What kind of adventures are on your bucket list? Skydiving? Bungee jumping? Maybe conquering your fear of heights or learning to rock climb? Whatever it is, chances are, North Carolina has the perfect place for you to mark off your next bucket list adventure. Even if your idea of adventure is a little less adrenaline-packed.
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See the "Shadow of the Bear" on Whiteside Mountain, Cashiers (Nearby Hotels)
The unique phenomenon known as the “Shadow of the Bear” happens twice a year – once in the late fall and once in the early spring on Whiteside Mountain, in the Nantahala National Forest. The best place to view this giant shadow is just outside of Cashiers, NC, at the Rhodes Big View Overlook on Highway 64. You can start to watch for “him” to emerge around 5:30 p.m., but you’ll want to stick around for about 30 minutes to get a view of the whole shadow.
Walk Down the Yellow Brick Road, Beech Mountain (Nearby Hotels)
Although this unique theme park is only open for special events, it is worth the trip. The Land of Oz, the only Wizard of Oz-themed amusement park, opened in 1970 and quickly became an overnight success. However, due to numerous issues, the park had a short life span and closed after only ten years. But, the popularity of the park and the public’s continued interest in it has kept it going to the present day. It is only open several times a year for special events like the “Autumn in Oz” festival and the Journey with Dorothy tours. But, each time, thousands of visitors descend on the park from across the country to visit the Kansas farm, meet Toto and of course, skip down the yellow brick road!
Drive a Real NASCAR Race Car, Concord (Nearby Hotels)
If speed is the name of the game for you, then try the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. This real-life racing experience on an active NASCAR track has options for every level of daredevil, from a ride-along experience with a professional racing instructor behind the wheel, all the way to your own full racing session complete with pit stops and all. Make sure to purchase the souvenir DVD that features footage of both you and the track, so you can remember (and relive) your experience!
Go Whitewater Rafting, Charlotte (Nearby Hotels)
The U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC is home to the world’s largest man-made whitewater river, which features class II-IV rapids. Depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, you can choose from two different river tours – the Family Rafting Experience, a gentler ride designed for families and younger rafters, or the Adventure Rafting Experience – a full-blown whitewater adventure packed with excitement and thrills. There’s also plenty of other opportunities for bucket list adventures while you’re at the Center including rock climbing, ropes courses, mountain biking and ziplining.
Jump Out of an Airplane, Southport (Nearby Hotels)
If you want to take your skydiving adventure up a notch, why not do it over the ocean? Skydive Coastal Carolinas in Southport, NC will take you on a beach skydiving experience that you won’t soon forget. First, you’ll go up to 14,000 feet over the Atlantic, before you jump (either solo or in tandem with a certified skydiving instructor) and travel at speeds of up to 120mph over the beach and waters below.
Cross the Mile High Swinging Bridge, Linville (Nearby Hotels)
If you’re not afraid of heights or if you want to get over that phobia in a hurry, check out the Mile High Swinging Bridge located on Grandfather Mountain in Linville, NC. This 228-foot suspension bridge sits a mile above the ground below (hence the name) and stretches across an 80-foot chasm. If that’s not enough of a challenge, it’s also called a “swinging” bridge because of its tendency to move and sway in the wind. If you can gather up the courage to cross it though, the views you’ll see are breathtaking!
Learn to Rock Climb, Fayetteville (Nearby Hotels)
The Climbing Place, located in Fayetteville, NC, is the state’s oldest and most well-known rock climbing gyms. It’s also one of the largest, with 20,000 square feet of climbing and bouldering, six automatic belays, a portable climbing wall and a dedicated 2,000 square foot area for birthday parties. The mission of The Climbing Place is to make sure all visitors have a safe, fun and rewarding time, no matter what their experience level. So, don’t be afraid if you’re a total beginner. They have plenty of beginner walls to try and offer technique classes as well.