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Top Whitewater Rafting Near Philadelphia

When the "Merrily, merrily, merrily" of a leisurely paddle down the stream (such as can be found in CBS' "Top Paddling Spots" article) just doesn't get the heart rate high enough, it's time to kick it up a notch. Enter whitewater rafting. The water's not deep, but it's fast. There are stretches where the current races, exploding into protruding rocks, and you just zip right along with it, completely at the mercy of its flow. Don't just experience nature; ride the wild tide and feel alive on one of these exhilarating whitewater adventures.

Jim Thorpe River Adventures
1 Adventure Lane
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
(570) 325-2570

No need to exhaust yourself with travel, Jim Thorpe River Adventures is a short 90 minute drive up I-476 to scenic Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. With three distinct experiences, you can choose the one that is best suited to your group. The Easy Whitewater Rafting Trip is eight miles of easy river that is safe for even young kids (ages four and up). This option is a great confidence-builder for the novice. The Introduction to Whitewater Rafting is 10 miles of bouncing about peppered with little blasts of adrenaline surges and it contains just enough thrills to make you a whitewater enthusiast. The BigTime Whitewater Rafting is a challenge only recommended for those who are at least moderately fit. This trip is real whitewater rafting that includes exciting stretches of river that race through 900-foot high canyons. It is sure to get your heart actively engaged.

Kittatinny Canoes
3854 State Route 97
Barryville, NY 12719
(800) 356-2852

Kittatinny Canoes might seem like a hike because of its New York address, but at less than a three-hour drive, it's closer than many of Pennsylvania's own whitewater recreational areas. If you are looking for more of a relaxing trip down the Delaware River sprinkled with moments of excitement and plenty of opportunities for a swim, this is your destination. With brand new six-person rafts, this novice, no-experience-necessary adventure is perfect for the entire family. In addition to rafting, Kittatinny Canoes also offers tubing, kayaking, canoeing, zipline races, and paintball skirmishes. If one day is not enough to take it all in, campgrounds are available, as well.

Pocono Whitewater
1519 State Route 903
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229
(570) 325-3655

Pocono Whitewater has it all. There's hiking, biking, paintball, and rafting, and you can choose your whitewater thrill level, from family style adventures to the adrenalin surge of dam release daredeviltry. Even the latter, more advanced option is a "no experience necessary" excursion. Scream your way through 17 rapids on a five hour trip through 12 miles of picturesque woodland mountains. The tamer route is a three to four hour expedition, which lets you enjoy the pristine beauty of the Poconos at a slightly slower pace though, be warned, even this journey is not entirely without its high-speed perils. Whether it's just a toe dip in tranquility or a heart-hammering adventure, there's an activity at Pocono Whitewater that is sure to meet your rafting demands.

White Water Adventurers
6 Negley St.
Ohiopyle PA, 15470
(724) 329-8850

At nearly five hours away, White Water Adventurers is worth the trip because it promises the most extreme range of adventures. For the beginner, there is the Middle Yough featuring 11 miles of introductory waters with 10 "playful" rapids. The Lower Yough is a bit of a step up, even from the most difficult courses listed in previous sections of this article. Suitable for both novice and veteran, this seven-and-a-half-mile run offers some intense, but predictable rapids that might require precise raft handling to get through. The Upper Yough is a daring drop into 22 non-stop rapids. Participants need to be in good physical condition and there is a three guests to one guide ratio to help ensure a successful journey through some of the more demanding and dangerous stretches on this course.

Related: 5 Extreme Summertime Dates

Whitewater Rafting Adventures
Paradise Road
Nesquehoning, PA 18240
(800) 876-0285

The family owned and operated Whitewater Rafting Adventures has been offering trips down the Lehigh River for over 30 years. Armed with a friendly and knowledgeable staff, Whitewater Rafting Adventures is driven to present rafters with a balance between the safest and the most exciting adventures possible. The Summer Rafting trip treats families to "playful" rapids and chances to take a refreshing swim. The E-Z Whitewater trip is a fun, family-oriented excursion through the lower section of the Lehigh Gorge. Class II rapids, defined by smaller waves and clear, obvious passages, are the norm on this second journey. The more advanced Whitewater option lets you plunge into the most exhilarating section of the Lehigh Gorge with gusto. Find your passion for splashin' at Whitewater Rafting Adventures.

Related: Top Camping Sites Near Philadelphia

Allen Foster, a lifelong Greater Philadelphia resident, has been writing about all those wonderful things that make us feel so alive for over 20 years. He approaches each day as an adventure, eager to discover what new and vibrant surprises await just around life's corner. You can see his work on

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