Great Family Adventures: Row Adventures' 'Family Magic Rafting Trip on the Salmon River'

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: Courtesy of Row Adventures

HIGHLIGHTS: This four- or five-day rafting trip down Idaho's Salmon River covers up to 74 miles of easy and intermediate (Class II-IV) rapids at a pace that allows stops to play on the big, sandy beaches and swim the not-too-cold water. After a brief safety and how-to training, you’ll be on your way down the legendary waterway. Keep a lookout for the river’s abundant wildlife, from bass, trout, and steelhead to river otters and eagles. The journey stops for Native American rock art and pioneer homesteads, and a stretch traverses Blue Canyon, so named for its dark igneous rock. Off the water, a “river jester” coordinates kids’ activities: games, nature hikes, art projects, and leave-no-trace lessons. At camp, staffers pitch tents, set up a “dining room,” and cook satisfying meals; children get their own food before adults are served theirs. Evenings bring campfires and astronomy lessons. For a grand finale, the rafts make their way down Hells Canyon to end up at the Salmon's powerful confluence with the Snake River. This trip is recommended for ages five and older (during high-water season, ages eight and older).

OUTFITTER: Row Adventures, an eco-friendly, family-owned outfitter that’s been leading rafting trips since 1979.

ITINERARY: Each trip’s itinerary differs a bit, but a typical one is as follows: Lewiston, Idaho, to Whitebird, Nez Perce National Historical Park, Green Canyon, Cougar Canyon, Snowhole Canyon, Cottonwood Creek, Wapshilla Creek, Blue Canyon, and the Snake River confluence.

DATES: Various options are available from June to September.

PRICE: From $1,285 per adult and $1,035 per child, including all meals, ground transportation, rafting guidance, and equipment rental.

INFO: rowadventures.com, (800) 451-6034.

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