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Whitewater Rafting: A Classic American Vacation

How about a rafting adventure for this year’s family vacation? Get these apps and gear before you go!

Whitewater = Classic Summer Adventure!

How can you combine fun on the water, gorgeous natural vistas and crazy-exciting physical activity in a family vacation? Two words: whitewater rafting! We’ve picked out just a few of our favorite rivers for your vacation-planning pleasure. Bonus points if you make an epic road trip and visit all of them this summer!

Pro tip: Make Hum your road trip sidekick so you can focus on the fun without the worries!

Read on for our shortlist of amazing whitewater rivers!

LifeProof Smartphone Cases

Navigating backroads to get to river put-ins, reading reviews to find the best rafting companies, checking water conditions … your smartphone is pretty important to your next whitewater rafting trip! Make sure it stays safe with a strong, waterproof case. We’re partial to LifeProof cases. They protect smartphones from impact with river rocks and some pretty substantial splashes. Some—but not all—LifeProof cases are waterproof. Be sure to check the specs to get the level of smartphone protection you need.

Our 5 Favorite Whitewater Rafting Destinations in America

There are waaaaay more amazing rivers in the country than we can fit in this blog! We compiled this list based on cool-factor and regional popularity, and a bit of randomness.

woman snapping smartphone picture at lakeOcoee River

First, the Ocoee River in Tennessee (about 90 minutes from Chattanooga) is famous for its Olympic section—a 5-mile stretch of whitewater, specifically engineered to test the skills of world-class whitewater boaters in the 1996 Summer Olympics. You can experience the Olympic Section from the heart-pumping, face-drenching perspective of a paddler, but you can also enjoy the view from the banks. It’s almost as fun to watch fellow adrenaline-junkies paddling their way through these challenging rapids as it is doing it yourself!

Gauley River

Next, the Gauley River in West Virginia has some of the best whitewater in the country! Like almost all the rivers in the East, The Gauley is dam-controlled. After Labor Day, the Army Corps of Engineers release 22 days of water from the Summersville Dam, making for epic rapids. Note: this river is not for little ones, and certainly not for the faint of heart!

Colorado River

The Colorado River in the Grand Canyon has tons of historical significance. People have been navigating the majestic Canyon on the Colorado River for generations! Get ready for a long-haul: there are many ways to enjoy the Colorado, but each trip lasts between three and seven days. Bonus: meals are usually included with commercial rafting trips!

American River

Similarly, the American River in California has something for everyone: calmer waters for tubing, and progressively more exciting and challenging waters on the South, Middle and North Forks. Choose your own level of adventure! Or, start at the bottom tier and work your way up.

Snake River

Jackson Hole in Wyoming is well-known for premier skiing, but if you stick around for warmer weather, jump in a raft headed down the Snake River. It’s famous for wildlife and family-friendly adventure, with lots of calmer, deeper waters between more exciting rapids.


RiverApp iconRiverApp

Check conditions for rivers all over the world with this app. RiverApp lets you check historical data and view current hazards posted by other paddlers, so you know what to expect downstream. Review maps of your chosen river, save favorites and set alarms for when water levels are optimal!


MyRadar app iconMyRadar

Storms are a mixed blessing for river recreation! MyRadar will help you figure out whether rainclouds will pass by or set in for the long haul.



Gorgeous whitewater rivers all have this in common: they’re in the wild! Which means water recreation isn’t the only attraction. Don’t forget to spend some time checking out hiking trails at your rafting destination.

Dry Out and Relax!

Check out our blog on streaming music for suggestions on the best music apps. Nothing is quite as satisfying as lounging in dry clothes, eating a meal and listening to some tunes at the end of the rafting day! Want to share your playlist with your crew? Bring along a Wonderboom. It’s small, mighty and waterproof. Perfect for the riverbank.