Whitewater rafting as a family is something special:

smiling, laughing, and bonding together on an epic adventure vacation that everyone will look back on fondly.


That’s the fun and easy part…The hard part is deciding if an overnight whitewater rafting vacation is right for you and your family.

What if someone falls out of the boat?

What if the kids have trouble sleeping outdoors in the tents?

What if they don’t like the food the guides prepare?

What the heck needs to be packed?

These are all super common concerns. Here’s a look into the concerns and perks of a family whitewater rafting trip:


Boater safety is the most important thing on the river. Fun is second. Between safety talks, ALWAYS wearing lifejackets on the boats and going over even the worst case scenarios, we want everyone to know what to do if something doesn’t go quite right. Chances are if someone does fall out of the boat, they’ll go for a quick swim through a few waves and be pulled right back into the raft. Sure, it can be scary but most swims lead to a great story and laughter for years to come.


A family looks on as an ARC guide point out the rafting line at Granite Rapid in Hells Canyon on the Snake River


Those kids will have smiles plastered to their faces. From getting splashed in the rapids, to swimming in the long stretches of calm river, to pulling out fish after fish after fish, to trying inflatable kayaking for the first time, to playing bocce ball on the riverside beaches, to seeing a bear walking down the shore, every kid on a river trip finds an activity that glues a smile to their face. And it’s contagious.


Fresh catch from a new fisherman on a Hells Canyon rafting trip


Packing for whitewater rafting trips is easier than it seems. Packing lists make it a breeze and America’s Rafting Co provides all the big comfortable sleeping items: a large tent, thick cushy sleeping pad, freshly laundered sleeping bag, sheets and even a pillow. There’s alway enough room in the dry bags for all personal items plus any favorites to make the trip incredibly comfortable. It’s not like backpacking where there’s only a certain amount of weight you can bring. Bring what will keep everyone warm (or cool), dry, and happy and the rafts will easily do the work of carrying the weight.


Sleeping outdoors in a tent is made easier by pure exhaustion. After dinner, dessert, and any last minute beach games, when it starts to get dark bed calls hard even for the little ones. After days of swimming, rafting, fishing, hiking, and just being outdoors, kids are beat by dusk. The 4-person tents are slotted to sleep 2 and there’s always the option of sleeping outside the tents under the incredible starry Idaho sky.


View of a Hells Canyon camp on a Snake River rafting trip


River trips are made for eating, and we’re not talking about canned or dehydrated food. Instead we’re packing juicy melons grown in Idaho for breakfasts, fresh grain salads, sandwiches and homemade cookies for lunch, and a whole lot of good food for dinners: appetizers, grilled meats, salads, freshly bakes breads and homemade desserts. Have you caught on that river trips are wilderness luxury yet?

Got a super picky kid or someone with allergies? No problem. Let us know when you book the trip and we’ll be sure to pack their favorites-even if it’s mac and cheese every night.


No one is ever bored. After breakfast until the afternoon, it’s rafting time. There’s the whitewater of course, but then there’s the hikes to check out the rapids, the cooling swims in between the rapids, many different kinds of animals to look for, hikes to old homesteads to check out, lunch to gobble up riverside, and fish to catch. This isn’t the normal fishing of waiting forever to catch something and boredom creeping in. This is even a first time fisherman being likely catch something on their first, second or third cast. That kind of success leads quickly to fishing addicts. Once the rafts hit camp in the afternoon, there’s more swimming and fishing to catch up on, along with playing games, exploring camp and maybe even napping to get after.


Sturgeon Fishing | 208-347-3862 | Americas Rafting Company | Idaho | Oregon | Hells Canyon

A white sturgeon in Hells Canyon on the Snake River


There’s NO screen time. None. And there’s no monitoring it either. This leads to pure family time. Reconnecting and having a blast together outdoors is what a family rafting trip is all about.


The guides take care of all the cooking and cleaning. There’s no meal planning, to do lists, grocery shopping or dishes to be done. The guides take care of it all. That leaves you free to actually spend the full vacation with your family, or y’know, read a book riverside.


River guides serve delicious food on an overnight Hells Canyon whitewater rafting trip


There’s no doubt that there are risks with whitewater rafting, but there are so many great things about taking your family on an overnight whitewater rafting trip. There is nothing better than a family having a blast and whitewater rafting together on a vacation that they will always remember.


Is your family ready for an unforgettable rafting trip? We recommend a Hells Canyon Rafting Trip or Salmon River Rafting Trip or give us a call at 208-347-3862 to discuss details!