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5 Tips for Rafting with Kids!

By Molly   •   June 28, 2013

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We all love spending quality time with our kids, finding those special moments when you sit together contently with a smile that comes from deep inside. But how do we get there more often and how do we get past the screaming, whining and the X-Box? How do we not let our kids fall victim to “Nature Deficit Disorder”?


We all want our kids to be passionate about healthy life choices and getting outdoors is at the core of a healthy lifestyle. What better way to enjoy the outdoors then visit one of nature’s water parks on a river rafting trip.

KidsinSand 1) Pick the right stretch of river – If you are nervous about the difficulty of the river or the water flow, it will be apparent throughout the trip and make it hard to relax and reach that family connection your hoping for. Pick a section that works for you & your family! One of our trip consultants would be happy to help you plan your adventure!

2) Bring the right gear – When rafting mountain rivers, such as the Lower Animas through Durango or the San Miguel River outside of Telluride, make sure the kids have proper neoprene gear to stay warm and enjoy the splashes and maybe even a dip in the river! As a general rule of thumb, when rafting on snow melt rivers, it is easy to cool off and hard to warm up, so try to keep warm!

3) Smores and toys – If you’re rafting a river with large sandy beaches, like the Colorado River out of Moab, Utah, some of the most rewarding time spent with the kids will be playing in the sand. Be sure to bring sand toys and, of course, remember the smores for the campfire!

4) Don’t over do it – Choose a trip that mixes on-river time with off-river time, as well. Usually about 2.5 hrs on the water before and after lunch is perfect for a family river rafting trip. It’s better to take the time to splash and play then to push for river miles. Remember, this is about family time and seeing those smiling faces!

5) Don’t over pack – Shirts and shorts can be worn “dirty” (really its okay!). You’ll be amazed at how you don’t notice that you’ve worn the same clothes for 3 days when you’re having fun on the river! Do remember to bring warm clothes for the evening, though. Even on desert rivers temperatures can drop up to 30 degrees at night.

6) Okay, I know I said five, but you have to remember snacks! A bag with snacks that is easily accessible (fanny packs!) can be a lifesaver between meals and when waiting for dinner. The first goal is to keep the kiddos happy; if they’re happy, everyone is happy!

So, turn off that X-box, get out there and have a great time connecting with your family and friends!

Alex Mickel
President of Mild to Wild Rafting and father of 4 river crazed children, ages 14, 12, 8 & 6.

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