Natural Beauty


Contact the
North Carolina
Travel and
Tourism Division

301 N. Wilmington St.
Raleigh 27601-2825

FAX: (919) 733-8582

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Where to go
[ Museums | The Outdoors ]


MuseumsAmerican Military Museum of Gastonia

Founded by American Legion Post 23, the museum houses a military section and drum and bugle section sponsored by the Rambling Rebels Alumni located in Memorial Hall. The exhibits also include models of ships, planes, weapons, tanks and medal displays. No admission charge.
115 W. Second Ave., Gastonia.
Hours: 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays and other times by appointment.
Call: (704) 866-6068, (704) 824-5487 or (704) 864-0267 for more information.

Brevard Station
Located in Stanley, this museum is open for visitors to see pictures, artifacts and documents from the past. A significant factor in the history of Stanley was the discovery of a wild magnolia tree by French botanist, Andre Michaux. The descendants of this tree still live in Stanley.
130 S. Main St., Stanley
Hours: 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, or by appointment
Call: (704) 263-9801

C. Grier Beam Truck Museum
This museum is one of only three truck museums in the United States. Located in an old-style service station, this museum has a display of trucks dating back to 1927 that traces the origins of the trucking industry. Special group tours are available
111 N. Mountain St., Cherryville
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays
Call: (704) 435-3072

Cherryville Historical Museum
Exhibits that follow the history of Cherryville from the early 1800s until today. One of the interesting exhibits is the painting of a bull. The American Tobacco Company used the bull to advertise their Bull Durham brand tobacco. Painted on thousands of buildings in the United States and Europe, there are only four known paintings existing today on brick buildings. The bull was painted in 1910 and was covered with plaster for 80 years, but reappeared in 1991 when the plaster was removed.
109 E. Main St.
Hours: 2 to 4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
Call: (704) 435-8011

Discovery Place
Discovery Place is a hands-on science and technology museum.
301 N. Tryon St., Charlotte
Hours: Regular hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday; Summer hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Call: (800) 935-0553.

Gaston County Museum
The Gaston County Museum — part of a National Register of Historic Places District — was founded in 1975, and moved into its present quarters in the historic Hoffman Hotel in 1984.

The museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret objects; promote and encourage historic preservation and renovation; promote the desire to increase knowledge of heritage and history; and to encourage the appreciation of visual arts through the examples of artistic endeavor.

Visitors are invited to tour the museum’s main building — the former Hoffman Hotel, c.1852 — which offers elegantly furnished period rooms; a "Hand-on" Reception Parlor and furnished historic hotel rooms in the recently renovated third floor; and changing exhibits which explore art, history, and historic preservation. North Carolina’s largest public display of horse-drawn vehicles is located in the Daniel Stowe Carriage House at the south end of the museum grounds.

Adults, families, and students are encouraged to become part of the museum community through participation in workshops, study groups, social events, docent and junior docent programs, and other volunteer service.

The Gaston County Museum is in the process of creating a major new permanent exhibit which will illuminate textile history in the Carolinas. This exhibit, called "The Ties that Bind," is scheduled to open in Spring 2001. The museum welcomes donations of diaries, letters and other documents for research and/or display purposes; and it also seeks objects relating to mill village life, the economy and technology from the late 1800s to the present.

131 W. Main St., Dallas
Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Every fourth Sunday of the month, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For information: Call the Museum 24-hour INFO-LINE (704) 852-6025 or administration (704) 922-7681.

Upcoming events at the Gaston County Museum

  • Aug. 11: "Blues Out Back," 6:30 p.m. on the Museum lawn. Free. Features old-times blues artist George Herbert Moore. Guests are invited to bring picnic blankets, lawn chairs and may bring a picnic from home. Catered box suppers available for $8 each by calling the museum at 923-8103, ext. 1 by Aug. 10. Sponsored by Gaston Federal Bank.

  • Aug. 12: Last day to see "Celebrating a New Century."

  • Aug. 27: "Hands-on Clay," 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Free. Informal opportunity for visitors to work in clay. Also last day to view Georgia Clay; Pottery in the Folk Tradition

  • Sept. 8: "A Visual Harvest" opens to the public, now through Oct. 28. This community-based exhibit, presented in conjunction with the Gaston County Art Guild, features the best of regional art. All art works will be available for purchase.

  • Sept. 14: "Framing Your Photos," 4 p.m., Museum Trustee and expert framer Jean Stewart, owner of the Guild Shop, will present a program illuminating the details of good photograph framing. Offered in conjunction with Gaston Together Photo Contest, "Take One." Space is limited; for reservations call (704) 923-8103, ext. 1 by Sept. 11.

  • Sept. 24: Third Annual "Best Pie Ever Contest," pie-tasting begins at 2:30 p.m. Bake one, or even three and enter in this fun contest. Winners receive ribbons as well as bragging rights for a whole year. The audience gets the chance to take home a prize-winning pie. All pies will be sold at the event; proceeds will benefit the museum. Entry blanks are available at the museum.

  • Oct. 19: The Museum will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. A committee is planning a gala program to be held at the Pamela Kimbrell Warlick Performing Center. First annual award to be presented at the anniversary party.

