Cabarrus County, North Carolina is the perfect destination for motorsports enthusiasts and adrenaline seekers alike. And there’s even more to explore beyond all things racing. From exciting outdoor adventures to entertainment, shopping and several breweries and wineries, use this itinerary to plan the perfect getaway in Cabarrus County.
Day 1: Satisfy Your Need for Speed
Spend your first day in Cabarrus County taking in as much motorsports action as possible. Home to many of the best races and motorsports attractions in the country, there are more than enough options to keep you busy!
Charlotte Motor Speedway
No matter what time of year you visit, there’s always high-speed fun to be had at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Whether you attend a NASCAR race or take a behind-the-scenes tour, you’ll quickly learn why the speedway is appropriately nicknamed “America’s Home For Racing.”
With the Fast Pass Tour, you get to drive the 1.5-mile quad oval track in your own vehicle. And although you won’t go as fast as some of the most iconic drivers in NASCAR history — such as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. — you’ll still feel the rush. A tour guide will chime in with history of both the track and NASCAR through your car radio.
The campus is also home to zMAX Dragway and The Dirt Track at Charlotte, where special events like the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and World of Outlaws World Finals keep fans on their feet. Check out Charlotte Motor Speedway’s full calendar of events to plan your visit around one of these exciting race weekends.
Want to become a real racecar driver for the day instead? Then the NASCAR Racing Experience is more your speed. Kick off this NASCAR attraction by meeting with your crew chief, put your suit on, get behind the wheel and step on the gas. A spotter will provide one-on-one radio instruction to help you pass the other cars as you race around the track. If the IndyCar style of racing sounds more appealing, check out the Mario Andretti Racing Experience. Don’t forget to snap a photo in Victory Lane to commemorate your day at the speedway.
If you’d rather go at a slightly slower pace, head to K1 Speed. The indoor track with all-electric go karts is perfect for drivers of all skill levels.
NASCAR Race Shops
Dive into the history of NASCAR and the sport’s all-time biggest stars with tours of local race shops. Cabarrus County and the surrounding area is home to 90% of all the NASCAR race shops in the world and includes names like Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing, JR Motorsports, RFK Racing and more. Call before you go to make sure each shop is open and welcoming visitors.
The Dale Trail
Arguably NASCAR’S most famous driver of all time, Dale Earnhardt Sr. is a hometown hero of Cabarrus County. Hailing from Kannapolis, Earnhardt’s presence can be felt throughout the whole city. The self-guided Dale Trail tour is one of the most essential things to do in Kannapolis, featuring 19 important landmarks around the region from his life and racing career. Whether you drive the whole tour or only some, be sure to make a pitstop at Dale Earnhardt Tribute Plaza, where seven steps descending into the plaza represent his seven Cup championships, and the oval layout is designed to resemble a race track. The centerpiece of the urban greenspace is a 9-foot bronze statue of Earnhardt, which represents his larger-than-life impact — not just on the sport, but also on his hometown.
Day 2: Head Outside
Spend the second day of your Cabarrus County getaway exploring the great outdoors. Between hiking, mountain biking, greenspaces galore and more, there are countless ways you can enjoy some time outside.
Now that you’ve had your fair share of adrenaline, it’s time for some fresh air. Head to Harrisburg Park, which reopened in 2021 after a substantial expansion and renovation. The park spans 33 acres and features something for everyone to enjoy, no matter your definition of fun. There’s an 11,000-square-foot playground, walking and mountain biking trails, a nine-hole disc golf course, soccer fields, cornhole courts, a seasonal splash pad and more. The park also offers sheltered tables, making it the perfect place for a picnic. Fun fact: The National Wildlife Federation has designated Harrisburg Park a wildlife habitat, so you just may spot some furry or feathered friends while exploring all the park has to offer.
Go Hiking or Kayaking — Or Both
The Riverbend Farm Trail, part of the Carolina Thread Trail, is a picturesque, 1.6-mile out-and-back trail that winds through wooded areas. If you want to take your excursion to the next level, bring a kayak or canoe with you and launch it from a site on the Rocky River not far from where the trail begins.
