How to Get the Most Out of Your Day at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC

How to Get the Most Out of Your Day at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC

The US National Whitewater Center is a great place to visit when in Charlotte, North Carolina (especially if you love doing outdoor activities). Whenever we have guests in town, this is the place we take them and everyone has loved it so far. No one has really seen anything like it before so it’s exciting that they get to try something new.

Since we have a season pass, we go all the time and have learned some crucial tips to making the visit much more enjoyable. These tips will help you do everything you want and keep you from waiting in long lines.

TIP #1: Go on a Sunday. When I first started going, one of the employees told me the best day to go was Sunday. My husband and I started going and there were no long lines since a lot of people are at church in the morning. You can typically get through all of the activities by 3 PM.

TIP #2: Get there by 8:45 AM. The lines for activities can get as bad as Disney World…If you get there early, you can bypass all of the long lines and get through all of the activities. Zipline lines can get up to two hours long as they can only run about 30 people per hour if both tracks are running.

TIP #3: Dress for the water. Instead of having to change, I go in a one piece swimsuit with dri-fit shorts and closed-toe tennis shoes. Normally when I go in the spring and summer, I’m able to get pretty dry from walking around in the sun – no towel or change of clothes needed. You just waste time having to do that.

Dressed for the Water US National Whitewater Center Charlotte, NC
Dressed for the Water

TIP #4: Don’t forget the sunscreen. You will get burned if you don’t wear sunscreen because there’s barely any shade when you’re walking around. Go with a long-lasting, sport sunscreen so you don’t have to keep applying all day long. If not, you’ll have to go back out to your car or pay for a locker.

TIP #5: Eat at Their Restaurant. Yes, it’s cheaper to go somewhere else to eat, but that would require you leaving and wasting time to go find food – and there’s really nothing nearby. The restaurant on-site has great food, service and seating. You can sit outside in the shade (or sun if that’s your preference) watching people whitewater raft. It’s a great time to take a break and rest until the next round of activities.

US National Whitewater Center Charlotte, NC
Lunch on the patio at River’s Edge

Don’t forget to load up on free water at the table! Since you’re not allowed to bring in your own drinks, water bottles get costly. When you eat at the restaurant, you can load up on tap water while you’re eating.

TIP #6: Disconnect and go with as little as possible! You’re having fun in nature – do you really need your phone? My husband and I love unplugging for the day and enjoying each other’s company. Plus, we don’t have to worry about paying for storage.

TIP #7: Go to Hawk’s Island for zip-lining FIRST. Since the zip lines are the most popular, head over there first. Hop in line for double-down or figure 8. You’ll come back to the same location. Then, you can decide to do the 100 ft jump and ropes courses. While the jumps don’t get a long line, the ropes courses do. Keep that in mind before you leave the island.

Hawk Island US National Whitewater Center Charlotte, NC
Hawk Island US National Whitewater Center Charlotte, NC

TIP #8: Wear a waterproof watch. You’ll have a whitewater appointment that you don’t want to miss. Kayaking and paddleboarding only allow you to be out for 90 minutes. Since you can’t bring your phone on certain activities, it’s best to wear a waterproof watch to keep you on schedule while still allowing you to disconnect from technology.

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