Your next road trip doesn’t have to be from coast to coast. Try a PA road trip and hit some authentic stops along the way. Don’t forget to add some thrills and adventures to your trip. Millenials that are looking for something unique to experience don’t have to travel far from some of the biggest cities on the East Coast.
Outdoor Adventure and Destinations
Take in the sites of the great outdoors. Get out the hustle and bustle of the city to enjoy peace and quiet. You might want to try a new experience like rock climbing, skydiving or whitewater rafting. Whichever experience you choose it’s right here in Eastern PA. Make a week of it and plan multiple stops during your PA road trip. Some of the outdoor adventure companies even offer onsite camping so bring your gear.
Breweries, Distilleries and Vineyards
Throughout Eastern PA there are dozens of small breweries, distilleries and vineyards. With special events, tastings and complete with dining these are must dos on your next PA road trip. Guide your taste buds through the Lehigh Valley and Poconos and check out these small, unique venues.
Arts and Culture
A road trip isn’t complete without a museum tour or art gallery. Lucky for you the Lehigh Valley and Poconos are scattered with venues from small local artist galleries to museums with impressive collections of art. Experience a small town like Jim Thorpe, trek through historic Bethlehem or visit Steamtown PA in Scranton. Each of these towns have special events, First Fridays or art walks if you want to completely immerse yourself in the local arts.
However you plan your PA road trip itinerary be sure to make a mixture of adventure and relaxation. From thrilling whitewater rafting tours, leisurely trail bike rides, museum tours or tasting wine eastern PA has everything you could want for a well rounded road trip. Spend at least one night of your road trip with Whitewater Challengers, so bring your camping gear (or rent tents from us to lighten the load).
Are your debating where the family is going for your next day trip. We know you can get caught up in the lights, music and thrills of an amusement park. But you can enjoy the glow of a campfire, the quiet of nature and thrills of whitewater if you choose to spend your next family trip with a whitewater rafting outfitter. Here’s a few reasons why rafting is better than an amusement park.
1. Beat the heat of the amusement park!
Don’t stand in lines of paved surfaces all day. Spend your family time in nature under the shade of trees and get cooled off by the splashing whitewater waves. Up in the mountains where you will find the most thrilling whitewater action you can enjoy cooler temperatures and fresh air. On an average day the Poconos is about 5 degrees cooler than the Lehigh Valley just south of the mountains.
2. Pull the plug.
You won’t be spending your day taking selfies and telling your friends how dizzy you got riding the tea cups. It’s ok…we’ll let you take a before and after shot to share with your friends (we’ll even take a few photos along the way). But leave that phone back at the rafting center and enjoy the scenery. Most of the trip will be spent in a “dead zone” anyways so your messages won’t be able to send. It feels nice to unplug and enjoy life every now and then.
3. It’s not a lazy river.
Yes…it is a river. But it’s more exciting than a lazy river. Challenge yourself to paddle with a group of friends, or strangers, to navigate rapids and avoid obstacles. This is real life…no ropes, chains or pulleys. Every experience is different and it’s up to you to step up to the challenge and work as a team. There are still rapids, waves and splashing to be enjoyed. We promise whitewater rafting is better than a amusement park’s lazy river ride. It’s 3-4 hours of fun surrounded by nature and friends…without having to wait in line in between every rapid.
So next time your family is considered heading to the amusement park for the day. Just think about waiting in line after line, crowds of people, noisy rides, cheesy music and hot pavement. Then choose a whitewater rafting adventure in the outdoors instead. Whitewater Challengers can tell you all about your options and help you find a trip that is perfect for your family.
Include the entire family on a multigenerational vacation. Outdoor adventure and camping are perfect activities for family members of all ages. From the young children to the grandparents…maybe even great grandparents. Why not choose an activity where everyone can have fun?
Include All Generations
Family travel that includes several generations is becoming more popular. It allows families to reconnect. Traveling with younger and older relatives is a fun way to spend quality family-time. Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to sit down and reconnect when you could choose an adventure in the Poconos and create new memories. Some of our favorite family adventures include whitewater rafting, inflatable kayaking, trail biking and camping.
Let the parents escape on their own relaxing vacation getaway. Plan a “Skip-Gen” trip with just the grandparents and grandchildren. Letting these generations experience their own adventure without the parents involve can help create those family bonds with older generations. Sometimes its hard for parents to get time off work, but for generations that are enjoying retirement it’s the perfect time to get those grandchildren into the outdoors for a new experience. Grandpa and Grandma can be fun too! So give this version of a multigenerational vacation a try.
Rafting for All Ages
Whitewater rafting trips in the Poconos are fun for the whole family. Suitable for ages 5+ and for anyone that is physically able. On the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania you get to steer your own raft through Class 1-2 rapids for some adventure and take time to swim and splash in the river. This is not a high adventure trip, so it’s not scary for first time rafters. But if you are looking for something to do with teens or the whole family there are Premier Rafting options for ages 9+ that give a bit more excitement and can get the adrenaline pumping. Want more? We have even more options in Upstate NY.
Whichever activities you choose for your multigenerational vacation Whitewater Challengers can provide the perfect setting to step into the outdoors and create new family memories. We have an array of outdoor adventure in the Pocono Mountains of PA and Upstate NY. Call us today and we can help you plan your vacation.
Through experience we can achieve personal growth and transformation. There are countless destinations across the globe that can open our eyes to new people and adventures. We don’t have to seek out the most isolated areas of the world for some peace and serenity. There are vast wilderness areas right in our backyard.
Spending time in nature has always been a way to seek tranquility. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is crucial every now and then. Go back to the basics. A simple walk in nature can be your first step for personal growth. But here are few more suggestions.
