Davidson Village Inn

The US National Whitewater Center: A Must-Visit Attraction

us national whitewater center

Photo Credit: Jeremy Thompson via Flickr

The US National Whitewater Center is one of the Charlotte metro’s most famous attractions. If you love to explore the outdoors and particularly the ancient forests of North Carolina, then this is a trip you don’t want to miss. Located on 700 acres along the Catawba River, there are so many different activities and adventures to be had regardless of what you’re interests are. If you’re looking for a place to take a leisurely hike or rip down the river in gnarly rapids, you can do both at this outdoor haven. Founded on the principles play, relax and learn, you are sure to find opportunities for each at the US National Whitewater Center.


  • Water activities offered are whitewater rafting, kayaking and standup paddleboarding. An official Olympic Training Site for slalom kayakers, there are frequent sessions throughout the week and competitions all year for world-class competitors. If you’re looking for something a little more laid back, the flatwater activities are a great option for an easy ride on the river.
  • The canopy tours are an exceptional way to explore the forests along the Catawba. Offering both daytime and twilight trips, the US National Whitewater Center has incredible courses through these old woods.
  • The Whitewater Race Series hosts a variety of events throughout the year from 5k runs to trail races and SUP sprints. These are for the competitive at heart.
  • There area a variety of land activities ranging from hardcore to leisurely. Explore the many trials by foot or bike, or hit the ropes course suspended a few stories high. Rock wall climbing and ziplines are also great fun if you’re looking to stay dry.


  • After a long day exploring the US National Whitewater Center head to one of the great food and beverage establishments on site to unwind and refuel. The Pump House Biergarten offers a great craft beer selection while the market has numerous grab-and-go options. River’s Edge Bar and Grill has a wide selection of food and beer, and a patio overlooking the river.
  • Adventure Dining is another great way to explore part of this beautiful oasis while keeping it leisurely and food-centered. There are different options depending on what activities and dining experience you’re looking for.
  • Thursdays and Saturdays in the warmer months head out for riverjam, a concert series featuring both local and international performers.
  • Festivals happen throughout the season with everything from a Fourth of July Celebration to a beer festival.


  • Educational adventures are popular for school-aged kids, with many elementary groups coming for environmental trips.
  • Corporate groups often come for team development days where they tackle challenges and strengthen their ties as coworkers and friends.
  • There are summer camps throughout those long vacation months that will keep the kids occupied and outside.
  • For people looking for certifications in certain outdoorsman skills, there are instruction and certification events throughout the year.

The US National Whitewater Center is just a thirty-minute drive from the Davidson Village Inn, the perfect place to crash after a long day exploring the Catawba River.