White water rafting is an exhilarating adventure whether you are experienced or not. All over the world you can take rafting trips from beginner level to expert, and each trip allows you to experience your destination through active participation with the environment. It is a glimpse into what long ago explorers might have felt as they battled dangerous terrain searching for new horizons. White water rafting is an exciting way to truly immerse yourself in your destination. Check out these 9 beautiful white water rafting destinations for your next vacation.

Photo Credit Katie Loehr

Nenana River, Alaska

Located in Denali National Park, the river stretches 140 miles into the middle of Alaska and forms the eastern border of the park. The Alaskan mountains are the backdrop along the glacial river and wildlife a plenty can be seen along the shores. There are a variety of rafting trips according to ability and desired time so you can adventurously explore one of the last American frontiers.


Photo Credit Kenny X. Li

Colorado River, Grand Canyon

Flowing through Colorado, Utah, and Arizona the river is about 226 miles long. As you travel the raging rapids you get an inside glimpse at one of the natural wonders of the world. Deep inside the canyon you will rest your eyes upon some of the most beautiful and rare sights as the red rock walls climb against the pale blue skies. Stop along the river and take a hike before heading back out to open waters. You can find guides and plan your trip at Grand Canyon Whitewater.  


Pacuare River, Costa Rica

Found in the central valley of Costa Rica, the Pacuare river runs through the Turrialba valley full of beauty and wildlife that makes a glorious setting along the rushing rapids. The headwaters start in the Talamanca Mountain Range and flow 68 miles into the Caribbean Sea. Warm tropical sunshine kisses the surface of the water dancing across it like glittering diamonds. The exotic sights of the surrounding rainforests make the rushing waters and rocky rapids well worth it. Highly recommend staying at Rios Tropicales Lodge, an eco-resort nestled deep in the rainforest, where the only way to arrive and depart is via whitewater rafting.


Photo Credit Zachary Collier

Futaleufu River, Chile

The waters of the river mingle with the glacial lakes of the Andes Mountains. There is plenty of calm waters for beginners and many Class IV rapids for those rafting for adventure. Turquoise waters and snowy mountain peaks make for a spectacular adventure into the Chilean wilderness. Visit Expediciones Chile for rafting tours and places to stay along your journey.


Photo Credit Christopher Jensen

Zambezi River, Zimbabwe and Zambia

Go for a one day raft trip below the Victoria Falls in what many claim is the best one day trip in the world. There is rafting available on both sides of the river in Zimbabwe and Zambia. This is an intense and difficult rafting trip with twenty two rapids most of which are class V and some of the biggest in the world. This is a true rafting adventure with plenty of adrenaline pumping rapids. You can find more rafting information at Zambezi Rafting.


Photo Credit Zachary Collier

Rogue River, Oregon

Whether you are looking for a day trip or a long weekend, the Rogue River is one of the best rafting rivers in the United States. It is a protected river full of breathtaking scenery. Whether you choose a four hour trip or a whole weekend there is plenty of exciting action at areas like Nugget Falls and Powerhouse Falls. There is also riverside lodging to accommodate you and your rafting buddies. Orange Torpedo Trips offers packages and all you’ll need to plan your rafting trip.


Photo Credit Neal Mauldin

Chilko River, British Columbia

The Chilko is a class IV rafting experience that flows through the beautiful forests and mountain peaks of Canada. Chilko is a glacially fed river system, and you may catch a glimpse of bears and big horned sheep along the riverbed and maybe even an eagle soaring overhead. The Chilko River Rafting Co. takes pride in the fact that there are no other rafting companies with terrain like the Chilko.  The 100 miles of icy blue water is the longest distance of whitewater in North America that is commercially owned. At the roughest rapids, rafts travel at 25 mph, and you won’t see another soul as you zip down the river.


Photo Credit Kecko

Rhine River, Switzerland

This class III-IV river flows through Ruinaulta which is also known as the “Swiss Grand Canyon” because of the sheer enormity of the canyon the river cuts into. Landslides centuries ago diverted the original path of the river and now it flows through massive granite walls and towering cliffs. It is a trip with incredible views and heart pounding rapids. Rafting.com has more information to plan your trip.


Photo Credit Brenda Wiley

Chattooga River, South Carolina and Georgia

This federally protected river is the same river you will see in the movie Deliverance! The river is divided into two different sections one of which accommodates family rafting trips or those seeking an easier trip with rapids that fall into classes II and III. There are also many lodging options within this section. Then, there is the downstream stretch that has five rapids right in a row and all are class IV. It is known as the Five Falls, and it is no picnic. Nantahala Outdoor Center offers rafting packages to suit the kind of trip your are seeking.



  1. I’ve heard of a couple of these, but I never knew about the rapids in Zambia or Alaska. I bet the views in these locations are like no other. Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. Thank you for the post and for sharing some of your best places for white water rafting!
    Allow me to add Nile Water Rafting in Jinja City in Uganda. The Nile River with its source 80 km Eastern of Uganda, offers the best white water rafting opportunities for adventure seekers

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