Best Family White Water Rafting in the US

June 30, 2022 3 min read

What are the best white water rafting destinations for a family? Check out the Gauley River in West Virginia, the Lower New River Gorge, and the Chattooga River. This list may seem long, but there are several rivers in this region that can be enjoyed by the entire family. These locations offer a different type of white water rafting experience than what you'd typically find in the east.

Gauley River at West Virginia

Located in the state of West Virginia, the Gauley River is a 105-mile treasure with three main sections: the Upper Gauley and Lower New River. Both are primarily Class III-IV with a few class Vs sprinkled in. The Middle Gauley is less extreme, with a few Class IVs sprinkled in. The Gauley is best for families and beginners alike.

If you're planning a family vacation to the Midwest, then the Vermillion River in Illinois may be your best bet. While not nationally famous, the Vermillion River offers an authentic white water rafting experience for families. The river is the only man-made structure on the route, and it's famous for its rapids. There are a number of Class I and II rapids throughout the course of the trip, and the scenic scenery is beautiful as well.

Lower New River Gorge

If you want to try family white water rafting in the US, you can choose the Lower New River Gorge. There are several outfitters that offer trips to the New River Gorge. All of them are equipped with trained guides and are geared toward safety and fun. You can take your family on a rafting trip with your children of all ages, including toddlers and preschoolers.

There are many different types of rafting in the US, but the Lower New River is a whitewater classic. The river's varying water levels rival those of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, creating tight shoots, bouncy rides, and retentive holes. It's the perfect place to take a family whitewater rafting trip for all ages.

Chattooga River

If you're looking for the best white water rafting experience for families, look no further than South Carolina's Chattooga River. This 26-mile stretch of rapids is ideal for families of all ages, from beginner rafters to more experienced rafters. There are no dams along the river, making it safe and perfect for families with children of all ages.

If you're looking for prime white water rafting, head to the Monroe Bridge Dryway in Vermont. This 76-mile river flows from Vermont to Massachusetts and includes many challenging rapids of various classes. The most adventurous sections of this river are located in the Upper and Middle Yough regions. Despite its rugged terrain and high-ranking rapids, the lower Yough area is ideal for families and beginners alike.

Penobscot River

Whether you're looking for a day of thrills or a weekend full of adrenaline, the Penobscot River offers the perfect combination of excitement and safety. A trip along the Penobscot River is one of the best family vacations you can take, and it includes three great overnight sites, a riverside lunch, and experienced guides.

The Penobscot River is a 109-mile river in North-Central Maine. It is one of the best family white water rafting destinations in New England, featuring class III to V rapids. Lose Your Lunch Falls is the steepest drop on the Penobscot River, but you'll also get great views of Mount Katahdin. Local outfitters operate out of Millinocket, which is convenient for families who want to get out and explore the beauty of the Maine outdoors.

Youghiogheny River

The Youghiogheny River, located in Pennsylvania, ranks among the US's top family white water rafting destinations. This scenic river flows north from Maryland and into Pennsylvania. There are three distinct sections of the Youghiogheny: Middle Yough, Lower Yough, and Upper Yough. The Middle Yough offers class I and II rapids, while the Upper Yough has heart-pounding class V rapids.

The Youghiogheny River offers family rafting trips in a variety of classes. Most trips offer moderate rapids, but there are sections that require experienced paddlers. There are also short trips that are suitable for younger children. While you can find short trips designed for families, most of the rafting activities will require participants to be 16 years or older and have previous experience in advanced rapids.

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