Rafting Near Charlotte, NC
Best Whitewater Rafting near charlotte
Charlotte has so many options nearby for enjoying the fun, splashes and adventure of white water rafting. These three rivers, the Chattooga National Wild and Scenic River, the Pigeon River, and the Nantahala River are all within 2+ hours of Charlotte. These rivers offer white water rafting trips for first-timers and beginners all the way to adventure enthusiasts. Trips range from easy going Class 1-2 floats for ages 5+ to exciting Class 3-4+ adventure for ages 12+.
There is also white water rafting in Charlotte on a man-made, concrete recirculating, whitewater river at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC). This river is a lot of fun, and also really different from the natural rivers of the Chattooga, Pigeon and Nantahala. The USNWC experience is about a 1 1/2 hour fun introduction to rafting on a course with concrete river banks and man-made rapids using concrete structures to create waves, drops, and more. There are rafting course options for ages 8+, 11+, and 16+. The USNWC is also a training site for whitewater slalom racers, in addition to having a host of other activities to enjoy at their location.
What's the Difference Between Rafting on Man-Made Rivers & Natural Rivers?
White water rafting on a man-made whitewater course and on a natural river is different in several key ways.
- The USNWC course trip is 1 1/2 hours, the natural river trips are from 2 1/5 to full day trips.
- Full day river trips on natural rivers have lunch on the riverbank with time to explore nearby scenery like waterfalls.
- You are likely to see wildlife like eagles, great blue herons, river otters, and fish on a natural river.
- Rafting trips on natural rivers include opportunities for swimming & floating in the clean river.
- Swimming in the man-made river course is not encouraged because its a recirculating, closed loop water system with filters and chemicals disinfecting the water regularly.
The conclusion: Whitewater rafting experiences on natural rivers and on man-made courses are loads of fun, but very different. Be sure to pick the experience that matches your group's ages and adventure appetite. As younger rafters grow - more rivers and trips are available to them - it's healthy, outdoor, active fun for everyone all through the years. Try them all!
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We are ready to guide you to the perfect mix of white water rafting, ziplining and other outdoor adventures, matched with unique yurt or cabin lodging and plenty of connection time with family & friends. We've been helping guests enjoy fantastic adventures in the Smoky Mountains since 1971.