Explore Charlotte

Feel the Rush: Adrenaline-Filled Activities in Charlotte

Get an adrenaline rushing with these thrilling things to do in and around Charlotte, N.C., including skydiving, rock climbing, roller coasters, ziplines, skeet shooting and go kart racing.

Make your visit to Charlotte more memorable by checking off a few items on your bucket list with these thrill-seeker outings:

Rock Climb
Put your spidey sense to the test by scaling one of the largest rock climbing walls in the world (from $15; $20 and up for instruction), located at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The 46-foot tall outdoor wall accommodates all skill levels, and the higher you climb, the better the view you’ll get of the whitewater rapids. Don’t forget to splurge and rent one of the center’s high-definition helmet cams ($39) to capture video of your experiences climbing the wall and taking part in any other activities you choose. 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., 704.391.3900

Ride the Coasters

Carowinds' Wind Seeker ride
The Wind Seeker, Carowinds' tallest ride (Courtesy Carowinds)

More than 15 rides fall within the thrill category at Carowinds, a popular amusement park on the North Carolina-South Carolina border. So why not go for the highest thrills? Take a three-and-a-half-minute ride on the Intimidator, inspired by
NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt and the fastest, longest rollercoaster in the Southeast. And if you’re still holding onto your lunch, take a whirl on the Wind Seeker, the park’s tallest ride, hovering at more than 300 feet. $26.99-$56.99 for day passes. 14523 Carowinds Blvd., Charlotte, 704.588.2600

If you have a bucket list, skydiving is probably on it. Time to check it off. At Skydive Carolina you, your fellow nervous peers and trained professionals will board a plane and then fly 10,000-14,000 feet up. With an instructor strapped to you for a tandem skydive, you will jump and free fall, reaching speeds of up to 120 miles per hour ($195-$225). Also, the annual CarolinaFest Boogie is in town May 28-June 2, when hundreds of people will be skydiving, plus food, live entertainment, and more ($65-$75). 1903 King Air Dr., Chester, S.C., 803.581.5867

Canopy Tour
Ziplines abound in the Carolinas, and Canaan Zipline Canopy Tour is one of the largest. You can spend half a day on this tour, with the opportunity to ride nine ziplines through the trees on a network of cables and skybridges. Not only will you climb towers to access the ziplines, but you’ll also enjoy hiking along nature trails to get to the different posts. The scenic tour offers great views of the forest, wildlife and the Catawba River. “Night zips” are also available. $75 for full canopy tour. 3111 Sand Island Rd., Rock Hill, S.C., 803.327.6932

Skeet Shoot
Shoot trap, skeet and 5-stand sporting clays at the Charlotte Rifle and Pistol Club. When you’re done, engage in some chitchat in the club house. $6 per round for nonmembers (must bring your own shotgun; shells are available for sale). 9130 Kensington Dr., Waxhaw, 704.843.2915

Go Karting
Karting is fun for people all ages, and these aren’t the bumper cars you’re used to riding at the county fair. Victory Lane's mini-racing vehicles reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour on the one-third mile road course. You’ll feel like a race-car driver when the green flag drops and you race to the checkered flag. $19 and up per race. 2330 Tipton Dr., Ste. 100, Charlotte, 704.377.3278

Looking for More?
The Where Charlotte editorial team takes you on a video tour of the city's U.S. National Whitewater Center: