Adventure Travel

The U.S. National Whitewater Center

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U.S. National Whitewater Center

How will you find time to relax this summer? For some it means getting out of town. For others, it means finding the nearest outdoor escape. Head to the U.S. National Whitewater Center this summer to alleviate your wanderlust.

The U.S. National Whitewater Center may be known for having every class rapid, and for being the training facility for the U.S. Olympic team. As soon as you drive up to the facility you can already feel that it’s going to be so much more. The U.S. National Whitewater Center is a must-see in Charlotte, North Carolina, and if you’re in North Carolina at all, you might as well find your way to Charlotte at some point.

Once you get past the long and winding road through the trees, you’ll first see the rock walls and zip lines peeking over the facility. Don’t miss the enormous outfitters store—it’s stocked with paddle boards, kayaks, rafting gear, and everything from yoga mats to fleece sweatshirts. If you’re in town for the Riverjam, every Thursday and Saturday throughout summer, then make sure you snag a towel from the shop if you forgot a blanket. Our tip? Get your beer inside the outfitters shop so that you don’t have to wait in line elsewhere. Our recommendation? The Mango Tango IPA.

Artists like Nathaniel Rateliff, JJ Grey, and Dawes have been featured at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Riverjam is a particularly fun time to be at the center because of the bustling crowds and beautiful sunsets.

Rafts are filling with small groups as they wind through the sidewalks and around the beer garden and behind the stage. Climbers dangle from the rock walls leaning over the water’s edge. Zip lines run across the entire place, but pass over the stage, even while bands perform. Dogs, hammocks, and joyful families are seen everywhere.

When I visited the U.S. National Whitewater Center, as an outdoor-loving, rock climbing, beer-obsessed concertgoer, I found this place to be paradise. I settled on the green with my craft beer while people were still enjoying the park. Eventually the rapids died down and the sun fell behind the rock wall. Crowds gathered in front of the stage to watch a band called Waker. This 7-piece band got kids doing cartwheels in the front and couples swing dancing in the back.

If you are lucky enough to wind up at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, check out the Riverjam and buy a day pass so you can enjoy all of the activities. If you don’t want to climb, raft of zip line, it’s still well worth your time to enjoy the scenes, spend time outdoors, and see live music. Just a little ways outside of the city, near Belmont Abbey College, the whitewater center feels like a far away paradise that you’ll want to spend every day of summer at. Kick back, grab a brew, and soak in the summer as you take in the sounds of the zip-line, band, and rapids.

Kate Wilke is the content manager at 301brands, and she's the editor of DailyBeautyHack.com, and the lifestyle editor at OhMyVeggies.com. When she's not paddle boarding or skiing, she's informing someone about global warming (or cats) over a local double IPA. Follow her on Instagram — @kateewilke