on a Group Date at Rotary Centennial Pavilion
Located just beyond the playground at the First Federal Sportsplex, the Rotary Centennial Pavilion is a fine example of a well-planned space. The award winning octane clad structure can accommodate up to 400 patrons and is a fun place to watch the action. There is an indoor bowling area, as well as a number of outdoor bocce courts. The best part is that it's open for business year-round.
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