5 Tips for River Rafting with Families

5 Tips for River Rafting with Families


Planning a family trip can be a lot, but once you’re here we take care of the rest!


Rafting the Colorado River through Grand Canyon provides the best family experience with a great mix of adventure and quality time spent together. Bringing kids on the adventure can enhance any experience and lend different perspectives to the magnificence of the Canyon. Many of the kids on our trips have commented on the novelty of being out of cell service and how spectacular it is to be present with their families. See the great reviews from a few of our young guests last year at the end of the post!
Here’s our best tips for planning a great family trip with us.


1. Pick the Right Adventure:

Our 7 day full canyon motorized whitewater expeditions tend to be the most popular trips with families. Seven days offers ample time in the Canyon and can fit nicely into a summer vacation. Much of the time can be spent off the rafts exploring and hiking in side canyons. Oar powered rafting trips offer more time relaxing on flat water and are perfect for guests looking for longer periods in the Canyon moving at the natural pace of the river. Talk to the kids to determine the proper mix of relaxation and adventure!


people hiking in side canyon in Grand Canyon

Some side canyons in Grand Canyon are easy flat walking while other have plenty of river stones that like walking in deep sand. Photo: Megan Ford-Fyffe.


2. Prepare in Advance:

A rafting expedition is not the time to do things last minute. Book both your expedition and your travel in advance to ensure space for the whole family. Be sure to review the packing lists in advance and begin the packing process sooner rather than later.


people set up a cot at a sandy campsite along the Colorado River

We provide cots for our motorized trips. Photo: Storey Welch.


3. Pack Light and Efficient:

Backpacks instead of medium duffels can be great for kids because they limit over packing. Rolling clothes in outfits affords extra packing space as well. Also look into multipurpose items such as pants that zip off to shorts or a sarong to double as a camp towel. Another hint is to have all kids (and parents!) break in their shoes and sandals before the trip.


person is sitting on rock surface wearing teva sandals

Tevas are a great option for your rafting trip. In fact, they were originally created just for Grand Canyon river guides!


4. Bring the Necessities:

Ensure that medications, sunscreen and sun protection (hats, etc.) and other toiletries make their way on the expedition. Don’t skimp on comfort and invest in rain gear for the whole crew to make sure everyone is covered if weather turns foul or rapids are too cold!


Kid with sun hat and sunglasses on river raft on a sunny day

Bringing good gear for the extreme environment and varied weather will make your trip more comfortable and enjoyable. Photo: Megan Ford-Fyffe.


5. Make Sure YOU Have Fun:

Most importantly bring a GOOD ATTITUDE and prepare to have FUN on the Colorado River. Your positive attitude will radiate to those around and enhance this wonderful experience in the solitude of nature. Feel free to bring squirt guns and other fun games to enhance the experience.


group of people play frisbee on the red sand in redwall cavern in grand canyon

Get the whole group involved in a bout of beach frisbee! Photo taken in Redwall Cavern, which is at mile 33 in the upper half of Grand Canyon. Photo: Megan Ford-Fyffe.


About Family Rafting Adventures

Hatch River Expeditions has provided thousands of families with the expedition of a lifetime in our 90 years of operations. Many families come back generation after generation to recreate special memories and share this special piece of earth with the younger generations. The minimum age for any guest on a full canyon motorized trip is 8 years old, while the minimum age on an oar trip or an upper or lower canyon trip is 12 years old. Check out our website to find out more information and get your family booked on this amazing adventure!


People in the 1950s riding a river rafting rig made of repurposed military surplus pontoons

People in the 1950s riding a river rafting rig made of repurposed military surplus pontoons

Reviews from young guests in 2023 and 2024

Stella F., 18 years old: “Probably my favorite trip I have ever been on! Being without your phone is amazing and you can just focus on the Grand Canyon.”

William P., 15years old: “Trip of a lifetime! We rate it #1 in all of our traveling. We will be back!! Thank you! Thank you!!”

Dylan G., 11 years old: “I had the best guides ever!!!”

Aiden O., 17 years old: “Absolutely amazing you take great care of us and Carlos josh and Emily were all amazing”

Hayden S., 11 years old: “Carlos wasn’t only my guide but also my best friend during the trip! 10 out of 10.”


Book your 2024 or 2025 river trip today to get a peek at this still rugged wilderness and play your own part in Hatch history!

Don’t forget to get your 90th Year T-shirt or get a sticker!