Fun-loving and always up for a new adventure—if these words describe you, you might want to consider stepping off the boat (temporarily, of course) and into a family-sized raft this summer. Whitewater rafting is one of the most fun activities you can do as a family this summer, and you can do it even if you’re not near a coast!
Whitewater rafting 101
Whitewater rafting involves a large raft where riders sit and use paddles to maneuver through the water. To many people, this might sound like a sport best reserved for extreme adventurers only—but that’s not the case at all!
When it comes to this activity, rivers are classified by how easy or difficult they are to maneuver. These range from class one to class five, five being the most extreme (which does require significant experience and know-how). But you and the family can enjoy calmer waters and soak in the beautiful scenery, all while experiencing the rocking of the rapids.
Safety is no doubt a big concern for families considering whitewater rafting. But when you take part in a class that’s appropriate for all the rafters in your family, and wear some basic safety gear, you’ll be sure to have a great time. This gear is comprised of a life preserver safety vest and a tightly-fitting helmet if conditions call for it.
You’ll typically go rafting through a group tour service, so be sure to ask your specific guides what to expect.
Where to go
What makes whitewater rafting so universally fun is that you can do it almost anywhere—all you really need is, well, the whitewater that makes the experience what it is. Whether you live next to the Grand Canyon of the woods of the East Coast, there’s probably a guide group that offers trips on the water.
Some locations are especially unique because of the beauty of their surroundings or the thrill of the water that’s found there. Whitewater rafters in Alaska or Canada might find themselves awestruck by what they’ll find—beautiful glaciers, and maybe even the occasional grizzly and other wildlife, too!
Whitewater rafting in the waters that wind through the Rocky Mountains is also a unique experience. Trips in Idaho or Colorado, for example, are known for their extremely varied landscapes. You and your family can paddle your way through impressive rock formations, rich greenery and breathtaking mountain backdrops all on the same trip.
The Appalachian area toward the US East Coast is known for its rolling hills, mountains and beautiful wooded areas. Rafting here is another natural choice that’s well worth the trip!
Whitewater rafting at a beginner’s class level is a great way to get the family together for a one-of-a-kind adventure… but you don’t have to start and end on a raft! Those who familiarize themselves with rafting often go on to do kayaking through the same thrilling waters.
Have you ever gone whitewater rafting? Share your most memorable experiences and any tips for beginners here!