Sunscreen? Snacks? Prepped for a day of insane-fun? Check, check, and check! Sure, Charlotte has a ton for families, but the U.S. National Whitewater Center firmly holds the crown as the very coolest spot for an amazing outdoor experience for locals and visitors alike.
Created in 2006 as the official Olympic Training Center for whitewater slalom racing, this center can now be used by anyone. The Center is home to the “world’s largest and most complex recirculating artificial whitewater river.” And on this stunning river you can pick from a vast menu of water sports, including whitewater rafting, kayaking, family rafting, adventure rafting, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding and so forth.
The Center sprawls over 700 wild acres, creating a perfect spot for land activities, too, like rock climbing (on an enormous man-made rock wall), a ropes course, a high zip-line that stretches over the white water, and hiking trails galore.
A restaurant, adventure retailer, and beer bar round out the fun.
Whether kids can participate in activities depends on their weight and age. Check the Center’s website for more information at USNWC.org. The entire family can enjoy this spot, though — seniors, kids in strollers, and canines will find an activity just right for their skill level and interest.
Hours vary through the year, but the Center opens Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and for water rides from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The zip-line stops taking riders at 6 p.m.