The Charlotte Speedway is located in North Carolina, USA and is one of the biggest race tracks in the country. The facility opened in 1960 and is named after the founder of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bobby Johns. The speedway has a seating capacity of 96,000 which makes it the largest indoor stadium in the Southeast. It is often said that “You can’t make this stuff up”, because it’s true! The Charlotte Speedway has been the setting for a lot of memorable sporting events. From the first-ever running of the Indianapolis 500, to the Daytona 500, and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, to WrestleMania, the crowds have been incredible.
But what are the Charlotte Speedway parks like? Let’s take a look.
The Trackside Pavilion
In 1960, when the Charlotte Speedway first opened, the trackside area had picnic tables, horseshoes, and a baseball diamond. They still have some of those original picnic tables in use today, though now there is also a grill and a beer station. Behind the beer stand are the metal garages from the early 2000s, which are currently used as offices. Also surrounding the picnic area are the grandstands, which are made of concrete and steel and can hold up to 80,000 people. The current seating capacity of the grandstands is 73,000. Across from the grandstands are the paddock areas, which are used for various events, including corporate parties, family reunions, and weddings.
There is also the Heroes & Legends Monument, which honors those that had a major impact on the history of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and its riders. Nearby are the Timeless Gardens, a sculpture garden containing over 100 modern and contemporary sculptures by internationally renowned artists.
The Fan Midway
On the other side of the track from the paddock areas is the Fan Midway, which is a complex made of both brick and concrete and stretches for about a half-mile. It’s a great place to walk or meet for a picnic, and it also contains multiple restaurants, bars, and clubs.
Along the midway are rides and attractions like the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Experience, where you can walk through a simulated NASCAR race; the Cyclone, a ride that sends you around the track at 88 mph; and the Midway Scavenger Hunt, where contestants try to find hidden treats in the sand.
The Bojangles’ Bowl
On the other side of the Fan Midway is the Bojangles’ Bowl, which opened in 1988 and is named after the legendary North Carolina hog farmer, Louis Bickensy “Bojangles” Brown. The bowling alley has a total of 442 lanes and is one of the largest in the Southeast. Brown would often take his entire family and friends out for a game after church on Sunday.
The brown family bought the land for the bowl in 1944 and started construction in 1950. The first throw-down was held on March 18, 1956, and the first official game was played on March 12, 1957. The grand opening was on August 12, 1960, with a gala that included Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope (R.I.P.). There is also the Louis Bickensy Brown Memorial Bridge, which connects the Bojangles’ Bowl to the rest of the Charlotte Motor Speedway grounds.
The Rv (Recreational Vehicle) Parks
There are four RV parks by the Charlotte Speedway. Three of them are located on the backside of the track, and one is located on the front. They range in price from $45,000 to $70,000 per year, but do include some amenities that the regular parks do not. These include swimming pools, playgrounds, and fishing ponds. Here are some of the highlights.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Arena
This is the largest of the four parks and was opened in 1968. It costs $45,000 per year, though it does include some amenities that the other parks do not. For example, there is the XFINITY Theatre, which is a showplace for musical and theatrical performances as well as movie premieres. There is also a marina with a beach, pool, playground, and boat ramp.
In addition, there is the Blue Cross Blue Shield Arena Market, which is open-air and located next to the theater. It features organic produce, local art, and craft beers from around the country. There is also the Live Oak Bar & Grill, the Off The Grid Electric Cooperative, and the Black Olive Grocery & Deli, which are all located next to the market.
This park is a great place to bring a boat, as there is a boat ramp that connects to Lake Norman, which is less than a mile away. Lake Norman is one of the larger inland lakes in North Carolina and is the source of the Waverly Oaks Waterway, a scenic byway that runs along the southern shoreline.
North Charleston Stables
This park opened in 1994 and is located at the northern tip of the Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s right next to the South Carolina Aquarium and offers guests a secluded beach, with fishing off-limit due to dam restrictions. The park also features an equestrian center with horseback riding, sandcastle building, and picnic areas. The beach has a bath house, playground, and barbecue grills.
There is also the North Charleston Stables Market, which features local art, boutique clothing stores, and eateries. And the South Carolina Aquarium Market, which is open-air and located across the street from the stables. Here you will find restaurants, bars, and food trucks serving everything from fish and chips to gourmet burgers and ribs.
Charlotte Marine Aquarium
This is another secluded beach park located on the northern tip of the Charlotte Speedway and features a marina, with boat ramp and kayak launch, volleyball, horseshoes, and a playground. In addition, the aquarium is one of the largest in the Southeast and holds over 40,000 fish and corals, including sharks, stingrays, and tropical fish. The park is also the starting point of the Charlotte Harbor Waterway, which is a 62-mile waterway that connects to the Atlantic Ocean.
There is also the Charlotte Marine Aquarium Market, which is nearby and features restaurants, bars, and eateries.
Fort Mill Park
Located in the central part of the Charlotte Motor Speedway, this RV park is the smallest of the four, but still has some memorable features. The park’s biggest asset is the Lake Marion, a man-made reservoir that is located next to the site and features a sandy beach, marina with boat ramp, and playground. Besides the beach, lake, and boat ramp, the park also offers kayaks, hiking trails, mountain biking, and access to the Fort Mill Park’s recreation center. The recreation center has a indoor pool and an outdoor pool with a water slide, whirlpool, and children’s spray pool.
The park’s market sells barbecue, seafood, and craft beers, as well as local produce like watermelon, fried chicken, and sweet potato salad. In addition, the park has two marinas, with boat rentals available, and two outdoor pools with waterfall features.
In 2017, the Charlotte Motor Speedway released a new map of its recreational vehicle parks that show where each park stands in relation to the others. With some creative thinking, it’s easy to figure out a route that connects all four parks. Below, you can see a map outlining the suggested walk.
Where Can I Stay Nearby?
If you’re looking for a place to stay near the Charlotte Speedway, there are many options. Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best places to stay in North Carolina, based on Amazon reviews.
The Park Inns & Resorts
This chain of boutique hotels has two locations nearby, one at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Arena and the other at the North Charleston Stables. Both have been built in the same vein as a ‘50s Americana fair, complete with old-school carnival barkers, bustling greasy spoon restaurants, and vintage cars on display. This is the perfect spot for a leisure trip to the Carolina coast.
This 5-star hotel is located on the northwest side of the track and has direct access to the Winnings Center, the entertainment venues at the track, and the downtown area. The hotel features a marina with boat ramp, outdoor pool, tennis courts, and a spa. In addition, a free shuttle buses run between the hotel and the Speedway.