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5 Tips for Family River Rafting

So you’ve decided it’s time for some FAMILY RIVER RAFTING?!

Dave Hansen Whitewater and Scenic River Trips is a long time family owned company. Because of that, we are aware that one of the most important things about a family vacation is your kids having a great time, and we’ve laid out our trips with this in mind. Our guides are aware of this as well, and they pull out all of the tricks to make sure the kids are leaving and wanting to come back for more family river rafting trips.

Here are five tips we think you should know before your family river rafting adventure

1. Come prepared

There are several things you can do beforehand to ensure you have everything you need before your family river rafting trip. Snacks, water bottles, a towel, change of clothes, croakies, sunscreen, waterproof camera are always a good idea, and can help make the trip go as smoothly as possible.

2. Have a conversation with your kids beforehand

One of the most important things about whitewater rafting is knowing what you are getting into beforehand. Kids may have a picture in their heads of what whitewater rafting looks like from the raging and sometimes intimidating rivers in photos or movies, but something that we like to remind families is that most rivers are not actually like this, and certainly not the Snake River.

The Snake River is unique in the way that it is a “pool drop” river, which means there will be times of both white water rapids and calm water pools intertwined in which you’re able to relax a bit as well as get out and swim if you so choose. The Grand Canyon is another great example of a “pool drop” system.

Another thing that makes our whitewater section unique is that in the first half, it is class I and II and so if your kids are timid or nervous at all this is a great time for them to sit toward the back near the guide and become comfortable. On the second half that’s where all the big waves are with the class II and III rapids, so at this point hopefully they will feel comfortable enough to move up to the front of the boat for the big fun and splashes!

3. Pick the right trip for your family

Dave Hansen offers several different options to accommodate your family specifically on your family river rafting trip. We offer two types of river rafting trips: scenic and whitewater, as well as a combination of the two. Our scenic float includes breathtaking views of the Tetons as well as the possibility of wildlife along the stretch. The scenic river trip is great for families with kids under the age of 6 (but over 4), or those who may be a little too timid or nervous for the whitewater. The whitewater rafting trip is guaranteed to be a blast. This is the trip that most kids say made their vacation to Jackson Hole so awesome! If your kids are adventurers and love to have fun, this is the trip for them! Want the best of both worlds? Try one of our combination trips!

4. Understand rapid classifications and safety precautions

Another important factor when waking your family river rafting trip is knowing the necessary information aboutrapid classifications and safety precautions. The international scale of river difficulty is an American systemused to rate the difficulty of navigating a stretch of river, or a single rapid. How quickly the water is flowing is contingent on rainfall and snow runoff. Depending on the time of year you are taking your family river rafting trip, the age limit may have had to be adjusted based on this. Make sure you check with the office on the age minimum before making your reservation, since this can fluctuate based on current water levels.

Safety is a top priority at Dave Hansen. Not only are our hand-picked guides super FUN, knowledgeable, and entertaining, but they each have the necessary CPR and First Aid training, and, in many cases, Swiftwater Rescue, Wilderness EMT, or Wilderness First Responder Certifications. A personal flotation device will be given to each of your family members before you get on the river and your guide will go through a safety briefing before your family gets on the river, so make sure to pay attention to detail in order to know what to do and how to act while on the river.

5. Be ready to HAVE SOME FUN

Above all, be ready to make memories that will last a lifetime and leave your kids wanting to spend more time on the river. Being prepared is the sure-fire way to make this happen!

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