Enjoy Family Whitewater Rafting Vacations

Whitewater rafting with kids is about experiencing the outdoors in an exhilarating and unique way. From the scenic views to the blood-pumping rapids, whitewater rafting is unlike anything else in the world, and is a fantastic way for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages to experience the great outdoors. Family rafting can grow with you and once you get a taste, you will be KODI Family for life!

Best Whitewater Rafting in Colorado For Families

We offer paddle trips (everyone has a paddle and helps maneuver the raft), paddle-assist (where we row and kids get to dig in when they want), as well as a full-on oar rig where you sit back and enjoy the ride while your guide does all the work, and you just need to hold on and enjoy the scenery.

Rapid Classifications

A common misconception is that all family whitewater rafting trips involve crazy, high-intensity whitewater. This is a myth! In fact, there are 6 different classes of rapids, and several of these make excellent whitewater rafting adventures for kids, all available in the state of Colorful Colorado

Class I – Easiest

Class I family whitewater rafting is defined as moving, mostly flat water featuring small waves, few obstructions, and is by far the easiest to navigate.

Class II – Easy

Class II family rafting features easy rapids with small waves. The river’s path is unobstructed, and little maneuvering of the raft is needed. The river channels are wide and easy to navigate. This is a good place to start for young children. Whitewater rafting for toddlers and children as young as 3 to 4 will enjoy class II water.

Class III – Moderate

Class III offers some of the best whitewater rafting experiences for kids. While the rapids are exciting and at times irregular, Class III whitewater blends adrenaline with safe maneuvering. Waves are moderately sized, and obstacles are easily avoided. The river current is more powerful than the lower class ratings, moving the raft along at a faster rate. Children as young as 6 years old and 50 lbs. can participate on certain Class III family whitewater rafting vacations we offer depending on river flows and conditions at launch time. 

Class IV – Advanced

Class IV whitewater rapids feature long, technical rapids that require precise maneuvering in a fast current. Each section of rapids can be longer and passages become more constricted (or narrow). Precise maneuvering is required. Young adults must be 14 years of age before participating in our Class IV family whitewater rafting trips

Class V – Challenging

Class V family whitewater rafting is the most challenging that is commercially raftable. Rivers are often obstructed by unavoidable obstacles. There can be drops, holes, and shoots and these trips are only recommended for physically fit individuals looking for an adrenaline-filled experience. Past river rafting experience is highly recommended, leaving this class V for the teens and strong kids, eighteen years of age and up!

*Class VI – Extreme

Class VI rapids are not commercially raftable. They present extraordinary difficulty with unpredictable outcomes. Don’t worry, we won’t do any rafting of this type at Kodi! 

Best Family Whitewater Rafting Trips

Whitewater rafting with kids is a great addition to any family vacation – through feedback and reviews, we’re often told that whitewater rafting was the highlight of our guests’ vacation trips. Family rafting in Colorado is such a fun way to create a family bonding experience with memories to last a lifetime and the photos to prove it.

During family rafting every paddler is outfitted with PFD’s (personal flotation devices), helmets, and wetsuits when necessary to stay warm and comfortable. Raft trips always kick off with a safety talk and river guide familiarization session. Kids are just as much a part of the raft team as adults, and they’re always welcome on KODI trips.

5 Tips To Remember For Family Whitewater Rafting

Family whitewater rafting trips are experiences your family will remember forever. To make the most of it, here are some quick tips to have the best time.

1. Prepare for the elements

The weather can change rapidly on the river and in the river canyons, so it’s important you’re ready for anything since we depart rain or shine! Layers for warmth, sunscreen, a sun visor under your helmet, and maybe even paddling gloves can come in handy.

2. Dress to get wet

You’ll definitely get wet, so wear quick-drying clothes or synthetics underneath your wetsuit. Cotton stays colder when wet during your trip rafting with kids and is not recommended. Don’t worry, we have wetsuits and splash jackets we can provide you to keep everyone comfortable throughout the trip.

3. Don’t bring valuables

Leave the expensive jewelry, hats, sunglasses, and other accessories in your car. You’re likely to donate them to the river unintentionally while you’re with your family rafting and we don’t want any sad faces or rubbish in the river!

Cell phones are common casualties on family whitewater rafting trips, and we recommend leaving them behind. We hate to see you wishing you would have backed up all of the photos on your phone as you see it floating away down the river. If you must bring your phone, ensure it’s in a waterproof bag and tethered to you in some way.

4. Hydrate and Fuel

Family rafting is a work out, and the sun and elevation can affect everyone differently, so be sure to hydrate and fuel up before your trip.  We don’t stop for snacks and discourage generating potential trash on the river with wrappers or water bottles. Full day trips offer a riverside lunch to keep up your energy.

