Selecting the best outfitter for your family's whitewater rafting adventure may be the most crucial decision you'll make; here are some recommendations.
When you’re ready to raft with three generations, as I recently did with my parents and children, contact your travel agent or one of the top outfitters below, all of which welcome families.
Most of these companies plan trips for the very old or very young based on the seasonal flow of rivers, potential difficulty of the rapids (rated Class I to Class VI, with Class VI being the toughest) and children’s or elder’s ages. Most companies restrict river trips with Class III rapids and above to children over 7 years, though some base their rules on weight.
Click here to read the Safety Code of American Whitewater.
All the outfitters mentioned below run multi-day raft and camp trips as well, and many function as adventure outfitters for snowmobiling, dog sledding, etc. during the winter. Due to the advance planning required, few outfitters offer refunds for cancellations, so travel insurance is highly recommended.
Eastern North America:
- Nouveau Monde/New World, near Mont Tremblant, QuÃ©bec. (800/361-5033)
- Songer Whitewater, New and Gauley Rivers, West Virginia. (800/356-RAFT, 1-304/658-9926)
- Northern Outdoors Adventures, Kennebec River Gorge, Dead, and Penobscot Rivers, Maine. (406) 721-7774)
- Edge of the World Outfitters, Banner Elk, North Carolina. (800/789-3343; 828/898-9550) (406) 721-7774
- Laurel Highlands River Tours, Youghiogheny River and Cheat River, Ohiopyle State Park/Appalachian Mtns, Pennsylvania (800/4-RAFTIN; 724/329-8531)
- Jim Thorpe River Adventures, Lehigh River, Poconos, Pennsylvania. (800/424-RAFT; 570/325-2570)
Western United States:
- ARTA, non-profit group runs Idaho, Oregon, Utah and California trips (800/323-2782; 209/962-7873)
- Dvorak Kayaking & Rafting, Colorado-based outfitter who also runs trips in other southwestern states, as well as in Nepal and New Zealand. ( 800/824-3795; 719/539-6851)
Rafting Round the World:
- ROW – River Odysseys West for trips throughout North America (western US, among others), South America and Europe. (800/451-6034; 208/765-0841)
- Oars, one of the best and most geographically diverse river outfitters covers the western US, Canada, Alaska, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and the Fiji Islands. (800/346-6277; 209/736-4677)
- Mountain Travel·Sobek offers river and sea-focused family trips (check for minimum ages) to Canada, Mexico, and the US, as well as Asia, Australia, and South America. (888/831-7526; 510/594-6000)
This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.