Whitewater rafting is a perfect way to combine a love for the outdoors and the rushing thrill of taking on nature’s elements. What could be better than driving through a rushing whorl of water, having it spray up in your face, bouncing up and down in your seat feeling as though you are only moments away from disaster? Best of all, whitewater rafting has national safety standards followed by every major outfitter in North America and is also one of the safest adventure sports there is.

Several whitewater rafting experiences on various river routes are offered in every state and province in North America. Thrill seekers can try out rapids classified IV and V while the beginners can try out smaller rapids in the Class I-III range. However, if you are an ultra adventure seeker, then you might be out of luck. While North America does have a few of the most dangerous Class VI rapids, usually they not used by even the most hardy rafting enthusiasts and no outfitters offer tours on them. If you are truly looking to defy death, there are several other locations in the world that do offer incredibly hazardous raft rides. Africa, for example, offers several tours of Class VI rivers, where the adrenaline junky must not only contend with deadly rapids but also wildlife hazards such as crocodiles and hippopotamuses even in the “safer” areas.

There are many options for duration of rafting trips and costs for those who wish to enjoy a safe and domestic rafting experience. The well established whitewater rafting outfitters use high quality equipment, both personal safety equipment and rafting equipment and they also employ highly trained guides. These guides can be counted on to guide you along your tour safely and are reliable in an emergency, should one come up since they know their routes and rapids like they know their houses.

But there are standard items that the person who decides to try a whitewater rafting experience needs to remember. Wearing proper shoes to the site is a must. It’s important that these shoes fit well and be able to get wet and dry quickly. Another thing whitewater rafters should remember is the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays which is why sunscreen and sun glasses should be brought along. These items, most often than not, can be found in the outfitter’s store should you forget them but they will be quite a bit more pricy than if you had remembered them yourself.

A perfect way to satisfy your inner thrill seeker is whitewater rafting and you can also get in touch with areas of nature that might otherwise be inaccessible. But being in a family vacation would mean that you should call ahead to the outfitter and find out the recommended age limits for their tours. For children who are under eight years of age, whitewater rafting is usually not recommended.

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