Great Family Adventures: Western River Expeditions' 'Desolation Canyon and Green River Rafting'

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 Western River Expeditions

HIGHLIGHTS: During these four- or five-day raft trips, recommended for ages five and older, you’ll traverse 84 miles of the Green River’s whitewater through Desolation Canyon, learn about 40-million-year-old landforms, and take guided hikes to millennium-old Native American petroglyphs and a historic homestead that used to house outlaws. A scenic flight from Moab takes you in, plunking you onto a gorgeous desert plateau. After sunset, staffers cook riverside meals (there’s a kids’ menu too) and set up camp. The segment’s more than 60 rapids are all fairly moderate, as are water temperatures. Part of Western River Expeditions’ "Family Magic Adventures" program, this rafting vacation brings along a "river jester" to lead games and teach kids about the region’s history and folklore. For added challenge, take an inflatable kayak (with one of your kids, if you like) while guides pilot the rest of your gang down the river in a raft.

OUTFITTER: Western River Expeditions is an environmentally-responsible outfitter that’s been taking people rafting for 50 years.

ITINERARY: Moab to Desolation Canyon, Gray Canyon, and back to Moab.

DATES: Departures available in May, June, and July.

PRICE: Four-day trips start at $1,295 per adult and $850 per child, including all meals, a charter flight, an airport transfer, rafting guidance, and use of rafting and camping gear (but not taxes).

INFO: westernriver.com, (866) 904-1160.

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