Tubing and Water Rafting Adventures for Philly Families
Nothing beats a day on the river, floating, swimming, or enjoying a whitewater rafting adventure. In fact, whitewater rafting in the Philadelphia area is one of the most enjoyable things I can think of to do as a family, even during the coronavirus pandemic.
If you are eager to enjoy some outdoor, socially distanced family fun or just want to escape these 90-degree summer days, we have compiled the best whitewater rafting and tubing spots in the Philadelphia area. For more water fun, check out our roundup of spots to go canoeing and boating near Philadelphia.
One of my fondest family-bonding memories was setting out on our first rafting adventure. I was 9, barely old enough for the rapids my family picked, so when I helped steer the boat past a "dangerous rock" (as our guide put it) I felt incredibly important. My family worked as a team, and we still talk about our adventures to this day.
If you decide to head to the Poconos for your water adventures, check out our list of 61 Things To Do in the Poconos while you're there.
Whitewater Rafting Destinations Near Philadelphia for Families
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
2020 Update: Jim Thorpe River Adventures is open seven days a week by reservation only. It is operating at at half-capacity. EasyWater Rafting is available for the season. Arrival times can be found on its website.
For families or groups with small kids (ages 4 and older), this is the trip for you. Jim Thorpe offers an eight-mile EasyWater Rafting trip from May through October that is sure to be fun for the whole family. If you have older kids, it also offers "BigTime" trips in Lehigh Gorge State Park. On this trip you can expect to get wet, possibly dunked, but it is also suitable for kids as young as 8.
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
2020 Update: Pocono White Water Rafting is open for reservations. Reservations can be made through the phone or online. Packages are also available. Face masks are required and social distancing is enforced.
With mild to wild family trips to choose from, you pick your adventure. For families, the company recommends rafting in the summer months of June, July, and August so you can enjoy opportunities to swim, play, and relax. And with only class I and II rapids, young children can enjoy this mild rafting adventure.
2020 Update: White Water Adventures is closed for the 2020 season.
This one will be a bit of a drive, but it is worth it. White Water Adventurers is located alongside the Youghiogheny River in the middle of western Pennsylvania. Trips are available for all ages and skill levels. This family-owned business has been in operation for 30 years, so the owners know their stuff and the river.
Tubing Destinations Near Philadelphia for Families
Milford, New Jersey
2020 Update: Camping available by reservation only. Daily visitors are not allowed this season. The game room is closed. River rental trips are available Monday through Thursday.
The company offers three- to four-hour tubing trips on the Delaware River, traveling five to six miles. Most of the river is an average of 2 to 4 feet deep, although you can occasionally expect real swimming holes with depths of 6 to 8 feet. Each trip includes a barbecue meal, and you can ride in single, double, and even triple tubes. Rafting, canoeing, and kayaking are also available.
Point Pleasant, Pennsylvania
2020 Update: Bucks Country River Country is open for tubing, kayaking, and canoeing reservations by online appointment only seven days a week from 8:30am to 7pm. Face masks are required and social distancing is enforced. Its website is updated in case of inclement weather.
River Country is one of the oldest operating tubing companies in the area. It offers two- to four-hour tubing adventures along the Delaware River. River Country's standard tubes are custom manufactured with dual chambers for safety and come in four different sizes. It also has a "Snuggle Tube" that can be shared with smaller children. Note: River Country does offer rafting rentals as well, but it is not a true whitewater experience.
Cool down in the river at Twin Rivers Tubing.
Phillipsburg, New Jersey
2020 Update: Twin Rivers Tubing is open this summer through reservation only. Tubing, kayaking, raft, and canoeing rentals are available. Face masks are required and social distancing is enforced.
Offering tubing, kayaking, and rafting on the Delaware River, Twin Rivers Tubing is a great destination especially for families with children. It offers tube tethers so you are guaranteed to stay close to your kids—although it caps the age for tethers at 6. Enjoy a relaxing trip while also taking in the beautiful views of the Lehigh Valley Falls along the way.
2020 Update: Brandywine River trips are available and running for the 2020 season by reservation only. Reservations must be made through the phone a day in advance. COVID-19 protocols are in place.
This afternoon-only adventure sets off from Smith Bridge, where you pick up your tube after a brief safety overview and prepare for your 1.5-mile float down the Brandywine River. Minimum age is 5 years old.The Brandywine River is a very slow, meandering river. It is ideal for beginners or older couples who want a relaxing ride without having a lot of prior canoe/kayak knowledge or skill. The river is about 2 to 3 feet deep on average.
Photos courtesy of the tubing companies