When I initially heard that the annual Travel Media Showcase was going to take place in Cabarrus County NC, I didn’t know much about the area. During my time at the conference, I had the opportunity to learn about so many of the fantastic family-friendly activities in the area, and was able to experience some of them. If you have racing fans in your family, a visit to Cabarrus County NC is a must-do. There is so much to experience.
Disclosure: The activities I experienced, as well as my hotel stay, were complimentary as part of my participation in Travel Media Showcase. All opinions are my own.
Family Things to Do in Cabarrus County NC
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway is the big highlight in the area. Racing fans will love to visit the oval track, as well as the dirt track and the drag tracks across the street. Daily tours are offered that can provide the history of the speedway. During the holiday season, you can experience a Speedway Christmas, when visitors can actually drive their cars on the track to see three million lights over three and a half miles. The event includes Christmas movies on the big screen, as well as a Christmas village.
Ride alongs are offered several times per week through the adjacent NASCAR Racing Experience. During your visit, check out the Speedway Club, a restaurant above the speedway with great views.
Visit the Concord Mills mall to check out the Sea Life Charlotte-Concord Aquarium. This indoor aquarium includes 10 interactive exhibits as well as educational talks and feeding sessions. They also offer a behind-the-scenes tours. It’s a great option for days when the weather isn’t cooperating, because it’s indoors.
I’m not a racing fan, but I did find my visit to Stewart-Haas Racing fascinating. This is where the racing team behind Danica Patrick, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch (among others), builds their racecars. There’s a store that’s open to the public, and with large windows around the building area, there’s so much to see. There is also some racing memorabilia around the front lobby.
Other racing teams offer facilities as well, although I didn’t visit them. Be sure to make sure they are open to the public before planning your visit, as not all of them are.
Fans of Dale Earnhardt will want to check out the self-guided Dale Trail, which is located in Cabarrus County. The trail starts with a visit to the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza in Kannapolis, North Carolina. No detail is left out, as the plaza is oval shaped (for the oval shape of race tracks), with benches installed in sets of three (for his number). Dale is dressed not in racing clothes, but in the casual clothes that citizens of the town remember him in.
There are eighteen other stops on the Dale Trail, including Dale’s favorite diner and several of the motorsports racing facilities.
The landmark Gem Theater is located right around the corner from the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza. It’s a first-run, single screen theater offering amazing prices for families. Concessions range from $1 for candy to $4 for a large popcorn, while movie tickets are just $4-$5. It would be a fun place to check out a movie – it feels like a step back in time, and is so reasonable.
Where to Stay in Cabarrus County NC
There are loads of chain hotels located in the Cabarrus County NC area. During our visit, I stayed in Embassy Suites by Hilton Charlotte Concord Golf Resort & Spa. This suite hotel, adjacent to the Concord Convention Center, is a wonderful, comfortable hotel for families. My room included a microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker, two televisions, sitting area, large desk, pullout couch, and separate bedroom, making it ideal for those traveling to Cabarrus County NC with kids. The hotel also offers a restaurant, lounge, complimentary hot breakfast, evening reception (with two complimentary drinks per night), a small spa, an indoor pool, and a coffee shop.
For a different experience, across the street is the Great Wolf Lodge Concord. While I didn’t stay there, I did have the opportunity to check out the property. Like other Great Wolf Lodge locations, it offers a beautiful indoor water park (exclusive to guests), several restaurants, an indoor bowling alley, a game room, a kids’ spa, and so much more.