Looking for a truly unique experience in North Carolina? Or in the entire country for that matter? Look no further than the banks of the Catawba River right here in Charlotte! A short 11 miles from downtown, the U.S. National Whitewater Center is the world’s largest artificial whitewater river and an official U.S. Olympic Training Site. But it is actually so much more than that … the 307-acre public adventure-sport facility includes whitewater rafting and kayaking, mountain biking and hiking trails, a climbing center and a ropes course, and the River’s Edge Bar & Grill. And the best thing about it is that it is essentially FREE to go and hang out for the day (they have started charging $5 for parking, but well worth it for an afternoon of fun)!
My family really enjoys heading out on a sunny weekend afternoon to sit at the “river’s” edge and watch the professional kayakers expertly navigate the rapids or the amateur rafters tumble out of the boat on one of the class 4 rapids (that of course is our son’s favorite part of the day!). You can take a stroller and walk all the way around the facility watching the rafters and kayakers, or sit and relax with a drink and some snacks. They have a full menu for lunch or dinner and almost every time we’ve been there they’ve had live music on the patio. In addition to the main rock climbing wall, they also have a kid’s rock climbing area which is a lot of fun. One caution – there are no fences or rails around the “river” so hand holding or a stroller is a must for those who just want to run.
And, if you’re up for some adventure, you can always attempt to tackle the rapids yourself. The cost is pretty reasonable – only $39 per person on the weekdays and $65 per person on the weekends for rafting. Click here for rates on other activities at the center.
So, don’t be another one of those people who say “I’ve heard of that place, but haven’t made it out there yet…” The White Water Center is fun for the whole family and something you really need to check out! Have Fun!!!