For a few centuries, Carver’s Falls was closed to the public, and it's easy to see how much the area benefited from that solitude. The natural beauty of its forests and the waterfall at its heart have flourished. But today, the tree canopy has been transformed into an aerial playground. Wires cross the sky, connecting tree to tree. Every day, ZipQuest's guides lead birds-eye tours of the pristine landscape on their expansive zipline network or via the Swing Shot that pendulums vertiginously above Carver's Creek.
Whether the lighting comes from the sun or helmet-mounted lamps, no fewer than two experienced guides lead guests through Carver's Falls' 2.5-hour course. Adventurers fly down eight ziplines—each designed for a long, leisurely glide or an adrenaline-pumping plunge—while pointing out local flora and fauna. Groups pause only to disembark on high platforms anchored to centuries-old trees. Floating spiral staircases and sky bridges, the longest of which stretches 210 feet, interconnect the platforms. A suspension bridge carries explorers over the falls to a penultimate zipline that runs parallel to its creek. At the end of the run, guests catch their breath while looking through the pictures their camera-wielding guide took.
More than 8,000 square feet of space comprise RedPoint, a climbing gym set in a renovated warehouse. Nearly every inch has been set aside for towering climbing walls and exercise equipment to help climbers shore up their skills.
Within these confines, a team of instructors is on hand to teach the skills needed to conquer the facility’s tricky bouldering routes. They can also teach the fundamentals of belaying, which will help you to scale any of the more than 30 onsite climbing stations for top roping, lead climbing, or washing windows on the state capitol building. Back at ground level, you can tone your physique on pull-up bars, rowing machines, and Olympic weights as well as in CrossFit classes, which work on building core strength and overall fitness. The facility also hosts various kid-focused activities such as lock-ins, birthday parties, and corporate retreats for mountain goats.
Love 2 Dance Fitness’s sergeant-at-arms, Tonya Caballero, oversees a high-octane schedule of fun, energetic fitness classes. Zumba classes mix aerobic exercise with an atmosphere as festive as party hats roasting on an open fire, as a certified instructor leads up to 25 students through muscle-toning moves set to Latin and international rhythms. Alternatively, hip-hop cardio flows through a workout of breaks, locks, crackles, and pops set to classic beats.
Featuring two cypress lakes and scenic panoramas, this 18-hole championship course provides golfers with 6,307 yards of challenging tee-to-green terrain. The design demands consistently well-placed drives to avoid strategically placed sand bunkers, which hug friendly fairways and butterfly-kiss undulating bent-grass greens. Depending on which of the course’s five sets of tees you opt to play from, some tee shots may require you to traverse obstructing water and hypnotize territorial mermen. Complimentary carts expedite the wayward orb-fetching process provided you stay on land, and the course’s frequent elevation changes will make you grateful for your four-wheel gopher and your two-eye face, with which you can enjoy the course’s sweeping vistas.
When renowned course architect Ellis Maples first laid eyes on the rolling expanse of land in the Sandhills, he knew he had found the venue for his next course. Whispering Woods Golf Club encompasses both gentle slopes and steeper hills, offering a dynamic canvas atop which Maples designed holes with stark elevation changes. Today, golfers encounter a diverse layout that showcases anything from treacherously undulating bentgrass greens to a small roller coaster for bored caddies to enjoy. Carolina pines line the edges of the fairways and greens throughout the round, stretching out their thin trunks to snag any errant shots. The end product of Ellis’s vision is an 18-hole, 6,324-yard layout described by course architect Dan Maples, Ellis’s son, as “a golf course designed with the average player in mind, but good players won’t find a pushover.”
Crooked Creek Golf Club blankets the rolling Carolina countryside with a 6,271-yard layout that challenges golfers with dramatic elevation changes and high-risk high-reward opportunities. The longer of the two halves, the front nine showcases numerous shot-making opportunities, including the drive on the par-four third hole, where golfers must choose to play it safe or try to cut the corner on a water hazard that hugs the left side.
Dramatic elevation changes await on the course’s second act, where the rolling terrain is intersected by multiple water hazards and sweeping views of the surrounding topography. After a day at the links, golfers can refuel with a cheeseburger or a platter of torn up scorecards at Club’s restaurant, The Turning Point Grill.
Course at a Glance: