The Shenandoah is actually a great river to start on for beginners, if you're willing to come up to WV.Not much of a rafter myself, but one of my sons is a river guide/kayak instructor/water rescue instructor for an outfit that runs trip on the Shenandoah and several other rivers in WV. They have trips for all experience levels. I don't know exactly how, but they do take into account the experience level of specific customers and will refuse to guide a trip they think is beyond their capabilities. Just tell the place you're going that you're beginners and they'll know what to do.
What he said........ and just do it. Went on the Ocoee river this past summer and could not get enough of it.Rafting can be a great family trip. You have to ask yourself several questions first:
How old are your kids?
Can you/your wife/kids handle a potentially very stressful situation without panicking (i.e. falling out of a raft or ending up under a raft)?
Are you good swimmers?
I've done class III-V's in several places in a 4-6 man raft. I've also done III-IV's solo in an inflatable kayak (best trip ever). My recommendation is that if all your kids are in their teens and mature enough, a class III-IV guided trip in rafts is a perfect start. If they kids are younger, class II-III is good for younger kids. After getting the hang of it and running a few, try your hand at a guided class V trip. It's more fun than any amusement park.
If you go (which you really should, it's great), be sure to listen very carefully to your guides, because they've most likely spent years doing what they do. They aren't joking when they say not to stand up in the water, and to never let go of your T-grip.
Be sure to bring sunscreen and reapply frequently (twice is not enough - speaking from experience). Waterproof camera's don't take very good pictures because you're constantly bobbing, but usually they will take pictures of you. They're usually expensive, but worth it.
My advice is to go. You'll love it.
Good advice. Though for the most part, the guides will read the river for you. Try to do it yourself, but don't forget they know best (another lesson learned the hard way). For most rivers, there are maps online that you can look at ahead of time. They usually have tips on them, too.How many people in your family? Do they listen well? Can you read a river?
Start out with a class I-II river and work your way up. The best way to go is to have 2-4 people paddling in the boat with one person on the rear of the boat paddling, reading the river, giving directions and steering the boat.
If people don't paddle things can get frustrating.
I've done river guiding for a few years now and it can get downright dangerous when people don't paddle. But if it's an easy river everyone will be fine.
If you wanna get into it get your own PFD that's made for whitewater with pockets and stuff, and get some Keen Newport II or similar sandals for toe protection. One of the more common injuries on the river I see are busted toes and toe nails from kicking rocks.
Have fun and don't forget the sun screen!
Yeah, I saw the link. I was trying to gear my posts to guided tours. However, even on a guided tour, there are things I wasn't told and had to learn on my own through sunburns and beat-up feet.
I was with a group of friends and we decided to swim a class I. There was a rock just barely underwater right in the middle of the river. You could either go left, or right of it safely. My friend hit it dead on with her legs spread. She didn't live it down for the rest of the trip.Don't spread your legs, keep your feet together, or you will be "romancing the stone". Not as fun as it sounds.
I guide trips, we put about 3-4 river guides on a trip with 20-25 boats. Usually there is one lead, one in the middle, one sweep and a guide in the boat with the people that suck the most.
Right. Looking over the website, I see the Chattooga Section III Family Scenic Raft Tour would be great. It should provide good entertainment for all ages.Yeah, I should have clarified. We are beginners, and want family friendly the first time out.