Whitewater rafting is an exhilarating experience that entire families can enjoy. While not as traditional as, say, a beach or an amusement park, whitewater rafting is a perfectly family-friendly activity as long as your kids meet the minimum age requirement for the rapids you choose.

Of course, to ensure that your children have a great time and want to go on more rafting trips in the future, you’ll have to do some special planning. This article covers tips on how to prepare for whitewater rafting trips with kids, including what to bring, which rapids to choose and how to maximize fun and safety on the river.

Tips for Planning a White Water Rafting Trip With Your Family

To have an enjoyable whitewater rafting trip with your kids, you’ll need to prepare in the following ways:

1. Follow the Packing List Religiously

When booking a trip with an outfitter, you’ll receive a packing list. Make sure to bring everything on the list — even the items you think you won’t need. If you decide against bringing the knitted cap and gloves just because you’re going in August, remember that they’re on the list for a good reason. On the other hand, make sure you don’t add too many items to the list, either. If you’re going to bring extras of any item, make it sunglasses, as these often end up on the bottom of the river.

2. After Rafting, Plan to Spend the Night Near the River

After a long, exciting day or weekend of rafting, your family probably won’t be in the mood for a long road trip or overnight flight. Instead, plan to stay at a comfy hotel nearby so you can relax and reflect on your favorite memories from the trip.

3. Understand How Rapids Are Classified

It’s also important to familiarize yourself with rapid classifications. This international scale is used to rate the difficulty of a rapid or stretch of river, and there are six classes of difficulty. These ratings may seem confusing for beginning paddlers, but they are based on several factors including the speed of the water, which is influenced by rainfall, and the frequency and size of boulders.

Family-friendly rapids are usually Class I or II, although more difficult rapids may be an option for your family depending on the age and rafting experience of your children. At any rate, it’s best to contact your outfitter and ask for their opinion before choosing rapids for your family. As even calm rivers can become rougher at certain times of the year, the rafting company may also recommend the best whitewater rafting times for families.

If you can, plan your trip so that you’re not rafting during peak run-off. To do this, you can check stream flows at the U.S. Geological Survey.

4. Confirm the Minimum Age

Even if a course is rated Class I or II, it will still have an age limit, so you will have to make sure that your kids are old enough. Age limits for whitewater rafting can range anywhere from 5 to 12 years old. Before booking your trip, call the outfitter and confirm the minimum age — even if it’s already listed on their website. The age cap can be different for each trip offered and is based on several factors, including the difficulty and required endurance.

5. Speak With Your Kids Before the Trip

Some kids may be intimidated by the idea of whitewater rafting because they’re only familiar with the sport through movies, which usually show characters encountering raging waters, waterfalls and other extreme features. If your children are scared to try rafting, let them know that most rafting experiences are nothing like what is seen in many movies.

Tips for Choosing a Family Friendly White Water Rafting Company

When it comes to being family-friendly, not all rafting outfitters are created equal. To find a company that can provide an enjoyable and safe experience for youngsters as well as adults, keep the following considerations in mind:

1. Safety

Finding an outfitter that follows all the proper safety regulations is an absolute priority — especially when you’re bringing your kids along. For this reason, you must make sure the outfitter is professional and licensed. When researching outfitters, find out the following about each:

By choosing a professional, licensed outfitter, you can be certain that they follow all the rules and will ensure your safety throughout the trip.

2. A Fun Experience for All

You can find out whether the outfitter caters to kids by finding out the following:

In addition to asking the above questions to the outfitter, you should also find out what other customers think. Check out travel review websites to read first-hand reports and useful advice.

Tips for White Water Rafting With Your Family

Once the rafting trip has begun, you can maximize fun and safety by following these tips:

Photographing Tips

You’re sure to make many memories on your whitewater excursion — many of which you’ll want to capture. Here are some tips on how to best document this wet and wild experience:

Schedule a White Water Rafting Trip for Your Family

If you’d like to have a fun rafting adventure with your family while enjoying many events and activities in the nearby area, book a rafting excursion with Southeastern Expeditions on Georgia’s famous Chattooga River.

Southeastern Expeditions has gained a reputation as a highly professional outfitter with experienced, fun guides who are committed to safety. Many of our customers are either repeat guests or were referred by other Southeast Expeditions customers, and we believe that our high customer satisfaction rate is due to the following:

Check out our vacation packages for families or contact us using our form.