West Virginia's Upper New River white-water rafting adventures are perfect for families. While some of the state's other rivers, such as the Gauley, are a bit too challenging for youngsters, the Upper New River is great for beginners and is safe for children. You'll raft through a magnificent 1,400-foot-deep canyon, splash in gentle rapids, and play in quiet emerald-green pools. You can choose from numerous licensed river rafting outfitters that guide special family trips.
In river rafting language, rapids are separated into six categories. A class one river is the easiest, and a class six river is virtually unrunnable. The Upper New River is filled with long and tranquil class one and two rapids, with an occasional class three stretch of white water thrown in for excitement. Outfitters take families on two- and three-day trips that are appropriate for families with children ages six and older.
Trips offer inflatable rafts piloted by guides as well as individual easy-to-paddle inflatable kayaks called "duckies." Most outfitters have special small-size duckies for children who wish to paddle by themselves. The river guides cook delicious family-friendly meals and help set up camp each night along particularly scenic sections of the river.