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Things To Do in Gastonia, NC : Fun Places and Activities For Your Family

Gastonia’s rich history in textile manufacturing may have put it on the map, but that’s not all this city has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or a weekend trip, you will have an exciting experience in Gastonia. With its beautiful parks, historical museums, and bustling shopping centers, you will surely never get bored.

Here are some stops you should consider adding to your itinerary:

1. Smyre Millenium Park

Smyre Millennium Park is a communal park with a 1.9-acre landscape that is accessible to people of all ages. The park has a play area for kids to enjoy and a walking path for people to use whether they wish to walk by themselves or with their dog. The horseshoe court at Smyre Millennium Park is another outdoor area where you can unwind and take in the surroundings. Families can stop by the small picnic pavilion with picnic table benches for lunch or a get-together and do various things. Smyre Millennium Park is a peaceful park ideal for unwinding and spending time with loved ones and friends. Every day of the week, the park is open for 24 hours.

Patrick Johnson, Owner of C&H Essentials

Smyre Millenium Park

2. Try Tony’s Ice Cream

Head over to Tony’s Ice Cream on 604 E Franklin Blvd for some mouthwatering ice cream. Choose from a range of exotic flavors, including cherry cheesecake, peanut butter ripple, black cherry, orange sherbet, and more.

But don’t stop at ice cream – their food is just as good! Chicken tenders, bacon, and egg, cheese sticks, and hot wings are some popular options.

Tony’s Ice Cream also supplies other restaurants in North Carolina with their homemade ice cream. It’s no surprise they have been going strong for over 100 years!

John Webber, Founder, Carved

Try Tony’s Ice Cream

3. Shopping

If you’re planning to visit Gastonia, North Carolina, be sure to check out the wealth of unique antique shops that this town has to offer. In particular, the B&B Antique & Artisan Mall is a great place to hunt for antique or handmade treasures. The mall features several different vendors, and there is always something new to discover. 

Larry Snider, VP of Operations, Casago Vacation Rentals


Gaston Pickers is always the stop we make when we are in the area – and we always come away with an armful of unique purchases and a very full heart, and recommend it to anyone else who adores antiques, collectibles, and furniture. To myself and my husband, Gaston Pickers is so appealing because you never know what you will get – but if you put in the work to scour the shop floor, you are bound to find a bargain. To shelter from the rain (or, much more likely, the heat), you can count on Gaston Pickers!

Beth, CEO & Co-founder, Own The Grill

4. Schiele Natural History Museum

Schiele Natural History Museum is located in Gaston County and offers a great experience of nature and science. The museum has scheduled events for the year which encompass educational research-based programs, and exhibitions propagating science and nature both indoors and outdoors. I especially recommend enjoying the high-definition planetarium and science theater that exhibits naturally occurring horror fiction concepts like alien invaders and zombies and an exhibit called Dino Safari, a journey back in time to discover the Age of Dinosaurs.

Ronald Williams, Founder, BestPeopleFinder

Schiele Natural History Museum

5. Webb’s Custom Kitchen

Undoubtedly, it is an instant sensation, and you can’t skip this place with the opulent ambiance and spectacular food. The kitchen is in the orchestra’s place, in view of the diners. Seated in the gallery, guests can watch silent movies on the big screen or watch customers on the main floor. The huge bar is a focal point of the venue and is practically always surrounded by fans of its great cocktails. This incredible background is accompanied by first-class food. There’s something for everyone, with the menu featuring contemporary American cuisine with an imaginative and original interpretation.

Ronald Williams, Founder, BestPeopleFinder

Webb’s Custom Kitchen

6. The Little Theatre of Gastonia

If you’re looking for a little bit of culture, then you should absolutely check out what’s playing at the Little Theatre of Gastonia. They put on a large variety of fantastic shows, from well-known musicals to smaller plays. It’s a great way to watch some local talent and explore more of the town. 

Jason Dempsey, CEO, Home City Living

The Little Theatre of Gastonia

7. Crowders Mountain State Park

Gastonia, NC is home of the Crowders Mountain State Park — which offers absolutely stunning mountainous views. Not only is there a lake with a dock attached to it but there are some incredibly fun trails to challenge yourself on. There are also certain areas of this park that make great fun for pictures.

Brittany Mendez, Travel Expert & CMO, Florida Panhandle

Read about the things you can do near Murphy, NC, if you’re interested in visiting fun and attractive places in North Carolina.

Crowders Mountain State Park

8. Birdwatching

If you’re a lover of nature and enjoy watching our gorgeous feathered friends entertain and delight us, I would personally recommend The Crowders Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain National Military Park, and of course Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens as the best spots to see birds in Gastonia, North Carolina.


These locations, all provide excellent possibilities to watch a wide diversity of birds, especially during the spring and fall migrations. The American goldfinch, the northern cardinal, the tufted titmouse, and the blue jay are some of the more frequently seen birds in Gastonia. Bird watching is a relaxing, enjoyable, and affordable way to add value to your trip.

Garret Hayes, Birding Hub

9. US National Whitewater Center

This not-for-profit adventure athletics facility allows you to try your hand at whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing, as well as mountain biking, hiking, and ice skating. It is a fabulous and well-resourced space, offering classes for all levels, as well as private sessions for more experiences. The river channels themselves were designed by three-time Olympian Scott Shipley, so you know that you are getting the best. I recommend it to all of my clients that visit the Gastonia attraction – and as there is such a range of activities, there really is something for everyone. 

Kevin Harris, Founder, NANBF

US National Whitewater Center

The White Water Center features a host of outdoor activities on 1,300 acres. Visitors can experience whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, climbing, mountain biking, and more. It is located alongside the Catawba River, which is where you can experience the center’s flatwater kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. They also offer a variety of raft trips designed for different levels. 

Liam Grossman, Founder, Server Truly

10. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden is a beautiful 380-acre property featuring an Orchid Conservatory, meadows, a museum, and unique annual events. One of their most popular events was the Chinese Lantern Festival in 2017, attracting over 100,000 visitors in only eight weeks. During the summer, you can sometimes see butterflies native to North Carolina. 

Liam Grossman, Founder, Server Truly

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Final Thoughts

Indoor and outdoor activities are indeed abundant in Gastonia. It’s not really a surprise that this once sleepy community is now a tourist hotspot. With the wide range of activities you can do and places you can visit, it’s really up to you how you want to spend your day in this gorgeous city.

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