A good swim in the pool or the ocean is always nice, but sometimes you just want to relax and float. And there’s nothing better for those moments than a lazy river. Whether it’s a man-made river in the middle of a resort or a naturally-made spot, the state of North Carolina has lots of places to kick back, relax and enjoy a slow ride down the river.


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Lions Water Adventure, Kinston (Nearby Hotels)

Lions Water Adventure, a family-friendly water park in Kinston, NC, has all kinds of attractions for summertime fun, including three water slides, one of which stands at a whopping 32 feet tall. There’s also a 5,000 square foot kiddie pool for the little ones that features separate slides, fountains, sprayers and a water dump bucket. For kicking back and relaxing, there’s the 550-foot long lazy river that you can float down on a single tube or a double tube.

Carolina Harbor Waterpark at Carowinds, Charlotte (Nearby Hotels)

Located within the Carowinds Amusement Park in Charlotte, Carolina Harbor is a world of fun all to itself. The biggest attraction in the park is Blackbeard’s Revenge – a six-story high complex of waterslides, but there’s also a four-person raft ride, an interactive water area for preschoolers and a two-acre play area with water guns, spray jets and more. But, if you want to take a float across two states, you’ll want to hop on a tube and head down Coastal Currents – a 1,000 foot lazy river that twists and winds through both North and South Carolina.

Fontana Village Resort, Fontana Dam (Nearby Hotels)

In the Nantahala National Forest in the Western North Carolina mountains, the Fontana Village Resort is the ideal way to have a Smoky Mountain vacation. Nestled in a wooded setting, this family-friendly destination has everything you need for your next trip, including a variety of accommodations from guest rooms to campsites, and plenty of amenities like miniature golf, disc golf, a fitness center, general store, gift shops and a full-service marina. For cooling off in the summertime, take a dip in the Stone Creek Pool or float down the lazy river as you sip on a drink from the on-site snack bar.

Davidson River, Brevard (Nearby Hotels)

For a real-life, natural lazy river, check out the Davidson River, located just outside of Brevard, NC. With shallow, knee-deep water, smooth rocks and a calm, leisurely ride, this river is fun for riders of all ages. Just rent a tube at the entrance to the Pisgah National Forest and then start your ride down the river wherever you’d like. Since rentals are good for 24-hours, you can also ride as many times as you want!

Cape Fear River, Lillington (Nearby Hotels)

For another natural lazy river experience, try Cape Fear River Adventures in Lillington, NC. Here, you can take a guided two-mile lazy river ride that begins in Lillington at the company’s river shack and winds through scenic forest backdrops. Since the Cape Fear River is a slow moving river, the ride usually lasts about five hours, as you float about a half mile per hour. That’s the perfect speed to kick back and enjoy a cool beverage as you enjoy the ride!

Deep Creek, Bryson City (Nearby Hotels)

If you want a natural lazy river ride with the best scenery, you’ll want to check out Deep Creek, outside of Bryson City, NC. As you float down the crystal-clear mountain water, you’ll see beautiful Smoky Mountain landscapes on either side and may possibly even spot a natural spring or two. You’ll also pass some waterfalls as you kick back and relax, including the majestic Tom Branch Falls. There are two sections to the Creek though – the upper section, which gives riders a more exciting ride, and the lower section, which is more family-friendly, providing an easy, smooth ride.

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