Dan Nicholas Park, located in Salisbury, just under an hour north of Charlotte, is a remarkable hybrid recreation experience. On one hand, it offers amusement park attractions. On the other, it's a sprawling nature preserve, great for a hike in the woods. On the whole, I recommend it for a day out.
Here's a good way to experience some of everything Dan Nicholas Park has to offer.
Park at the boat dock parking lot. Head toward the lake and take a left to cross a bridge that will take you on a short hike along the banks. This is a pleasant stroll, good for exploring.
After you pass the campground, but before you reach the dam, you can veer into the woods to do a fun, but easy loop trail
before returning to the lake. This option will add up to about 2 miles from the parking lot and back.
To get to the amusement attractions
, follow the trail across the dam and take a left toward the paddle boats and concession stand. From there, there's a paved path that leads to the activity hub. Here, you'll find a carousel, a train, a nature center, miniature golf, a gem mine, a playground, a splash pad and paddle boats.
One of the appealing things about Dan Nicholas Park is the reasonable prices. Except for gem-mining, everything costs a dollar or less. There are also bundle package deals on tickets for a certain sets of activities.
Visit the train depot to purchase tickets, then make your way around the attractions
-- all within a quarter mile loop. Check out the website for a park map
Pack a lunch to make a day of it; there are plenty of picnic tables, shelters and shady spots to spread a blanket. There are also restroom facilities and concessions.
How to get there:
Dan Nicholas Park is located at 6800 Bringle Ferry Road, Salisbury, NC 28146.
Don't forget to pack:
- Water: Stay hydrated; there are places to refill.
- Comfortable shoes: Especially if you plan to hike a bit.
- Cash: For admission to attractions.
- Sunscreen, hats and sunglasses: The trail is partially shaded, but the amusement park area is fairly wide open.
- Snacks or a lunch: If you plan to stay a while.
- Towels and a change of clothes: If the splash pad is on your agenda.
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