By Joanne Colella
With the arrival of June and the start of summer, there may be no better time to plan a day trip on the water – as in, an exciting whitewater river trip! Whether it’s a lazy tubing excursion or a more active ride in a kayak, canoe, or raft that you seek, there are plenty of whitewater outfitter companies that offer guided trips for novices and experts alike. All of the necessary equipment and instruction is provided, as well as options for food and beverages, picnic facilities, transportation between starting and ending points, and more. Prices are per person, and will vary by the type of watercraft you’ll be traveling in, dates, and the number of people in your party.
In operation since 1967, Bucks County River Country, in Point Pleasant, PA (eight miles north of New Hope), bills itself as “The World’s Tubing Capital” and notes that tubing has become one of America’s favorite water sports. For a perfect day on the Delaware River, the company boasts an array of options, with both sit-in and sit-on kayaks in six different varieties, classic canoes, multi-person rafts, and, of course, tubes for individuals as well as unique two-person “Snuggle Tubes” that are the perfect way to stay close when tubing with a child or significant other. Kayaking, they explain, has become the fastest growing boating activity in the world, while canoeing remains the classic way to enjoy the river, with canoes large enough to fit a third person. Rafting is a comfortable way for groups, families, or friends to share a fun river adventure together. River Country’s operating days and hours may vary up until June 20, after which their summer season is in full operation seven days a week through Labor Day. Call ahead to check departure schedules and pricing (look for discount offers, too) and make reservations. Meal deals are also available. For more info, visit www.rivercountry.net or call (215) 297-5000.
Delaware River Tubing, located in Frenchtown, NJ on the Delaware River, offers scenic two- to four-hour tubing, rafting, kayaking, or canoeing trips. Each rental of their high-quality, brand name equipment also includes their exclusive free barbecue meal at “The Famous Hot Dog River Man,” a stop halfway along your river adventure, next to a private island with picnic tables right in the water. Besides the chance to pause and explore various small islands and sunbathe, this all-inclusive outfitter’s package offers transportation to and from the river; access to restrooms, showers, and changing rooms; plus key check, paddles, life jackets, and canoe kneepads. Their convenient location allows guests to avoid traffic on narrow, winding roads, with the entrance to the water only a couple of minutes from where you park your car. Limited numbers of double and triple tubes are available at no extra charge, and their budget-friendly rates represent a terrific value with so many extras included. For more details on Delaware River Tubing, visit www.delawarerivertubing.com or call (908) 996-5386.
Jim Thorpe River Adventures, in Jim Thorpe, PA, is located on the Lehigh River Gorge. This area of the Pocono Mountains is home to great whitewater rafting, easy family rafting trips, exciting whitewater kayaking, and some of the best mountain biking around for those who’d like to spend some time on dry land. Their Lehigh River rafting trips are run through Lehigh Gorge State Park, considered one of the gems of the Pennsylvania State Park System. Three distinct options are offered. The Easy Whitewater Rafting Trip is great for anyone, especially young kids, young families, groups looking for “easy thrills,” people with plans later in the day, people with apprehensions about river rafting, or those who have health issues or special needs. The rapids are shorter, less intense, and more relaxing, with great views and beautiful river scenery all around. Next up the scale is Introduction to Whitewater Rafting, a bit longer trip that is geared for adventurous young kids and their families, or groups looking for easy-to-moderate thrills that start off with a big, long rapid followed by short ones. The longest and most challenging option is BigTime Whitewater Rafting, meant for experienced rafters, outdoorsy kids age eight and up, or physically fit and aggressive beginners who are prepared to do their own paddling, experience the thrill of piloting their own raft, and want to ride through 20 named rapids – all under the watchful eyes of expert guides. Contact Jim Thorpe River Adventures at www.jtraft.com or (800) 424-RAFT.
Additional aquatic adventures abound throughout the New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania region, providing a cool respite from the hot summer months to come. A quick search on the internet – and an easy drive from home – will lead you to yet more options on places to go for a lazy, hazy day on the river.