  • Nov. 11: Annual Veteran’s Day Observance, 10:50 a.m., front porch of the museum. Refreshments will be served after the program

  • Nov. 15: "Storm at Sea" quilt exhibit opens. Unique traveling exhibit consists of 18 quilts from around the world. Exhibit closes Feb. 1.

Lincoln County Museum of History

The Lincoln County Museum of History is located in the Lincoln Cultural Center in downtown Lincolnton.

Organized in the early 1990s, the museum seeks to collect, preserve and research historic artifacts and events that occurred in Lincoln County since the first settlers arrived in the late 17th century.

Visitors to the museum can view one of the largest collections of Catawba Valley pottery on display in this region, along with historic documents pertaining to the Battle of Ramseur’s Mill, a Revolutionary War engagement that happened in what is now downtown Lincolnton.

Two art galleries adjoin the museum and these are open to the public as well.

Cost: Free
Address: 403 E. Main St., Lincolnton, NC 28092
Hours: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Call: (704) 732-9055.

Museum of the New South
The Museum has closed its doors for renovations.
324 N. College St., Charlotte.
Call: (704) 333-1887.
The museum is currently collaborating with other cultural institutions to sponsor programming:

  • Jassin’ at Rosedale: 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Aug. 24. Historic Rosedale is located at 3427 N. Tryon St. Live jazz by Ziad trio, hors de’oeuvres, dessert and cocktails. Cost is $10.

  • Michael Beschloss, Lecturer: 7:30 p.m., Sept. 25. Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. Cost is $10 for members/$12 for non-members. Tickets go on sale at the end of August. For ticket information, call (704) 372-1000.

  • Lee Smith, author and lecturer: 7:30 p.m., Jan. 22, Spirit Square, 345 N. College St. Cost to be announced.

N.C. Transportation Museum

Admission, free. Daily train rides $5 adults, $4 children, under 3 free., seniors $4.
Address: 411 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Call: (704) 636-2889.

Piedmont Carolina Railroad Museum
This museum has displays depicting all phases of railroad history. An engine, coach and boxcar are featured in this popular Belmont museum.
4 N. Main St. in Belmont
Hours: Closed Mondays; 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Sundays.
Call: (704) 825-4403.

Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium

The Schiele Museum of Natural History, well known for its exciting, educational programs and activities for students and families, is easily accessible from Interstate 85 in Gastonia, N.C.

You may also access the Schiele Web site at to learn more about the history, organization, collections and activities of the Schiele Museum.

The Schiele Museum features these permanent galleries:

  • North Carolina Hall of Natural History — beautiful dioramas of the five regions of North Carolina from the mountains to the sea

  • Hall of North Carolina Habitats — dioramas of Everglades, Sonoran Desert and Alaskan tundra biomes

  • Hall of North American Wildlife — moose, elk, buffalo and other large mammals of North America; birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals of North Carolina

  • Hall of Earth and Man — fossils of dinosaurs, mastadon, sabre-tooth cats and other pre-historic life; displays about Early Man, largest gem and mineral display in North Carolina.

  • Henry Hall of the North American Indian — displays of housing, tools, weapons, adornments and utilitarian objects of 12 tribal groups of five regions of North America. Native voices telling their own stores.

The Schiele Planetarium offers astrology and space science presentations for the public each Saturday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. and each Sunday at 2 and 3 p.m. year-round. Weekday presentations for groups are available by appointment. During the summer public programs are presented at 2 and 3 p.m. each day (June through mid-August).

The Schiele Shop features a variety of gifts and educational items related to nature and history — rocks and minerals, field guides and books for children or adults, T-shirts, jewelry, puppets, stuffed animals, posters, Native craft items, toys and games.

The Schiele Museum’s outdoor interpretive sites include:

  • Nature Trail — Pine forest, mixed hardwood forest and pond communities typical of Piedmont North Carolina are all found along the .7-mile Trail For All Seasons.

  • Memorial Wildlife Garden — Planted with species native to the Carolina Piedmont, the Memorial Wildlife Garden provides food and shelter for wildlife and a contemplative setting enjoyed by Trail users.

  • Catawba Indian Village — Interprets 400 years of Catawba Indian history through the use of replicated and simulated structures.

  • 18th-Century Backcountry Farm — Interprets lifeways of the early settlers of this region through living history presentations in period and reconstructed buildings.

The Backcountry Farm and Catawba Indian Village are open on weekends from May through mid-November and seven days a week during the summer.

General Information:

1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia 28054-5199

Museum Admission: $2 for Adults, $1 for Seniors and Students; Gastonia Residents, Museum Members and Children under 3 admitted free.

Museum Hours: 1-5 p.m. Sunday; 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Open free to all visitors 4-8 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month

Planetarium Programs: 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Saturdays; 2 and 3 p.m. Sundays; 2 p.m. Daily June through mid-August. 2.50 for Adults, $2 for Students, $1 for Seniors.

