Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with thousands of pines and sapphire skies. This dream may come true. For families seeking a dream-like vacation, there are family rafting trips that will leave you feeling recharged, reconnected, and well rested. Imagine no loud noises (except for the periodic rumbling of an upcoming rapid). Imagine the only distraction being whether or not you should (go ahead!) have another piece of grilled salmon as you sit with family and friends along a whispering, middle-of-nowhere wilderness waterway.
Rafting trips are really unforgettably great in terms of beauty, fun, warm transparent water, seclusion, and wildlife. For example, rafting in Idaho on the Salmon River. This river runs through the heart of the largest wilderness area in the lower 48 states. It will be a classic white water adventure. Broad, sandy beaches, roller coaster and rock garden rapids, riverside wildlife such as moose and Bighorn sheep, emerald waters, hot springs, old ranch sites from days of yore, and one of the deepest canyons in the world, combine to form an unparalleled setting for a wilderness rafting journey.
There is a great variety of rafting trips offered by travel agents. You may choose a guided trip or go on your own if you are rather sophisticated. But before you start your rafting trip better ask yourself a number of questions. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a deadlock.
Whether or not to take kids for a rafting trip? If yes, what can you expect on a family rafting vacation? Are you all ready to face challenges and do well? Which rivers to prefer? In one word, gather as much information as possible about your trip before you depart. Preparing yourself and your family is the first step towards a successful outdoor adventure.
If you answered yes, then the following questions should further assist you in deciding which adventure travel offerings are best for your family. Do we or would we like to camp and spend time outdoors? Since rafting trip involve spending time outdoors and camping, it is important to at least feel comfortable with the idea of sleeping in a tent, being out in the sun all day, paddling the raft, and finally being absolutely tired.
What experience do we have with the activities we are considering? If you haven't participated in the activity or activities that are the feature of the rafting vacation, it might be best try the activity on a local and shorter term basis. For example, a one-day raft trip should indicate to you whether or not your family would enjoy a longer wilderness river trip.
Do the outfitters you are considering have experience of running rafting trips with families who have never participated on an adventure travel vacation? This is a very important question to ask the companies you are considering for your rafting adventure vacation. Outfitters with experience have likely developed an approach to guiding trips that help first-timers with all aspects of their adventure, from helping with tent set-up to having extra activities available for children.
When you have hopefully stopped your choice on a particular rafting trip start preparing the small members of your family for this memorable journey:
- Take some time before you travel to show your kids maps, list animals that may be encountered on your trip, and discuss what type of activities will be included on the trip, etc. Consider each child's abilities and personality to ensure they have a fun and rewarding adventure without getting in over their heads;
- Buy your children a disposable camera and have them create a photo essay of pictures they have taken. Another good idea is to create a journal for your children to write in each evening at camp. They can write, draw pictures, press flowers and go home with a running record of the trip;
- Bring lots of waterproof sunscreen and have your child apply it several times a day. However, do not apply sunscreen to your or their forehead. If it drips in your eyes from splashing or perspiration it can sting. Also, have your children wear hats with a bill. You may also take a small beach umbrella with you. There will always be a shadow where any of you may hide. Also, make sure that you have closely followed the gear and clothing requirements before the trip, in order for you and your children to be as comfortable as possible;
- Bring water bottles and have your whole family drink lots of fresh water. Dehydration is destroying. It occurs when you lose more fluid than you take in. It may be a result of hot and dry climates, prolonged exposure to the sun or high temperatures, or not drinking enough water when you are traveling by the river or lake.
Do not be afraid of facing the challenges you may come across while rafting. And, when you have managed to overcome them as a member of a group or a team, everyone will celebrate! When was the last time your family worked and played together to overcome a common challenge?! You have a chance to test your family as a whole unit and each member of your family as well.