Nantahala Outdoor Center

The Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) isn't far from Bryson City, NC.

Nantahala Outfitter's Store -- (Photo: Robert Sutherland)

We say that because Bryson City is closer than, say, Botswana or Australia. It's a pretty 15-mile drive, but if you'd like to arrive within a day or so of your estimated time of arrival, get directions from their website, not your GPS.

Spend the day at NOC lazily careening through death-defying rapids in a canoe or kayak ... or on a raft "guided" by lunatics who thrill at making you believe you're going to die. Hahaha!

Wiser folk choose to sit at the creekside bar and watch the action ... staying high and dry.

When it's time for dinner, take a quick hike down the Appalachian Trail (also known as the Founder's Bridge -- part of the real Appalachian Trail) to a cozy restaurant where you'll delight in the dining and the demise of those being thrashed through the rapids. Don't forget dessert!

Even if you can't tell the difference between a Kodak and a kayak, be sure to wander around the store and look at the watercraft, backpacks, hiking shoes and those who actually use them. It's such fun.

Give yourself an extra five points if you spot Miss Nantahala, Zuzana Vanha!

The Star of the Show: NOC's Zuzana Vanha! -- (Photo: Robert Sutherland)

NOC is family friendly. Everyone is sure to have a good time being together and enjoying the great outdoors.

2012 AT Founder's Bridge Festival -- (Photo: Robert Sutherland)

NOC rents life vests! -- (Photo: Robert Sutherland)

Taking on the rapids? Choose your weapon. -- (Photo: Robert Sutherland)

Before you leave, be sure to hike the Appalachian Trail -- all the way across the Founder's Bridge!

AT Founder's Bridge

Click Here for NOC's Website

Tags: Robert Sutherland Travel Writer

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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