bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background

One day in Charlotte, NC (visit #1)–Winter Loop to Austin

This post is about our visit in early 2017 as part of our Winter Loop to Austin trip. Click to read about our subsequent visits in late 2017, early 2020, and early 2021.

dog at birdsong brewing, charlotte


If you google “campgrounds in Charlotte,” you’ll see several dots outside Charlotte’s I-485 perimeter loop, and just one dot inside the circle: Elmore RV Park and Campground. Despite some low reviews, we stayed there for its proximity to the center of the city, and found it to be quiet and pleasant, with friendly staff. We’d definitely recommend it to adults (they advertise that they’re an adult community, and there really isn’t much there for kids) RV camping in Charlotte.

Looking at the map, it’s a short distance to the artsy NoDa neighborhood along North Davidson Street, but the campground staff advised against walking along busy N Tryon St as cars zip in and out of the strip malls with low pedestrian awareness. It’s a cheap Lyft ride from Elmore to the center of NoDa, or an easy drive, and parking wasn’t a problem for us late on a weekday afternoon.

Exploring NoDa

A long, long, long, long time ago I lived in Charlotte, so it was fun to go back and explore a neighborhood I didn’t spend much time in back in the day. We only had about six hours to spend exploring, so instead of visiting my old haunts in the Elizabeth and Dilworth areas, we focused on nearby NoDa, a walkable area full of old mills and warehouses-turned-shops, galleries, and music venues, but more in line with our needs: breweries and restaurants.

We walked Bugsy around the neighborhood, scouting places to revisit in the evening–a couple bars, a brewery, and a taco place with “fish taco” in the name!!! Then we jumped in the car to drive to two breweries on the edges of NoDa before taking Bugsy home and heading back out in a Lyft. Here are the NoDa establishments we stopped by:

Birdsong Brewing Co

dog at birdsong brewing in charlotte

We shared a flight and enjoyed the mild weather in Birdsong Brewing’s dog-friendly yard. The pale and IPA were excellent, but the Honeypie DIPA tasted too much like honey for our liking.

NoDa Brewing Co

flight at noda brewing in charlotte
chana masala taco at noda brewing

And then we shared a flight at NoDa Brewing and found a new favorite beer: their Hop Drop and Roll IPA. The saison was also good, and we really liked the session IPA. To cap off a great brewery experience, the chana masala taco from the Tin Kitchen food truck outside was AMAZING.

Heist Brewery

beer at the bar at heist brewing

After NoDa, we took Bugsy and the car home to the campground and caught a Lyft back into the heart of NoDa to Heist Brewery. Heist feels more like a restaurant than a brewery, and has a full food and cocktail menu in addition to the beers. We tend to prefer the atmosphere at breweries where the beer is the focus, and Heist was no exception.

Cabo Fish Taco

dinner at cabo fish taco

Not far from Heist on the main neighborhood drag is Cabo Fish Taco. There are several highly-rated restaurants in NoDa where we could have eaten dinner, but if there’s a place that has “fish taco” in its name, I kind of have to eat there. We were not disappointed–we had guac to start, then I had fish tacos and J had some sort of meat tacos and it was so much food and everything tasted wonderful. The bbq fish taco was particularly interesting and delightful.


nightcap at haberdish

One of the aforementioned highly-rated restaurants where we could have eaten was Haberdish. The swanky interior lured us in for a nightcap at the bar. The cocktails were creative and the regional Carolina cuisine on the dinner menu looked interesting (although they don’t have fish tacos).

Several other NoDa eateries and drinkeries caught our eye, and when we return we’ll try to expand our horizons and not just spend our entire visit at NoDa Brewing and Cabo Fish Taco (or just eating chana masala tacos at the brewery): a few other breweries are sprinkled around the neighborhood, there’s a dog bar where you can let your dog run around off-leash while you drink, a couple popsicle shops, and (if we can stay up late enough) I used to love seeing bands play at Neighborhood Theatre. We’ll be back!


3 responses to “One day in Charlotte, NC (visit #1)–Winter Loop to Austin”

  1. […] that cool part of town is full of breweries. Read about our first two Airstream trips to Charlotte here and […]

  2. […] from VA, so I kept our options toward Northern Florida to minimize the schlep. The campground in Charlotte is the one I mentioned in Part I that would make a good stopover point on the way […]

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