Reed Gold Mine
Did you know the first documented discovery of gold in the United States happened right here in Cabarrus County? That’s right — in 1799, a 12-year-old boy named Conrad Reed discovered a 17-pound(!) gold nugget in what is now the town of Midland. And even after more than three centuries, the gold-discovering tradition lives on at Reed Gold Mine. If you’re in Cabarrus County between April through October, you can pan for gold at the mine. And if your visit doesn’t fall within those months, Reed Gold Mine offers walking trails and underground tunnels to explore.
Day 3: Shopping and Entertainment
Browse the shelves at a gigantic retail mall, dig for vintage antiques, marvel at astonishing sea creatures, hit the water park and more. Your third day in Cabarrus County is all about treating yourself.
Shop. ‘Til. You. Drop. As North Carolina’s largest outlet and value retail shopping center, Concord Mills is home to over 200 stores, including iconic brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, LEGO, kate spade new york, Michael Kors Outlet and more. But it isn’t just your typical shopping mall — Concord Mills also boasts plenty of entertainment and things to do with kids, like Dave & Buster’s, SEA LIFE Aquarium, The Speedpark and more.
SEA LIFE Aquarium
Whether you’re in the mood for shopping or not, SEA LIFE alone is worth the trip to Concord Mills. Home to more than 5,000 sea creatures, like turtles, sharks, stingrays and clownfish, the 150,000-gallon aquarium offers lots of opportunities to learn about — and interact with — sea life. Perhaps the most stunning feature of the aquarium is the 180-degree underwater tunnel, which gives you the chance to get face to face with some of the most spectacular marine animals around.
The Depot at Gibson Mill
If you prefer antique shopping over retail, The Depot at Gibson Mill is a must-visit. As the largest antique mall in the south, The Depot boasts over 750 booths with some of the most unique vintage items you’ll find. Beyond shopping, Gibson Mill is home to two craft breweries (Cabarrus Brewing and High Branch), an escape room, a board game café and more.
Great Wolf Lodge
Ready for the pool day of a lifetime? Great Wolf Lodge has an indoor water park that features waterslides, a wave pool, a water treehouse fort, pool basketball hoops and other aquatic activities for kids. And there’s not just wet-and-wild fun — Great Wolf is home to a Build-A-Bear Workshop, laser tag, mini golf, a 3D movie theater and more.
Speaking of movies, take a trip back in time at the Gem Theatre, which first opened in 1936. The old-fashioned movie theater has an iconic, historic feel to it, and is one of the few remaining theaters that still offers balcony seating. Sure, the prices have gone up over the course of its storied existence, but not by much — admission is $4 for kids and seniors and $5 for adults. Add a large popcorn for $4 and a box of candy for just $1.
Day 4: Relax and Unwind With a Drink
Cap off your Cabarrus County vacation with a cold one. Among the many attractions in North Carolina for adults, the state is home to over 370 breweries and brewpubs, and more than 400 vineyards and 200 wineries.
Craft Breweries & Cidery
Spend your fourth day sipping delightful beverages at the area’s craft breweries and brand-new cidery, all of which have their own unique vibes and styles of flagship beers.
Cabarrus County’s craft beer scene started in Concord with the city’s first breweries, Cabarrus Brewing Company (CBC) and High Branch Brewing Co. Enjoy signature CBC brews like Boll Weevil Brown and Cabarrus Cotton with a meal from The Kitchen at CBC. Steps away inside Gibson Mill Market, High Branch makes stellar Belgian-inspired, hop-forward beers like its Ghosted Hazy IPA, Pounder Hazy Pale Ale and Sure Oatmeal Stout.
Also in Concord, Twenty-Six Acres Brewing Company is known for its Corban Ave Honey Blonde and 26 Union Street Oatmeal Stout, and Buzzed Viking Brewing Company is the first combination brewery/meadery in Cabarrus County. Nearby Southern Strain Brewing Company offers palate-pleasing IPAs, sours and saisons, along with good eats from in-house Hot Box Next Level Kitchen.
