One of my fondest family-bonding memories was setting out on our first whitewater rafting adventure. I was nine, 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. The entire day was fun, we worked together as a team, and we still talk about our adventures to this day. All this to say, whitewater rafting is seriously one of the most fun things I can think of to do as a family. Second only to our many adventures tubing. Nothing beats a day on the river, floating, swimming, and basking in the sun. Occasionally catching a little rapid and racing to see who can get to the best spots first.
If you are tired of these 90 degree days and looking for some spectacular fun outdoor activities, we have you covered with our picks of the best rafting and tubing spots in the area. For more water fun, check out our roundup of spots to go canoeing and boating near Philadelphia.
If you decide to head to the Poconos for your water adventures, check out our list of 61 Things To Do in the Poconos for more fun places to check out while you're there.
Jim Thorpe River Adventures—Jim Thorpe, PA
For families or groups with small kids (aged four and up) this is the trip for you. They offer 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, they also offer "BigTime" trips in the 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 eight.
Pocono Whitewater Rafting—Jim Thorpe, PA
With mild to wild family trips to choose from, you pick your adventure! For families, they recommend rafting in the summer months of June, July, and August so you can enjoy lots of opportunities to swim, play and relax. And with only class I and II rapids, young children can enjoy this mild whitewater rafting adventure.
White Water Adventures—Nesquehoning, PA
This one will be a bit of a drive. White Water Adventurers is located in Ohiopyle, PA alongside the Youghiogheny River and in the middle of western Pennsylvania, but it is worth the drive. Trips are available for all ages and skill levels. This family-owned business has been in operation 30 years, so they know their stuff and they really know this river.
Delaware River Tubing—Milford, NJ
Offering 3-4 hour tubing trips on the Delaware River, traveling 5-6 miles. Most of the river is an average two to four feet deep, although you can occasionally expect real swimming holes with depths of six to eight feet. Each trip includes a BBQ meal, and you can ride in single, double, and even triple tubes. Rafting, Canoeing, and Kayaking are also available.
River Country—Point Pleasant, PA
River Country is one of the oldest operating tubing companies in the area, so they know their stuff. They offer 2-4 hour tubing adventures along the beautiful Delaware River. River Country's standard tubes are custom manufactured with dual chambers (for safety) and come in four different sizes. They also have a "Snuggle Tube" so you can share with smaller children. Note: River Country does offer rafting rentals as well, but it is not a true whitewater experience.
Twin Rivers Tubing—Phillipsburg, NJ
Offering tubing, kayaking, and rafting on the Delaware River, Twin Rivers Tubing is a great destination especially for families with children—they offer tube tethers so you each get your own space but are guaranteed to stay close to your kids—although they do cap the age at six. Enjoy a relaxing trip while also taking in the beautiful views of the Lehigh Valley Falls along the way.
Wilderness River Trips—Wilmington, DE
This afternoon-only adventure sets off from Smith Bridge, where you will pick up your tube after a brief safety overview as your prepare for your 1.5 mile float down the Brandywine River. The minimum age is 5 years old.The Brandywine River is a very slow, meandering river. It is ideal for beginners or older couples that want a relaxing ride without having a lot of prior canoe/kayak knowledge or skill. The river is usually about two to three feet deep on average.
Photo via Delaware River Tubing