White water rafting on the Nantahala.
White water rafting on the Nantahala.

Just an hour northwest of Highlands, North Carolina, the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has a summer of events on tap for families, vacationers and whitewater paddlers. There’s something for guests of all ages and skill levels to enjoy during the months of July, August and September along the banks of the river.
Multi-day adventures are available for visitors interested in rafting or zip lining by day and then relaxing overnight in one of NOC’s newly renovated cabins, bunkhouses or a resort lodge with convenient access to campus activities.
The company also offers tubing, kayak and rafting rentals and trips on the Chattahoochee River.

Whitewater Junior Olympics

Nantahala Racing Club, the nonprofit partner of NOC, hosts paddlers ages 18 and under for the 2015 Whitewater Junior Olympics July 24-26. This national-level youth event features slalom, downriver and freestyle competitions. Family-friendly and fun for beginner through advanced paddlers, it’s a great opportunity for kids to meet young paddlers and families from around the country and get inspired about whitewater.

ICF Junior & U23 Whitewater Canoeing World Championships

The International Canoe Federation’s Wildwater Canoeing World Championships provides juniors and young adults under 23 with the opportunity to compete internationally in the wildwater discipline. Wildwater racing consists of individuals and teams racing from one point on the river to another point. The races take place Aug. 2-7.

Paddle Grapple

Participants in the Sept. 6 event choose from stand-up paddleboard, surfski, marathon, kayak or canoe classes in this race on Fontana Lake in the Great Smoky Mountains. With 3- and 6-mile race options available, the Paddle Grapple has something for every boater, whether recreational or elite.

Guest Appreciation Festival (GAF) & Bike Trials

The weekend of Sept. 25-27 includes craft vendors and family-friendly activities including corn hole, giant Jenga, face painting, a bounce house and more. After rafting and zip lining, guests can dance to live music on the banks of the Nantahala River.
For the complete event schedule and more information, visit noc.com/events.