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Crystal Conservatory
A must-see when visiting Gaston County is Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. You can’t miss the glass conservatory which houses tropical plants, including orchids, and a magnificent bromeliad display.

Just a few short miles from Charlotte, Gaston County has abundant lifestyle amenities including recreation, museums, small-town charm and so much more that are available to visitors and residents. You’ll have choices here and they’re all good ones.

Make sure to visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens – 11 separate gardens and groves, plus an amazing orchid conservatory. Don’t miss the Four Seasons Garden that lives up to its name, with color year-round. The Allee Garden features a tunnel fountain which youngsters love, and the Cottage Garden offers a glimpse back in time, with heirloom plants and sweet scents. History enthusiasts will enjoy the beautiful campus of Belmont Abbey, a four-year college listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Residents support the college with its many events (and 27 athletic teams).

At Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia, you can see the habitats of North Carolina, past and present, as well as an unforgettable collection of artifacts, weapons, ornaments, tools, and housing, depicting the beautiful culture of the North American Native Americans. Outdoor exhibits (open seasonally), include a Heritage Stone Age site, Catawba village, and 18th Century backcountry farm, with living history and fascinating artifacts.

The Gaston County Museum, located in the small town of Dallas, provides more history, including exhibits on the early textiles industry there, horse-drawn carriages of the pre-car era, and the Hoffman Hotel. In its day, the hotel was quite the Greek Revival structure, and today, it’s been refurbished, allowing visitors to see the way things were, back then.

A relative newcomer is the US National Whitewater Center. The Whitewater Channel is closed in winter, but the trails and other center activities are open year round and are very popular with families. Nearby Crowders Mountain features 11 trails of varying difficulty – from ADA accessible to strenuous hikes. There’s a lake, campsites and beautiful countryside.

If you’d rather go boating, Tailrace Marina in the town of Mount Holly, found in the scenic “River District” of Lake Wylie, offers rentals of pontoons, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks and canoes. There are picnic areas with BBQ grills and walkways which connect public docks. Locals keep their boats at the marina, which features almost 200 covered and open, private and public slips. The area is beautiful and historic, and the marina is built on the site of an old spinning mill, constructed there in the 1880s.

Gaston County is filled with charming towns and villages of varying sizes. Gastonia is the county seat and largest municipality. Belmont is the home of Belmont Abbey, and Mount Holly offers great water access and a lovely downtown. You’ll find excellent hotels in these three locations. Other towns have their charms as well, including Bessemer City, Cherryville, Cramerton, Dallas, High Shoals, Kings Mountain, Lowell, McAdenville, Ranlo and Stanley. They all have inviting, walkable downtowns, with restaurants and shopping. You’ll undoubtedly find a favorite among them.

If you visit Gaston County in the late fall, find time to go to Christmas Town USA, in McAdenville. From November 30-December 26, hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights make a spectacular display. Try to view it from the heart of the town, where the lights reflect onto the lake. This tiny town of about 800 residents attracts more than 300,000 vehicles to see the show.

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