Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Family Vacations in Idaho

Family Vacations in Idaho: River Rafting on the Salmon River
Rafting down the Salmon River is a great way to see the natural beauty of Idaho's mountainous landscapes.

The longest undammed river in the lower 48 states, the legendary Salmon River is considered one of the continent's premier rafting destinations. It's too rough and dangerous for families with small children to run early in the season. But beginning about mid-July, the water warms up and calms down, and it settles into an excellent river for family rafting trips through one of nature's most breathtaking wilderness areas.

A number of outfitters offer special trips in both the main and the middle forks of the river that focus on family fun. Year round, the Main Fork of the Salmon River is best for children ages seven and older. Its spacious sandy beaches are perfect for making camp, and it features great swimming holes and glimpses of abandoned mines and pioneer homesteads. The river has just enough white-water thrills to entertain the kids without being intimidating. The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is usually a bit more challenging, but during mid- to late summer, lower water levels make it ideal for families with kids younger than seven years old.

In many places, this powerful waterway slices a path through steep canyon walls that are completely inaccessible except by water -- it's the second deepest river gorge on the continent. The Salmon River has more than 100 sets of rapids over a distance of about 105 miles, and its varied elevation and terrain keep kids delighted. The wildlife viewing on both river trips is legendary, and you're likely to see bighorn sheep perched high on the canyon walls, mule deer grazing in soft meadows, and river otters playing in the foaming waters.

On all trips, the river guides set up camp and prepare dinner, including child-friendly fare. Most family trips are four to six days long and include plenty of stops to get out and play, explore historical sites, take short hikes, fish, and swim -- even in the mild rapids.

River Rafting on the Salmon River Information

Address : Various locations along the Salmon River, ID

Continue reading to explore more natural highlights of Idaho's forested regions.

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Idaho State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Idaho, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives:For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.