Rafting in Virginia is the family-friendly, adventure-filled experience you need to make the most of your summer. So quench your thirst for excitement and hit the river this season! We have several rivers to explore with high-rated outfitters that offer professional guides and equipment to help you navigate these exciting waters — no experience necessary!
There are plenty of rivers to choose from, each with unique features. From gentle rapids on the Clinch River to a heart-pumping adventure on the Shenandoah, there is an adventure for everyone! So, whether you’re searching for peaceful relaxation or a rush of excitement, a rafting trip in Virginia may be just what you need!
Class Rapids: I and II
Known for: Family-friendly adventure, easy floats with fun rapids
The Shenandoah River is your best bet if you’re looking for fun and thrilling rafting near Washington DC. You are only about a 1.5-hour drive away from river rafting fun for the whole family! The Shenandoah River is a perfect day trip if you want to swap concrete and city stress for lush foliage, gorgeous river views, and outdoor adventure.
While you paddle along the river, you’ll witness scenic views of George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park. You can explore eddies, relax in riverbeds, pass by Native American fish dams, and paddle through several exciting class I-II rapids. You can choose the ideal level of adventure for your group, from kayaking to rafting to tubing and canoeing in Virginia.
Class Rapids: I-V+
Known for: Civil War history, beginner to expert rapids
The Potomac River is one of the more historically significant rivers in Virginia. Spanning 405 miles long, this river was used for transport during the Civil War and separated the Union from the Confederacy. It also offers many personalities at different points on the river. For example, some legs of the river drop 50 ft in 1/10 of a mile, creating class V+ rapids to navigate (which are only for experts with a stomach of iron). But in other areas on the river, like at Harper’s Ferry, beginner, and intermediate rafters can enjoy class I-III rapids with an expert guide to safely guide you!
Class Rapids: Mostly class I with a couple of class II-V rapids in certain spots
Known for: Beginner to expert rapids
The Maury River offers a calmer paddling experience in many popular stretches. The entire river is contained within Rockbridge County, and several dams have changed its personality from a turbulent stream to stretches of calm water. This river flows next to the charming cities of Lexington and Buena Vista before it converges with the James River. While Goshen Pass and Devils Kitchen have rapids only experts should try, there are parts of the river where you can enjoy calmer water and smaller rapids fit for beginners.
Class Rapids: Small ripples
Known for: Lazy river-style tubing and kayaking
Looking for something a little slower-paced? The Clinch River is great for when you want a lazy float with great views. The most popular floating spots start in Tazewell and offer miles of history and beautiful natural scenery. Drift under overhanging tree branches and chat with friends and family as you beat the heat on this calm river!
Class Rapids: Class I-IV rapids
Known for: Virginia’s largest river, urban rapids
James River is Virginia’s largest river at 444 miles, including the Jackson River tributary. It’s also home to America’s only urban Class IV rapids! You can head to Richmond, VA, to experience the slightly bizarre scenario of paddling through exhilarating rapids with a city skyline in view. In other stretches of the river, you can enjoy breathtaking nature scenes and a calmer current.
Feel like it’s time to hop on the river? No matter what you’re looking for, we have the perfect Shenandoah River adventure float trip for you and your group! If you have any questions, visit our Frequently Asked Questions page or call our office at (540) 635-5440.