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5 Tips for White Water Rafting as a Family in Gatlinburg

November 17, 2014 March 17th, 2020
Big family white water rafting

Looking for a new kind of adventure for your next family vacation? Come to Tennessee and let Smoky Mountain Outdoors take you white water rafting in Gatlinburg! Here are five tips to make the most of your family’s trip:

(See Also: 6 Reasons to Go White Water Rafting at Smoky Mountain Outdoors in 2015)

1. Choose the perfect date during the rafting season.

Smoky Mountain Outdoors is open from early spring through early fall. Since the flow of the river is regulated by a dam upstream, the schedule of rafting trips can vary depending on which time of year you choose. Trips are scheduled Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday, every half hour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the summer months. In spring and fall, the schedule is dependent on rainfall amounts so days and times are less predictable.

Since this is such a popular attraction, reservations should be made as early as possible, especially if you are planning a summer vacation. Please note that trips will not be cancelled due to rain.

One sure thing about a Smoky Mountain Outdoors adventure is thatFamily preparing for a white water rafing trip you will get wet! Packing appropriately will ensure each family member has the most comfortable experience. Avoid wearing anything made from cotton, wool, or denim. Fleece or other synthetic items are recommended in the spring and fall. Smoky Mountain Outdoors provides nylon outerwear during this time. For those coming during the summer months, be sure to pack shorts and be aware that jeans and denim are not allowed. Bathing suits or tee shirts may be worn.

Proper footwear is very important. Shoes must be secure, so tennis shoes or sandals with a back strap are recommended. Flip-flops are not allowed. Each family member should also bring a change of clothes, shoes, and a towel with them.

2. Don’t stress out about safety.

Safety is a top priority at Smoky Mountain Outdoors, and families can be assured the guides here are very well trained and offer a fun and exciting experience for ages three and up. Their calm, friendly personalities and terrific senses of humor are sure to put all family members at ease.

White water rafting familyEach rafting adventure begins with a 20 minute safety lesson. Participants are also given a personal flotation device approved by the Coast Guard.

3. Pick the right rafting trip for your family.

Although no prior experience is necessary for any of our adventures,
choosing the right trip for your family is very important. The Lower Pigeon River trip is best for families with young children. With a slower pace and less challenging rapids, this five and a half mile excursion is packed with beautiful scenery and lots of splashing fun!

Not for the faint of heart, the Upper Pigeon River trip is two hours of exhilarating adventure. Rafters navigate plenty of heart-stopping drops and sizeable waves as they follow the guide’s commands for paddling through the moving waters. No one younger than eight years of age or weighing less than 70 pounds can take this trip, so factor that into your planning.

For a really special treat, reserve a combo trip, and raft both the Upper and Lower river sections. What a spectacular day!

4. Consider a kayaking trip.
Boy enjoying a kayak ride

Perhaps you are looking to tackle white water rapids independently. Choosing an inflatable kayaking adventure is just the thing. With the Smoky Mountain Outdoors guide close by, all family members, ages 12 and up, can navigate the waters in their own kayak. Children ages 10 to 12 can join an adult in a double kayak and enjoy the fun too.

5. Take advantage of our lodging and attraction packages.

Once you decide on white water rafting in Gatlinburg, consider one of the packages offered by Smoky Mountains Outdoors. Choose from rafting tickets with either hotel accommodations or admission to other area attractions such as Dollywood, Ripley’s Aquarium, the Ober Gatlinburg Tram or the Dixie Stampede Dinner Show. The prices on these packages can’t be beat!

For more information about rafting at Smoky Mountain Outdoors, or to make your reservations for 2015, give us a call today!