According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.54 square miles. Waxhaw is located north of Lancaster, South Carolina and lies about twelve miles south of the Charlotte city limit.
Waxhaw is located in the historic region called the Waxhaws and named after the indigenous Native American tribe that lived there prior to colonial settlement. Waxhaw is in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, which is a wooded area with rolling hills. This region is where gold was first discovered in the United States. The Howie Gold Mine is not far from the city limits.
Waxhaw has evolved as an antique and fine dining center. Its Small Town Main Street has dozens of specialty shops and dining restaurants. The Waxhaw Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. It includes retail businesses as well as architecturally significant houses near the center of town. Also listed is the Pleasant Grove Camp Meeting Ground.