image copyright Rapid Shooters, Mariah Wilderness Expeditions
The adventure of rafting down an unpredictable river offers a real escape for the harried, city-weary participant. But don't expect it to be relaxing. Participants help with setting up and breaking camp, and sometimes they are exposed mercilessly to the elements. While usually not dangerous when done with experienced guides, an element of risk is involved. Still, most participants walk away ecstatic and addicted to the experience.
The outfitter provides shelter, food, and equipment for the trip. Participants need only bring sleeping gear and personal items. Some day trips and overnight runs are available. Seasons and rivers vary with each company.
Most outfitters offer special trips for families with young children. The minimum age requirement for children ranges from 4 to 8. For details, contact the tour operators directly.
The American River Touring Association
ECHO River Trips
Kern River Outfitters This company caters to families with campfire games and songs and other activities.
Mariah Wilderness Expeditions This is California's only woman-owned and -operated white water raft and wilderness company. Family trips are accompanied by a professional storyteller and include both female and male guides.
Turtle River Rafting Company Among the special trips are personal growth workshops and family river trips. Facebook page.
Whitewater Connection This outfitter offers rafting trips on four different rivers throughout California.
Whitewater Voyages If that guide looks familiar, she might be Kelly Wiglesworth of Survivor TV fame, who works as a guide for this outfitter. Several discounted Clean-Up Trips are scheduled each year. Participants get the same amenities as on any other trip but are expected to pick up any debris they encounter.