Think again. I stopped by the Whitewater Challengers’ booth at the Travel and Adventure Show in Philadelphia and when I saw they have family friendly trips for families with KIDS I got this crazy notion that perhaps we could do this whitewater rafting thing. Of course, after I made arrangements to exchange a trip down the river for sharing our experience, I started getting nervous.
What on earth was I thinking? Seriously?! I was imagining all sorts of crazy scenarios, including the fact that my kids can’t really swim. Good grief, I’m not a very strong swimmer. Oddly enough, my nervous child thought I was crazy for being…worried. Maybe that’s the trick to make him not worry. Let him treat me like I’m crazy for worrying about everything.
Whitewater Challengers, Lehigh River is just 2 hours from Philadelphia and NYC in the Poconos, which makes it the perfect destination for a family stay-cation or part of a vacation spent in the Poconos. If you are looking for something closer to NYC or way up north in NY State, they also have whitewater rafting on the Hudson River and Black River with each having varying difficulty levels.
Our family took a midweek day rafting trip on the Lehigh River, but there are also family friendly camping/rafting trips, combination packages (biking, rafting, paintball), and birthday party options. I’m going with that being one of the coolest birthday parties EVER!
From start to finish, Whitewater Challengers took care of everything we needed. We ordered our bagged lunches and rented wet suits since it is still a bit chilly this spring. Once we arrived they guided us through a very efficient registration process, with a setup that flows smoothly and helps you remember to use the bathroom BEFORE wet suits are on. (Very important with kids!)
Once everyone was set to go, they took us to the drop off by bus, using the time on the road to introduce us to our guides – Dylan, Rowbear, and Whee!zie and give us the rules for the day. I’m told all the river guides are great, but we’re a bit biased and think these 3 guides are the very best. They made the day fantastic, teaching us how to navigate the river, pointing out neat things along the way, and sharing techniques to make rafting smoother and more fun.
If you need to work on family teamwork, there is nothing like a little whitewater rafting to get you there. In fact, I highly recommend choosing a fun activity like this to do so. You might start out feeling like the worst family on the planet (us!), but by the end of the day you’ll be “stroke”ing like pros, or at the very least be able to actually get somewhere.
Starting out I think it’s safe to say I was mortified and sure we were going to be back of the pack for all 7 miles of river, but 4 hours later we brought our raft to shore in first place. Teamwork, my friends, teamwork.
Once we were on the river the time flew by and before we knew it, the day was halfway over and we were stopping for lunch. Eating turkey sandwiches on a rocky shore never was so welcome, minus a little bit of rain.
We lost an oar…or 2…but we didn’t lose a child or parent and we let our captain guide us (Mostly. I love you, honey).
We learned that the team only works together when everyone is in the place they were meant to be – proper balance, lead rower, and evenly distributed weight do play an important role. And yes, the river looks fairly calm.
Note the water was a little calm but this was the family style whitewater rafting trip and before the season’s dam release. Also note that it wasn’t very feasible for me to take pictures at the sections of whitewater since I was too busy being part of the team and helping us get through it. Not only did we get a little rapids action, we also navigated under 2 bridges and navigated out of the main channel and into a small side shoot of the river.
Most of all, we had fun as we did something we thought was out of reach, and we can’t wait until next time. Because yes, there will be a next time. Every time my kids see a lake or river they ask when we can go again.
Are you ready to book your trip? What are you waiting for?
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