Float Down the River
For chilling thrills on a summer afternoonnothing beats floating down the rapids of a cool mountain stream on a giant inner tube. And the Smokies offer several great places for family tubing, including the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee, Deep Creek near Bryson City and the Tuckasegee River.
Considered a “family” river, you can also take a raft ride on the Tuckaseigee River. With its Class I and II rapids, the Tuck is open to adults and kids of all ages.
If you want to kick it up a notch, you’ll love whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River, about a half-hour west of Cherokee on Highway 19/74. With its Class II and III rapids, Nantahala River rafting is restricted to children at least 60 pounds or seven years of age.
Because it’s a dam-controlled river, the Nantahala is a dependable source of whitewater rafting adventure. The water is pulled from the bottom of the 250 foot deep Nantahala lake, guaranteeing refreshingly cool water, even in the heat of summer.
Several outfitters offer guided, semi-guided and self-guided trips down the Nantahala’s eight-mile whitewater course. The trip takes about three hours.
Rafting and Tubing