Family Friendly Rafting

Supermom74April 23, 2013

We are looking to take our kids ages 6, 9 & 12 white water rafting this summer. We will be heading from Florida up North towards Baltimore. i would love to take them rafting but am having a hard time finding family friendly rafting tours.
Any suggestions??

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Try the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina. We also like the Hiwassee River in Tennessee. The Hiwassee is fairly close to the Ocoee, and I think the Ocoee outfitters allow kids age 12 and up. I don't think your 6 and 9 year old will be old enough for the Ocoee, and I wouldn't take kids that young anyway.

The Chattahoochee River in Atlanta has some fairly sedate rafting. You might try that. You might also try the Cartecay River in Ellijay, GA and the Chestatee in Dahlonega, GA. Also possibly the Broad River near Athens, GA.

What are you looking for? A gentle river or some baby whitewater? How much experience does your family have rafting?

Different people have different comfort levels. I wouldn't want to take a 6 year old on any of these rivers if the water is up a whole lot. We did the Hiwassee, parts of the Chattahoochee and parts of the Chestatee when my daughter was about 6 or 7.

The Nantahala is very cold. I don't know if my daughter would have wanted to do it at age 6 or 7. If you decide to do the Chatthoochee in Atlanta, be sure and talk to the outfitter and a park guide if you find one. It's been a very long time since I've rafted the Chatthoochee, but there are places on the Chattahoochee where people drown if they don't pay attention to the dam release. So make sure your kids don't get out of the raft to swim or wade in places that are dangerous during/after the dam release. I don't know if commercial outfitters serve that part of the river or not.

I hope you find something fun.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Thanks for so much info.
To answer you, we have never been rafting!! Just sounds like something fun and different to do as we head up North.
I will research some of the locations you have mentioned above.
Thanks again :)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 11:40AM
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If you are driving through Atlanta and don't want to go out of the way, check out the Chattahoochee River. The outfitters will tell you whether or not it's suitable for the 6 year old, but it probably is. I think it's pretty tame water where the outfitters go and can be tubed.

I think the only river I listed that does guided rafting is the Nantahala, and that's only if you choose that option. The Nantahala is a narrow river in the mountains of North Carolina. Very pretty, very cold. The guided ducky trip looks really fun. We have always used Nantahala Outdoor Center when we've gone, but there are other outfitters. The Nantahala is a beautiful mountain river.

If I were you, I'd take a good look at the Hiwassee. It's a broader river, very pretty, cold but not as cold (as I remember) as the Nantahala. It can be tubed, but I would definitely pick a raft with a 6 year old. It's a dam release river, as is the Nantahala, so you will have to float it after the dam release. We have always used Ocoee Outdoors for the Hiwassee, but there are other outfitters.

If none of that looks good, you might try the tubing on the Chattahoochee in Helen, Georgia. That is not in metro Atlanta, but up closer to the mountains where the Chattahoochee is just a little baby river.

The water is cold, so be sure to bring some warm clothes to change into and a hairdryer. The Nantahala Outdoor Center and Ocoee Outdoors at Hiwassee have shower facilities, so you can take a hot shower after your river trip.

Ooops, I forgot the Tuckaseegee in Dillsboro, North Carolina. We liked that one a lot when our kids were little. Thomas the Tank Engine is there sometimes. The Smoky Mountain Railroad is there (but I think that's probably too tame for your kids). It's a cute little tourist town with fudge shops, ice cream shops, etc. Sometimes the water is kind of low there, but we enjoyed it when the kids were little. As I remember, if you go with a guide on the Tuckaseegee there is a spot the kids can jump off a big rock into the river and slide down a water chute. You can ask the outfitters about it.

Have fun with your vacation!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Once again, you have given me so much to go with. I printed out so that I can research with my husband.
I really appreciate all the info! I will keep you posted with my findings :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2013 at 4:02PM
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There is harpers ferry, west va. Right on border of leesburg, va ish! might be out of way but really nice tubing and rafting activiities on the potomac. Search rafting on potomac river and you may find a place in maryland too.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 7:51PM
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