Old Well Brewery is celebrated for its small-batch approach to brewing. The brewery only produces beer in batches of three barrels or less. Located inside local restaurant 73 & Main, this spot is ideal for a special evening out.
Side by side in downtown Kannapolis, Tipsy Hare Ciderworks and veteran-owned Old Armor Beer Company are the perfect stops for beer and cider enthusiasts. Plus, they’re surrounded by activities like duckpin bowling, baseball games at Atrium Health Ballpark and boutique shopping.
In Harrisburg, Percent Tap House became the town’s first brewery when it opened in 2018. Try one of its rotating selections of sours, stouts, IPAs and pale ales. Around the corner, Pharr Mill Brewing offers a tasty range of hoppy ales, stouts, fruited ales and sours to enjoy with their mouthwatering barbecue.
Cabarrus County is also home to a few wineries that offer relaxing, unrushed tastings. You won’t find any stuffiness here!
Rocky River Vineyards offers everything from a sweet Muscadine to a full-bodied Chambourcin. Try the sit-down tasting experience and sample eight different wines or choose a wine flight of five pours.
Cabo Winery is known for its laidback vibes and was created to turn the traditional wine-tasting experience on its head. Cabo Winery welcomes everyone with open arms — whether you know the difference between a merlot and a cabernet or not.
You won’t just find wine at Dover Vineyards. It’s also an organic farm. In addition to making and selling a variety of wines, Dover also sells homegrown produce.
Housed in a nearly century-old prison, Southern Grace Distilleries distills whiskey and bourbon in small batches. You can book a tour of the historic prison or, on select Friday nights, you can join an after-hours tour to see areas of the facility not shown during the normal tour.
Every Season is Epic in Cabarrus County
While the activities above are offered year-round, Cabarrus County also has tons of seasonal activities that are worth the trip. No matter what time of year, check out highlights from every season below to help jumpstart your visit.
Explore: Fasten your seatbelt for a full lineup of happenings including the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway and Memorial Day celebration at Charlotte Motor Speedway, culminating with the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600. Enjoy spring festivals and events alongside beautiful blooms in Cabarrus County’s charming downtown districts.
Savor: In addition to racing, experience another great North Carolina tradition — barbecue. Sample some of the best during the “Jiggy With the Piggy” festival in May.
Explore: Enjoy the summer season with fireworks and 4th of July celebrations, splash pads and drive-in movies on the giant SpeedwayTV. Take in Summer Shootout races and the Monster Truck Bash, have a blast at Kannapolis Cannon Ballers baseball games and sway to the sounds of summer on amphitheater lawns at local parks during outdoor concerts.
Savor: From monster milkshakes to summer fudge flavors, cool down and indulge in a variety of sweet treats from one of Cabarrus County’s many ice cream and specialty dessert shops.
Explore: Experience our version of fall color as eye-catching race cars zoom past during the NHRA Carolina Nationals, NASCAR Cup Series Bank of America ROVAL 400 and World of Outlaws World Finals. Plus, honor our state’s music legends during the NC Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, pick a pumpkin at Riverbend Farm, sip seasonal brews at Oktoberfest celebrations and more.
Savor: Whether you prefer a simple cup of tea or a pumpkin spice latte with all the extras, be delighted with fresh-brewed beverages from Cabarrus County’s coffee shops.
Explore: From racing to skydiving, stay warm with indoor attractions and wrap up your holiday shopping at Concord Mills. Entertain your crew and make magical memories at special events, including train rides on the Winterland Express at Village Park in Kannapolis and Speedway Christmas, a drive-thru holiday spectacular featuring 4 million lights.
Savor: Cozy up with a delicious cocktail and hearty meal from a local eatery. The festive feel in each Cabarrus County community is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
Book Your Trip
Now that you have an entire vacation’s worth of activities at your fingertips, the only thing left is to book your lodging. Use our list of places to stay throughout Cabarrus County and book your trip now!