There’s nothing quite as American as a baseball game in the summertime. It’s the perfect way to kick back and have a little fun with the family on a warm summer evening and the state of North Carolina has plenty of beautiful ballparks to do just that. From the small beach cities of the east to the mountain towns of the west, check out these spots to celebrate America’s favorite pastime.
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Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham (Nearby Hotels)
Made famous by the 1980’s Kevin Costner movie, Bull Durham, the Durham Bulls have been around since 1902. After being an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves until 1997, the team moved up two levels and became a Triple-A International League team, where they are now an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Their home base, the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in downtown Durham, gives a beautiful nod to old-fashioned ballparks with its old-style manual scoreboard, but also includes modern conveniences like the trio of Diamond View buildings which feature viewing areas, retail space, office space and restaurants.
BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte (Nearby Hotels)
The BB&T Ballpark, the home of the Triple-A Charlotte Knights, was opened in the heart of uptown Charlotte in 2014. Not only does this ballpark give visitors an amazing view of the Charlotte skyline, but they also serve up local craft beers and deliciously unique food items like the Philly cheesesteak nachos, the Dragon Flame Burger topped with pimento cheese, and Homer’s Citrus Dog, which comes with a healthy topping of orange soda coleslaw. It doesn’t get much more Southern than that! Plus, the NC-based frozen yogurt chain, The Fuzzy Peach, has an on-site location right behind right field!
McCormick Field, Asheville (Nearby Hotels)
Although McCormick Field in Asheville may not be very big, it does have a rich history that dates all the way back to the 1920’s. In fact, it is currently the oldest minor league ballpark still in regular use. As with most spots in this Western North Carolina mountain town, the park features a beautiful backdrop of wooded scenery and a completely renovated facility that was rebuilt in 1992. It now has larger restrooms and concession stands, as well as a mighty right field fence that stands almost as tall as Fenway Park’s “Green Monster” at 36 feet.
NewBridge Bank Park, Greensboro (Nearby Hotels)
NewBridge Bank Park, located in downtown Greensboro, is the most recent home of the city’s minor league team, the Grasshoppers. Although they played at the historic World War Memorial Stadium for decades, they moved after the 2004 season and have been enjoying the new, modern facility ever since. Set against a backdrop of the downtown Greensboro skyline, the park seats just under 7,500 attendees and features 16 luxury suites, 26 grandstand boxes, a grandstand party deck, a retail store, picnic areas and a children’s play area. There is also a concrete concourse that wraps around the entire stadium, allowing fans a 360-degree view of the game.
Intimidators Stadium, Kannapolis (Nearby Hotels)
Named after the legendary NASCAR racing legend, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Intimidators Stadium is home to the Kannapolis Intimidators, a minor league baseball team and Class-A Affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Although the park is said to have some of the best rated clubhouses and press box in the league, what it is probably most well-known for is the famous “Dale’s Mater Sandwich.” The sandwich, which consists of tomatoes, mayonnaise, salt and pepper on grilled white bread, is a summertime staple in North Carolina and was a favorite of Dale Earnhardt, hence the name.
David F. Couch Ballpark, Winston-Salem (Nearby Hotels)
If you want to catch a little college baseball action, make sure to visit David F. Couch Ballpark in Winston-Salem, the current home of Wake Forest University’s baseball team and the former home to the city’s minor league baseball team – the Winston-Salem Dash. The team played at the historic ballpark, which was then called Ernie Shore Field, for more than 40 years. Ernie Shore was a NC native and a major league pitcher who played alongside the famous Babe Ruth with the Boston Red Sox during the early 1900’s. Although the original charm still remains, the park has been updated and modernized, and now includes a 41,000 square foot facility with a locker room, lounge, training room, kitchen and even a high-tech pitching laboratory that can analyze the mechanics of each player’s performance.