A vacation by a river opens up a world of activities, and when you have the family along for the adventures, it’s important to have a broad range of water activities that everyone can enjoy. Here are some great places in the USA to take to the water.
Having both fast water and lazy water allows all members of the family to choose their speed and style for having water fun, from whitewater rafting to kayaking, to tubing downstream sedately, paddle boarding, dipping toes and just plain watching the river flow by.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Smoky Mountains are enchantingly scenic and with a lot of rain rushing down the slopes, making many gorgeous waterfalls, and thousands of miles of streams: some fast, some slow. America’s most popular national park offers half a million acres of astonishing forest and flower variety, and straddles Tennessee and North Carolina. The Upper Pigeon River offers exciting whitewater rafting with rapids that are class three and four. These are not available for kids under 8, and some older adventurers may not like the rollercoaster nature of these rapids.
The Lower Pigeon River has a number of 5-mile trips that have gentler rapids in the class one and two range. These rafting trips are scenic and even offer swimming opportunities. These are guided trips which means you don’t have to have any experience at whitewater rafting to participate. Even slower, there are great places to go tubing down a calm river with crystal clear water. And for accommodations during you vacation, the mountains all around the national park host hundreds of vacation Gatlinburg cabins, fully equipped for families and with a touch of rustic and a lot of luxury.
The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon
Everyone knows about the breathtaking vistas of the Grand Canyon, but for many, it’s all about the river that formed the canyon. The Colorado River flowing through Grand Canyon National Park is perfect for a number of fun water activities. It has rapids from classes one through five, so you can choose the type of adventure you want. Young kids can have fun in the class one and two areas while the more adventurous may want to try out the class fives.
There are more than 226 miles of water for you to explore, and the area of course is famous for its amazing scenery. The river even has scenic beaches to spend time on. It offers areas that are perfect for tubing as well as paddle boarding and even snorkeling. This is a world-class destination that everyone in the family can enjoy. Whether you want a smooth float down the river or an action-packed one with plenty of rapids, this place will deliver.
The Arkansas River
This river begins in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and eventually winds its way east to Arkansas. But long before meeting the low lands, the higher waters in Colorado flow through a valley carved out by glaciers, offering a plethora of river adventures, surrounded by some of the largest mountains in the USA outside of Alaska. Head for Colorado Springs and range roughly southwest of there to connect with the fun and spectacular waters of this mighty river.
The views of the 14,000-foot Rockies alone are worth the trip, but the river offers areas that have varying whitewater ratings. For spectacular memories and high adrenaline, the Royal Gorge offers from class three to five rapids, while other sections of this long river offer class two, class three or class three through five. The Arkansas in this part of Colorado allows everyone in the family to be comfortable with the speed of the water they will explore. The calmer tours can allow kids as young as 3 to participate, and the slow water areas are perfect for swimming and lazy floats along the river.
The Rogue River
This river is located in southwestern Oregon, fed by the Cascade Range and flowing to the Pacific, and cutting through magnificent scenery along the way. World famous and favored by many Hollywood stars, the Rogue is designated a Wild and Scenic River, which means the scenery is stunning and unforgettable. The river offers rapids of all but the wildest classes and includes some nicely smooth sections.
The rapids are rated from class one through class four for a lot of diversity in experiences. Tubing in a class one or two area is a great way to spend family vacation time, with more adventure rafting the class fours. Children of all ages can enjoy different parts of the river with their families. Because it tops out at class four, it’s a great place for family groups to visit and enjoy a lot of different water activities. There are great areas to swim as well as tube or paddle board.