Schiele Shop Hours: 1-5 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Telephone: Public Hours, Programs (recorded information): (704) 866-6900; Receptionist, (704) 866-6908; Group Appointments, (704) 854-6576; The Schiele Shop: (704) 866-6924; Membership: (704) 865-6904; Volunteer Opportunities: (704) 854-6675.

Upcoming events at the Schiele

  • Heritage Day: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 9. A Family Treat at the Schiele Museum, offering native and Euro-American pottery. Meet Catawba Indian potters, watch pottery being fired.

  • Gem and Mineral Show: 9 a.m-5 p.m., Oct. 6-8. The 22nd Annual Gaston County Gem and Mineral Show features displays, demonstrations of faceting, jewelry mounting and geode cutting.

  • Everyday Life in Early Carolina: 1 p.m.-5 p.m, Oct. 22. Visit with a pioneer family as they go about everyday chores and amusements. An outdoor program in the Backcountry Farm.

  • Haunting Creatures of Halloween: 7 p.m., Oct. 27. Halloween treat for the whole family! Animated characters remove the "masks and myths" of familiar Halloween creatures. Pre-registration required; call (704) 854-6676.

  • Invasion of the Giant Insects: 1-1:30 p.m. and 2:30-3 p.m., Nov. 11. Tour the Backyard Monster Exhibit and explore the natural history of the creaures on display.

[ Museums | The Outdoors ]

The Outdoors

Crowder’s Mountain State Park
This 3,024-acre park is characterized by rugged peaks and breath-taking views. It is a favorite of hikers and is enjoyed by others such as bird watchers and picnickers. Visitors to the park can also enjoy fishing, camping and rock climbing. From the tenderfoot to the seasoned hiker, a trail awaits you in this beautiful park which is a registered North Carolina Natural Heritage Area. The park drive has also been designated as one of North Carolina’s scenic byways.

Location: Follow signs off U.S 29/74.
Call: 704-853-5375.

Duke Power State Park
Located on Lake Norman with 13 miles of shoreline and its own 33-acre lake, the park features tent and trailer camping (no electric hook-ups), rowboat rentals, hiking and private boat access to Lake Norman.

Call: 704-528-6350.

Kings Mountain National Military Park
On Oct. 7, 1780, an attack by frontiersmen from the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia broke up Britain’s southern campaign. American patriots killed, wounded or captured the entire force of more than 1,100 Tories. The battlefield ridge is located near the center of the 3,950-acre park with several monuments. A visitor’s center features exhibits and informative films. There is also a self-guided trail leading to the main features of the battlefield.

Address: Located 15 miles from Gastonia in Blacksburg, S.C.
Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Closed on Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
Call: 864-936-7921.

Kings Mountain State Park
This 6,832-acre park features scenic drives and nature and hiking trails. There are two lakes for swimming, fishing and boating. There is also a bridle trail and stable. Visitors may camp and picnic year-round. The park’s Living History Farm recreates an Upcountry homestead of the 1850s.

Address: Located at 1277 Park Road in Blacksburg, S.C.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Easter to October and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from October until Easter.
Call: 803-222-3209.

North Carolina Zoological Park
More than 1,000 exotic animals living in spacious natural habitats make this a great vacation destination.

Address: The park is located on N.C. 159 in Asheboro.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April through October and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. November through March and is open every day of the year except Christmas Day.
Call: 800-488-0444 for admission prices.

South Mountains State Park
12,288 acres in Southern Burke County, Primitive camping, youth tent/group camping, bridle trails, fishing, nature/hiking trails, nature programs and picnicking Trailer parking available. Picnic shelter (with reservations).

Call: 828-433-4772


Lake Norman Lake Norman
North Carolina’s largest man-made lake, built by Duke Power. The lake features more than 520 miles of shoreline and hosts events throughout the season.
Call: 704-664-3898.

Lake Wylie
Located south of Gaston County, Lake Wylie is Duke Power’s oldest man-made lake. An estimated 325 miles of shoreline are shared by North and South Carolina. 
Details: For more information, call the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce at 803-831-2827 or write to P.O. Box 5233, Lake Wylie, S.C. 29710.

Moss Lake
Located near Kings Mountain. Boating, camping, fishing, off Oak Grove Road, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Call lake office for information on fees.
Calls: 704-482-7926.


Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
The 450 acres of rolling meadows and woodlands are destined to become one of the most beautiful gardens in the world and it is projected that when complete, the garden will attract more than 80,000 visitors annually.

The garden offers annual fall and spring plant sales, gardening programs for adults and children, and a gift shop.

Address: 6500 S. New Hope Road in Belmont, is located on the banks of Lake Wylie.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Call: 704-825-4490.

Iron Gate Gardens
Enjoy this well-established 30-year-old garden as you stroll down brick walkways surrounded by ornamental shrubs, perennials and a colorful display of more than 1,500 varieties of daylilies and hostas.

Dates: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, April 1 through Aug. 1. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Address: 2271 County Line Road, Kings Mountain
Call: 704-435-6178.

[ Museums | The Outdoors ]


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The Gaston Chamber of Commerce
601 W. Franklin Blvd.
Gastonia, North Carolina 28052

Phone: 704-864-2621
Toll Free: 1-800-348-8461
Fax: 704-854-8723


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