5. Listen to your guide

Your guide has extensive river navigation, rescue, and medical training. Plus they can tell you about the history, flora, and fauna of the surrounding areas – and may even have a few jokes.. Help them do their job (which is to keep you safe and have a great time!) by listening to them at all times to have your best family whitewater rafting trips with Kodi!

Check Out Our Trips Selection

A tourist group engaged in a thrilling kayaking experience on the river

Brown’s Canyon National Monument Half Day Raft Trip

Raft Browns Canyon National Monument, one of the best sections of whitewater in the country. Enjoy the perfect blend of thrilling rapids and calm water—ideal for families looking for a little excitement.

Group of tourists enjoying Browns canyon whitewater rafting

Brown’s Canyon National Monument Full Day Raft Trip

Hold on tight as you surf the rapids on one of the world’s most popular whitewater rafting trips! Our signature Arkansas River rafting adventure offers the perfect mix of Colorado whitewater and calm water as well as a riverside lunch.

A group of tourists having fun with whitewater rafting in daytime

Upper Colorado River Half Day Raft Trip

A popular trip for children and families, the “Upper C” Half Day raft trip offers mild rapids, spectacular wildflowers, sheer granite canyon walls, and forests of blue spruce and Douglas fir trees. Guides also offer information about the area’s history, flora, and fauna.

Adventure awaits you with Colorado river rafting and the best rental equipment you can find

Upper Colorado River Full Day Raft Trip

Soak in the scenery of majestic Gore Canyon and surrounding ranch land on this mellow Colorado River float. This raft trip is perfect for families and younger kids looking to relax under the Colorado sun. It takes you past dinosaur tracks and is complete with a cheese tortellini riverside lunch.

Tourist boats going forward while Clear Creek whitewater rafting

Clear Creek One-Third Day Beginner

Great for families and beginners alike, this Idaho Springs rafting trip takes you through a historic mining town on a continuous class II – class III Colorado whitewater adventure. This section of Clear Creek is surrounded by beautiful alpine trees and has rapids ideal for inexperienced paddlers.

Duckie Add On

KODI’s Duckie add-on allows you to try your hand at your own kayak, with the ease of being able to swap out from a raft at your leisure.

A tour group engaged in class 5 whitewater rafting Colorado

Arkansas River Exclusive Raft Trip

Create a private, intimate Colorado rafting trip for you and your party with KODI Rafting’s Arkansas River Exclusive Raft Trip. Join KODI Rafting and enjoy the luxury, convenience, and personalized service of a private rafting adventure.

A far away picture of a group engaged in Browns Canyon rafting

Browns Canyon National Monument Overnight Raft Trip

Take your Browns Canyon rafting trip to a new level by making it an overnight experience. Be one of the few to camp along the banks of the Arkansas River in Browns Canyon National Monument.

A couple engaged in zip-lining amid one of our Big Bend river tours

Zip and Raft

Book our Zip and Raft the Arkansas River trip for a morning of rafting Colorado’s favorite whitewater followed by an afternoon of ziplining. - two fun, quintessential Colorado activities in one easy, incredible day.

Off-Road Rentals

Raft the Arkansas River and explore Colorado in a jeep rental or side by side rental. Home to the incredible Arkansas River, Four Mile Recreation Area and the Collegiate Peaks. Buena Vista is the perfect home-base to explore Colorado by rafting and ATV rentals. Choose from 2 door or 4 door vehicles.

Happy tourist ziplining in the scenic mountainous area

Top of the Rockies Zip Line

Book our Zip and Raft the Arkansas River trip for a morning of ziplining and an afternoon of rafting Colorado’s favorite whitewater. Enjoy two fun, quintessential Colorado activities in one easy, incredible day.

Tourists enjoying horseriding before class 4 whitewater rafting

Saddle Paddle – Horseback Riding & Rafting

Get the best of both worlds with KODI Rafting’s Saddle Paddle. Pair any of our rafting trips with a horseback ride in the Rockies. Make a full day of your adventure or break it up throughout your stay.

Pedal Paddle – Colorado Bike Rentals

Explore the area like the locals! We love cycling here in Colorado and this is one of the best ways to take in the mountains.  The Pedal Paddle takes you to the top of Vail Pass where you'll coast down the paved trail from the top through Copper Mountain Resort. Pair with any raft trip!

Big Bend Half Day Duckie Trip

Go solo or paddle with a friend in an inflatable one or two-person kayak, also known as a duckie. Big Bend, with its calm water and mild rapids, is the perfect section of the Arkansas River to maneuver your own boat.

Many people come from a long distance to experinece rafting in Colorado and create lifelong memories

Big Bend Half Day Raft Trip

Big Bend is a mild stretch of water on the Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida. It passes through farm land, open space, and forests. This section is great if you have young children or are looking for a scenic, mild float with a hint of whitewater.