With the weather warming and outdoor event season heating up, there are plenty of reasons to make plans to visit Charlotte’s 400-acre U.S. National Whitewater Center. From riverside concerts to helmet cams, we’ve found five ways to get on the fast track to fun at this waterfront adventure-centric park.
Prefer a side dish of adrenaline alongside your dinner? This bi-monthly excursion offers two hours of sunset ziplining before cozying up to a fire pit for a chef-prepared meal. You’ll hit five lines, working up an appetite as you traverse through woods, across gorges, and down two rope bridges, before repelling out by the Catawba River. End the evening fireside with dinner, drinks (local craft beers and wine accompany each meal), and dessert.
This concert series fills up fast on warm spring and summer nights — and with good reason. It would be hard to find a better setting for catching this season’s lineup of popular local bands including Overmountain Men, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and Sol Driven Train. A waterside stage makes for a picturesque backdrop to the tunes, while grassy hills are ideal for settling in for the evening. The best seat in the house, though, may be on the patio of Rivers Edge Bar & Grill, where you’ll find more than 20 craft beers on tap, as well as southern-inspired bites such as fried pickles and jalapeño pimento cheese.
When this cruise first set sail in 2011, the featured brews came from around the state. These days, though, you’re set to be sipping beers from local Charlotte breweries for almost all of the upcoming spring nights. But there’s more than just craft brews on tap for these evenings. After an hour of sunset paddling on the Catawba, head to Hawk Island for a fireside dinner and education from brewery reps as you sample new and seasonal offerings.
If seven live bands — including big name groups such as Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops — aren’t enough to tempt you to this upcoming three-day extravaganza (April 19-21), maybe the more than 20 outdoor events will do the trick. At this first-annual festival, you’ll find activities ranging from family-friendly obstacle course races to exhilarating competitions including whitewater kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, climbing, and even a half-marathon trail race.
HD Helmet Cam Rentals
Forget your iPhone camera. Now, whether you’re crossing a canyon, touring a canopy, or climbing a rock, you can capture the entire experience with the center’s new GoPro HD Helmet Cam. The cameras, which are strapped onto a multi-sport helmet, offer two hours of recording time for your day of adventure. When it’s time to leave, take home a USB Drive of your footage so you can show off your adrenaline-junkie skills to family and friends.
Photos courtesy of U.S.National Whitewater Center