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Water rafting with Children

Alabama
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48 posts
14 reviews
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Water rafting with Children

Hi,

My family and I would like to go whitewater rafting on our trip to Gatlinburg next week. We have eight year old twins. Ideally we would like to go on a rafting trip that is exciting enough for us to really enjoy ourselves but not with waters so rough it may flip the raft (my daughter would FREAK OUT).

Some of the companies describe the rafting experience on class I and II as being an easy float down the river that is easy enough to stop and play and swim. We don't want that either.. if that were the case, we would look into river tubing. Any suggestions or is there no happy medium?

florida
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1. Re: Water rafting with Children

I don't think you find any class III or IV rapids that will allow and 8 year old on.

Alabama
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48 posts
14 reviews
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2. Re: Water rafting with Children

There are many companies that allow 8 year olds on III and IV rapids including Gatlinburg rafting, rafting in the smokies and others.

Birmingham, AL
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3. Re: Water rafting with Children

When our kids were younger it seems the issue was not how old they were, but whether they were over 60#.

If they are too small, they WILL get cold. Back then we did have to compromise for an "easier float", but never had to sacrifice scenery nor adventure.

Have fun,

Miller

florida
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1,458 posts
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4. Re: Water rafting with Children

The Ocoee River 2 hours from Gatlinburg is class III and IV rapids. On their website it says Tennessee state law says all children must be at least 12 years old.

http://www.ocoeerafting.com/safety.aspx

Savannah, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Gatlinburg, Maggie Valley, Pigeon Forge
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3,727 posts
22 reviews
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5. Re: Water rafting with Children

A couple years ago, we took our kids rafting on the NC side here:

http://www.raftwithkids.com/

It was a lot of fun!

Alabama
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48 posts
14 reviews
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6. Re: Water rafting with Children

Thanks for the link. It makes me wonder if people are disregarding the law or if it's been amended since they posted that on their site. As you can see from the places I listed and other sites I've visited, they say 8 years of age or 70lbs. The youngest I've seen is 7 yoa for III and IV rapids.

Savannah, Ga
Destination Expert
for Cherokee, Tybee Island
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1,449 posts
15 reviews
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7. Re: Water rafting with Children

Bradmac is correct about rafting with kids on the Tuck in North Carolina. In the Gatlinburg area check out www.smokymountainrafting.com They are located about 45 minutes from Gatlinburg and do rafting trips on the Pigeon Rivwer. They do trips on the upper and lower sections of the river. The upper section has class 3 and 4 rapids and the requirements are 8 years old and 70 pounds. The lower section has a min. age of 3 years old. This section has class 1 and 2 rapids with a class 3 at the end. It is an easy trip.

I took my son on this trip with this company when he was 7. He loved it and he paddled his own funyak on the trip. There where lots of children on this trip and they all loved it. I would use them again.

Their phone number is 1-800-771-RAFT. There and get a copy of their flyer from the vistor center. It has a discount offer in it.

John

Alabama
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48 posts
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8. Re: Water rafting with Children

Thanks John and Bradmac! We will likely either use the suggestion you made John or river rats which also has a tubing offer with it. Bradmac, the NC side may be a longer drive than we would like to make. I'm checking the distance now.

Savannah, Ga
Destination Expert
for Cherokee, Tybee Island
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1,449 posts
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9. Re: Water rafting with Children

Maybe Bradmac can comment about River Rats tubing. I think they use them a couple of weeks ago.

John

Savannah, Georgia
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for Gatlinburg, Maggie Valley, Pigeon Forge
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3,727 posts
22 reviews
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10. Re: Water rafting with Children

Yeah, we used River Rats on July 12 and really enjoyed it. They were a very professional operation. You pay for the tube rental ($13 apiece, $12 with the dollar-off-each coupon), grab a tube and walk down to the river. You can also buy things you forgot, like water shoes (a MUST) for $10.

About an hour and half later, at an overhead rope bridge, you exit the river where their busses are waiting to take you back. From there you do it again, or use the provided changing rooms, and head home.

We'll use them again.