Number One Reason To Visit Nantahala National Forest

Nantahala Outdoor Center

The Nantahala Outdoor Center is a recreational hub inside of Nantahala National Forest on the Nantahala River.

We can easily make a day trip out of the Nantahala Outdoor Center and it is one of our favorites.  This past Saturday was one of those where I just had to get out of the house and away from my laptop so off to Nantahala National Forest we went.  We packed up a lunch because we never know where we will actually end up and hit the road!

Our first stop of the day was the Nantahala Outdoor Center
where we started with a liquid lunch!

You can easily spend your whole day here! You may actually need to if you have a couple of these drinks!

Mountaintop Zip Line Tour, which I have yet to try but is on my list!
Whitewater rafting
Train excursions
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (You would never catch me on a paddle board on a river known for it’s whitewater rafting but we did find a few trying it out.  Check out the videos here!
Mountain Biking

You can also combine several of these options and make package deals.

Lodging can be arranged as well.  There are cabins, a motel, and platform tents.  There is also a place called Basecamp.  These are hostel-style, budget-friendly bunkhouses where many hikers on the Appalachian Trail choose to stay overnight.  There are restaurants, bars, shopping and live music!  This is quite the respite for an avid hiker.

Check the calendar of events here before you go!  It’s a great place but we ended up here with 30,000 other people during the Freestyle World Kayaking Championship one year.  I love kayaking too, but not enough to deal with that many people in one place!

My other favorite thing about Nantahala Outdoor Center are the lessons and training classes that they offer.  There are several options that are very affordable and worthwhile.

Paddling School – Canoeing and kayaking lessons
Raft Guide School – Learn how to work as a professional river guide
Swiftwater Rescue – If you are a paddling enthusiast you can’t miss this one!  It does just what it says…teaches you rescue techniques for swiftwater situations.
Wilderness Survival School – There are programs that range from 1-5 days as well as custom programs!  The things taught in this class are things that everyone should know.  Fire starting, natural shelters, plants that are safe to eat, etc…
SOLO Wilderness Medicine – These classes teach CPR, First Aid, Wilderness First Responder Certification, Wilderness EMT, health and safety preparedness to overseas travel, and tactical combat casualty care.  These may be a little more than you think you need to know but you can never be too prepared.

You can click on each of the links above to see what specific courses are offered and the pricing details for each one.

Once you leave NOC head further into Nantahala National Forest for some interesting sights and beautiful views!


  1. I was actually supposed to head up to North Carolina today and spend the weekend there, but due to the stormy weather and uncertain roadway conditions, I decided it was best to stay put and stay out of [potential] harm’s way. The Outdoor Center sounds like a fabulous place my best friend and I would enjoy. I’ll have to make sure to try and include it in our plans the next time I actually make it up to North Carolina!

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