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NOC’s 2018 Summer Road Trip Guide

June 15, 2018

Road Trip Ideas for Southeastern Cities

Summer is the perfect time for a road trip, and the Southeast offers a blend of outdoor adventures and city convenience. You can brave some rapids, feast on local food, and be wowed by whale sharks, all while traveling through (or to) some of these awesome Southeastern states.

Destination: North Carolina

The great thing about Asheville is you can have city convenience and outdoor fun without traveling too far. To start your adventure, try NOC’s French Broad Full Day rafting trip. Paddle through Pisgah National Forest, get thrilled by Class II-IV rapids, then dry off and be back in the city for dinner.

For a taste of culture, try the Chihuly exhibit at Biltmore, which features dazzling large-scale glass sculptures as part of Biltmore’s gardens. Both day and night exhibits are available for different experiences of Chihuly’s genius.

Chihuly at Biltmore
Photo by The Biltmore Company


Hole Donuts
Photo by Hole Doughnuts

While there’s no shortage of great restaurants in Asheville, if you just need a snack, check out Hole Doughnuts. Renowned for its commitment
to local ingredients, Hole makes its doughnuts by hand, so each one is as individual as you are.


And though we know it’s hard to leave Asheville, there’s more adventure waiting if you hop an hour west to the Nantahala Adventure Resort. Need an outdoor challenge? Try rafting the Nantahala River, biking, zip lining and aerial adventures. Prefer something more relaxed? Enjoy shopping and dining, all while lodging at NOC!

Destination: Tennessee

Tennessee has great whitewater, but better than a fully inflated raft is a hearty breakfast. Start your Tennessee adventure at Crockett’s Breakfast Camp in Gatlinburg. As the name suggests, the portions are frontier-sized to satisfy the hungry explorer!

Crockett's Breakfast Camp
Photo by Crockett’s Breakfast Camp

NOC Gatlinburg NOC Gatlinburg Store

After breakfast, prep for your river trips and other mountain adventures at the NOC Gatlinburg store near the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our staff will make sure you’ve got the gear and local knowledge to get the most from your stay.

Geared up? Head to NOC’s Pigeon River Outpost, a convenient 30 minutes from Gatlinburg. Offering nearly constant Class II-IV rapids, bouncy hydraulics, wave trains, and a fast shuttle, the Pigeon River remains an NOC favorite!

Fair warning: one river trip leads to another. Folks who have mastered the Pigeon start hankering to try the Ocoee River, a Class III-IV roller coaster of warm water and big waves. NOC offers half and full-day options on the Ocoee. One Wednesday, July 4th, NOC is offering free rafting on the Middle Ocoee for US military veterans. Just our way of saying thank you for all you’ve done.

Destination: Georgia (and parts of South Carolina!)

Whale sharks? Sea otters? An underwater tunnel? In Atlanta? Count us in for the Georgia Aquarium, which boasts more aquatic life than any other squarium in the world. Immerse yourself in the underwater world while supporting conservation efforts and learning what your family can do to help protect our oceans. 

Georgia Aquarium
Photo by Georgia Aquarium

If you want to leave the crowds, come tubing at NOC’s Chattahoochee Outpost. No whale sharks here, but plenty of turtles. Choose a relaxed float trip or a section with Class I-II whitewater. Both offer wooded banks, colorful granite outcroppings, and a cool, gentle current, all while staying close to the city.

For the more adventurous, come celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act with NOC on Section IV of the Chattooga River. Thanks to this legislation, the Chattooga feels primeval, mixing rugged natural beauty with Class III-V whitewater adrenaline. The best part: it’s only two hours from Atlanta!

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