Best White Water Rafting Trips for Families

For families looking for whitewater thrills instead of the usual theme park fun, below are some of the best family-friendly rafting trips.

If you are going to take the family rafting, please adhere to all cautions and use all safety equipment possible. We want to see you return from that ultimate getaway safely!

Green River through Desolation Canyon, Utah

White water rafting Colorado rivers is a favorite pastime among the locals. Desolation Canyon in Utah is one of the last wild and untouched places on earth. You can enjoy Class II-III rapids and majestic red rock formations that tower as high as the Grand Canyon along the Green River.

Along the way, you’ll find special side hikes and stops like the archaeological site of the Fremont Indians, abandoned homesteads, and even a hideout for outlaws. 

River Rafting on the San Juan River, Utah

This river rafting trip in southeastern Utah is easy and fun for even families with the youngest paddlers. In addition to the San Juan River, which borders Bears Ears National Monument, the river also offers four- to six-day trips. 

The valley is a perfect place for families to take hiking adventures into side canyons, explore fascinating archeological sites such as Moki Stairs, carved into the cliffs over 800 years ago, and camp under the stars in one of the West’s darkest regions. 

Rogue River, Oregon

A river trip down the Rogue River in southern Oregon is an unforgettable experience for those looking for a fun Class III whitewater adventure, stunning scenery, wildlife, and riverside camps. 

Inflatable kayaks will send families on an amazing adventure. Beach games for the whole family and easy side hikes are also on the itinerary.

Green River, the Gates of Lodore, Utah

There is an incredible amount of scenery to be enjoyed during a trip through the Gates of Lodore Canyon (think towering canyon walls layered in red, orange, and green), exciting Class III whitewater, and scenic hiking. 

With its open-air geology archive, ancient dinosaur fossils, and ancient Puebloan ruins, you can kayak along fun, splashy waves, hike up rippling creeks and hunt for petroglyphs.

Lower Klamath River, California

If you’re looking for a river rafting trip for your kids, the Lower Klamath River in northwest California may be the best choice. It’s a great way to introduce small children to whitewater.

This scenic, forested trip with its bouncy, fun Class II rapids is a family adventure that includes warm water for swimming, inflatable kayaking, rock jumping, and beach time. 

The river trip is the perfect introduction to river rafting or who simply wants to relax with their family and have fun together,” stated one family from Mariposa, California. 

River Rafting on the South Fork of the American River, California

Family-friendly whitewater options can be found on California’s South Fork of the American River, which offers 21 miles of Class III whitewater. There are approximately nine named rapids on the upper Chili Bar stretch, and the trip can be completed in a day with plenty of swimming time. 

You may opt to take a Class II run in the lower Gorge, which gives you a warm-up before the river narrows a bit, testing your skills on Satan’s Cesspool and Hospital Bar.

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