Six fun, cheap Charlotte exercise-related outdoor activities

The time of bathing suits and suntans has arrived, and college students everywhere are looking to get swimsuit-ready bodies for summer.

Here are several Charlotte outdoor exercise activities that will allow students to tan and get fit at the same time.

1. Disc Golf

Disc golf is an activity that involves throwing a flying disc into a basket, usually about 300 feet away, in as few attempts as possible. Sounds easy, right? Hilly terrain, large trees, water hazards and mandatory zones (usually arrows demanding your disc must pass on one side of a tree) will make you think twice. The Charlotte area is home to many disc golf courses, the closest of which are at Pinewood Elementary (nine holes), Renaissance Park (two courses of 18 holes each), and Kilborne TPC (18 holes). For those that have played a round or two before, Pinewood is a simple, warmup course, but may be a great starter for those who have never played. Renaissance Grey/Gold is ranked as one of the toughest in Charlotte, but its Renske counterpart is slightly easier. Kilborne is easier than Grey/Gold, but harder than Renske. Other recommended courses include Plantation Ruins at Winget and Winthrop University. Maps are available for most courses at, and it is recommended that you have access to those maps while playing the round.

The only equipment necessary for play are discs, which are available to borrow from the Levine Center for free. Other recommended equipment includes a score sheet for competitive players, a towel to wipe off muddy discs, closed toed shoes, water and a map.

Cost: Free

Date: Vary by course, but typically open during daylight

2. Evergreen Nature Preserve

A 77-acre “urban forest” is across U.S. Highway 74, only 15 minutes away from campus. Evergreen Nature Preserve offers two miles of hiking trails through fields, forest and across streams. Hikers should plan ahead, though: there are no restroom facilities available.

Cost: Free

3. Latta Park
Remember when you were little and wanted nothing more than to run through the sprinkler? Although Queens may not offer that, Latta Park, approximately 10 minutes up East Blvd, leaves the sprinklers on all day. Spend the day at the park, where you also have the option of an open field, tennis courts, a volleyball court, a picnic shelter and a grill to have a carefree day off campus without touching the bank account.

Cost: Free

Date: Everyday

4. Wedgewood Church’s Farmers Market
Have a hankering for some fresh produce? Keep your money local by visiting one of the many farmers markets in town. One of the closest markets is located in Wedgewood Church’s parking lot, where customers are greeted to a variety of different fruits, vegetables and meats, including some organic selections.

Cost: Varies

Date: Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

5. Carrowinds
Wait, this list was supposed to be affordable even on a college budget. Carrowinds doesn’t fit that description, does it? Admittedly one of the more expensive options, Carrowinds does offer a cheaper option by providing a ticket for $29.99 after 4 p.m., which allows access to newly added Fury325, the tallest and fastest gigacoaster in the world, as well as the rest of the park for six hours on Fridays and Saturdays. At $5/hour, that’s a deal too good to pass up.

Cost: Starting at $29.99 per ticket (grants access from 4 p.m. till close)

Dates: Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

6943179193_4fa7cfc7a2_oMike Kalasnik, copyright, 2012, taken from Flickr
6. Tuck Fest

Tuck Fest is once again on the list because you are not only invited to watch the events, but you may also join and compete! The most expensive item on the list, Tuck Fest requires a one-time $35 registration fee ($40 at the door, so register early online). Participants may use this registration fee to compete in only one event, or participate in all the events over the weekend, provided those events do not require an AllSport Pass.

Dates: First event begins at 5:15 p.m. on April 17. Final event begins at 2:30 p.m. on April 19.

Cost: $35 online registration, $40 at the door

This article is part three of a three-article series dedicated to cheap, fun Charlotte activities for Queens students. 

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.