• Charlie Leonard

Get Outside: Your guide to the parks of Lowell, McAdenville, Mount Holly and Stanley

Gaston County is fortunate to have a rich portfolio of lush green spaces to explore. Beautiful greenways and serene waterways form an interconnected network of parks and trails with most of them an official component of the Carolina Thread Trail. In a County that’s growing fast, these spaces provide an accessible escape into nature, giving adults and kids valuable time outdoors.

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

Towns around I-85 and I-485, especially near the border with Charlotte, are growing at some of the fastest rates. That includes the towns of Lowell, McAdenville, Mount Holly, and Stanley. These towns have interesting downtowns, great cult-classic food, cool antiques spaces, and many other great amenities, including green spaces.

If you need a place that’s nearby where you live, or you’re ready to explore somewhere new, these four towns have great local parks and recreational offerings that are ready for your visit.


Bob Bolick Park

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

501 W. First St.

Open 24/7

Adjacent to the Lowell Community Center, Bob Bolick Park has amenities that are great for kids and adults. Featured at the park are playground pieces that include an ADA accessible swing, an outdoor basketball court, picnic tables, and a Little Free Library.

Harold Rankin Park

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

519 Park Cir.

Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Harold Rankin Park is another park with multiple amenities on site. You’ll find baseball and softball fields, a soccer field, kids’ playground equipment, a covered shelter with picnic tables, and more. Follow the link above for the full list of amenities and rental information.

Joe Hudson Neighborhood Park

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

305 Reid St.

Joe Hudson Neighborhood Park is a small park off Reid Street but great for basketball lovers. The park consists of two outdoor basketball courts–perfect for a quick game of hoops, H-O-R-S-E, or any basketball-centric game that brings out the competitive fire every North Carolinian has deep down.

Lowell Community Center

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

501 W. First St.

Available by Appointment, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.

The Lowell Community Center consists of meeting rooms, a kitchen facility, and tables and chairs. It’s available for rent and holds up to 48 occupants. Rental information and other general information can be found in the link above

Recreational Offerings

The city of Lowell also has recreational activities available to participate in. Follow this link for sign-up forms and an up-to-date list of activities.


Legacy Park

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

Elm St.

Daily, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.

Located near the Pharr Family YMCA, Mcadenville’s Legacy Park is a small park that’s right in the heart of downtown. Established in 2021, the park is mostly greenspace and brick walkways, but there is also a kids' playground area located on the grounds. It’s an excellent resting place after exploring the shops and sights downtown.

South Fork Catawba River Blueway Access

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

119 Willow Dr.

Comprising one of many access points along the South Fork Catawba River, Mcadenville’s Blueway access point gives boaters, kayakers, and canoers prime access to fun on the waterway. The over eight-mile Blueway as a whole is part of the vast Carolina Thread Trail network which starts in Spencer Mountain and stretches all the way down to Cramerton.

South Fork Trail

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

119 Willow Dr.

Running adjacent to the South Fork Catawba Rivers, the South Fork Trail section of the Carolina Thread Trail is perfect for hikers and mountain bikers. Some of the scenery includes serene views of the water, quiet sections of woods, and local flora and fauna–including butterflies as a part of the Butterfly Highway.

Mount Holly

Catawba Riverfront Greenway

Evey McFadden, Gaston Outside

231 Broome St.

The Catawba Riverfront Greenway is a one-and-a-half-mile-long trail that starts in downtown Mount Holly and wanders down to the banks of the Catawba River at Tuckaseegee Park. This Carolina Thread Trail piece helps realize the vision of the greenway system bringing businesses, residences, and nature together to boost everyone’s quality of life.

Catawba Heights Neighborhood Park

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

101 Beatty Rd.

Tucked into a neighborhood, Catawba Heights Neighborhood Park features a kids' playground area, green space, and picnic tables.

Mountain Island Park at Mount Holly

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

400 Mountain Island Rd.

Mountain Island Park at Mount Holly has many different outdoor activities to partake in. There’s a nearly two-mile trail–on the Carolina Thread Trail–a fishing pier, a canoe/kayak launch area, campsites, and a playground for kids. It’s an excellent spot for relaxing or outdoor activities away from the bustle of downtown Mount Holly.

River Street Park

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

300 N. River St.

Lined with trees, River Street Park is packed with activities for everyone. Some of the highlights include a nine-hole disc golf course, fishing access, basketball and volleyball courts, and a walking trail. Use the link above for a full list of features.

Tuckaseegee Park

Randy Rivera, Gaston Outside

165 Broome St.

Daily, 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m.

Nicknamed “Tuck Park,” Tuckaseegee Park has a multitude of things to do on-site. The grounds are home to the Tuckaseegee Community Center along with three baseball fields, four picnic shelters, a skatepark, a dog park, a kids' playground area, a connection to the Catawba Riverfront Greenway, and more. For more information, visit the link above.

Veterans Park

Anna Naphtali, Gaston Outside

127 E. Glendale Ave.

Daily, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

Veterans Park honors military veterans with a memorial on site that’s open to the public. Other features of the park include a kids' playground area, a picnic area, and a green space to enjoy.

Woodlawn Park

Grant Baldwin, Gaston Outside

511 Woodlawn Ave.

Woodlawn Park is a smaller park that has two basketball courts onsite for a quick game of hoops. Also included are a kids' playground area and green space to relax on.

Additional Recreational Offerings

Athletics Registration and additional programming are also offered by the city of Mount Holly. Follow the links listed for up-to-date information and available activities.


Common Ground

5481 Hickory Grove Rd.

Open 24/7

Stanley’s Common Ground is run by the First United Methodist Church of Stanley but operates as an unofficial town park. The extensive 3.2-mile trail network on-site weaves in and out of the nearby woods and fields on the property, providing workout stations and spiritual motivation along the way. The most popular feature is the walking track out front, the site also has a community garden, an outdoor amphitheater, a kids' playground, plus a newer multipurpose facility that has indoor basketball inside. Visit the link above for an up-to-date listing of programs and amenities.

Harper Park

Photo Courtesy of BusinessYab.com

301 Blacksnake Rd.

Daily, 6 a.m.-9 p.m.

Officially a Stanley town park, Harper Park is the newest park in town. On-site are baseball/softball fields, volleyball courts, basketball courts, a nature trail, a paved track, and a splash pad for kids.