You can experience a lot of joy from partaking in an activity that you have never tried before. Imagine feeling the sense of accomplishment when you finish biking 25 miles or rafting class 5 rapids on the Black River. Simply getting out of the comfort zone of house or hotel and camping under the stars can give you gratification. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and do something you wouldn’t normally do.
Force yourself to put down technology. Leave the phone in the car and don’t even think about turning on the television. Technology is a huge distraction from what is right in front of our eyes. When you hit the trails or river in areas like the Pocono Mountains don’t be surprised if you lose cell service and can’t check your Instagram feed.
Take A Drive
Just get in the car and GO! Go somewhere new. You don’t have to hop on a plane and travel to the other side of the world. Just drive to a new place. New adventures are waiting along the way. Whether you plan your journey or fly by the seat of your pants, simply taking a drive in your car can be a fill a need for a new experience. If you are in the Northeast US, there are great scenic drives throughout the Adirondacks and 1000 Islands Region of NY or the Pocono Mountains in PA.
Learning about the past is a great way to change your perspective on the future. As you work towards your own personal growth it is enriching to learn about the past achievements of the world. You can even look into the history of your own family and trace the path to your existence. History creates the story of our cities and town across the country, so when you are visiting a new place during your travels take some time to think about the past. Even along the riverside or on rural trails you will find traces of history in the outdoors.
When you are ready to spend some time on your personal growth and achievements let us know…we have new adventures for you to experience. Either in PA or NY, Whitewater Challengers outdoor activities include whitewater rafting, aerial zipline courses, trail bike rides, paintball games and more.
Boy Scout Safety Afloat Program is essential prior to participating in a boating activity. Safety of guests is the top priority for Whitewater Challengers. The Boy Scouts has outlined 9 important requirements as part of the safety afloat program.
Qualified Supervision on the River
All youth should be accompanied by an adult age 21 years or older that is committed to following the Safety Afloat guidelines. Specific adult to youth ratios (according to Scouting guidelines) should be followed when participating in the activity. All Whitewater Challengers rafting trips on the Lehigh River are accompanied by trained river guides certified in first aid and CPR. The guides accompany the trip in kayaks or sit on tops. Whitewater Challengers encourages youth groups to have one adult in each raft (rafts seat 5-7 people), especially if the group is first-time rafters.
Personal Health Review
All participants should be physically fit to participate in whitewater rafting and other boating activities. Paddling and swimming require physical exertion. On our guided whitewater rafting trips we can accommodate many disabilities. Please let us know prior to your trip about any concerns you may have. If there are specific health concerns like allergies or recent injury/illness please notify our guides in private prior to the trip so they can respond swiftly if any incidents occur while on the trip.
Swimming is not a prerequisite for whitewater rafting. Whitewater rafting is a multi person craft and even those not classified as a swimmer can participate in the activity. Whitewater Challengers offers different trips based on age level and skill level, you can choose a trip appropriate for your group. For some boating activities the BSA Safety Afloat program requires participants to pass certain swimming test prior to participating.
Life jackets are required on all Whitewater Challengers rafting trips. Before getting on the river shuttle our river guides will give each participant an appropriately sized life jacket and adjust it to fit the individual. Life jackets must be worn at all times when on or around the river.
All scouts should have a buddy when participating in an activity afloat. 5-7 participants fit into one raft (depending on water levels). Buddies should be in the same raft. If your buddy falls out of the raft nearby guides and rafts should be alerted so they can pull the swimmer from the water into a raft as quickly as possible, especially when moving through swift rapids. If another raft is not able to pick up the swimmer please follow our safety instructions: float feet first down river using your arms to avoid obstacles. Do not stand up in fast moving water under any circumstance. Whitewater Challengers has a safety video available online. In addition, each trip is given safety instructions prior to getting on the river.
All participants must have sufficient knowledge and skill to participate safely. Whitewater Challengers offers online safety videos and pre-trip instructions. All of our guided whitewater rafting trips are suitable for beginners and first time rafters. You must be able to work as a team and take instruction from the raft captain (someone in your group, preferably an adult or experienced rafter).
Whitewater Challengers does the planning and preparation for your group. To enjoy a safe and enjoyable trip, we provide professional guides and quality equipment. All trips are accompanied by a first aid kit in case minor injury occurs. Our guides will point out the proper line to take through whitewater rapids. All of our trips stop mid-way for a lunch break. You should bring your own lunch in a Ziploc back or you can purchase a lunch from us.
Whitewater rafting trips run rain or shine. You should consider the temperature, weather and water temperature when deciding what to wear on your trip. Wet suits are available at the rafting center. On warm days a bathing suit and/or short and a t-shirt is suitable. Sunscreen and hats to protect you from the sun. When temperatures are colder wearing wool or polypropylene will keep you warmer. Avoid cotton since it loses insulation value when wet. Cotton will make you colder as it holds the moisture against your skin.
According to BSA Safety Afloat guidelines you need to make sure your craft is suitable for the activity. When rafting with a outfitter like Whitewater Challengers you can rest assured that your raft, paddles, life jackets and other equipment will meet or exceed safety regulations.
Rules and safety guidelines are only effective when followed. All participants should know and understand the safety procedures before embarking on the activity afloat. Learning the reasoning for the rules makes them easier to understand and will likely result in more people following them. When participating in activities in nature, especially around water, there are always real hazards. When taking part of a guided trip be sure to listen to the advice and instruction of your professional guide.
Ready for your next activity afloat? Try one of Whitewater Challengers guided rafting trips on the Lehigh River, Hudson River or Black River in PA or NY. The Lehigh River offers discounted Scout days and special Raft-O-Ree weekends. Onsite camping, trail biking and more are great additions to your outdoor adventure.
Whitewater rafting is widely known as a recreational activity for summer adventures. Thrill seekers flock to high adventure trips like the Colorado River or the Black River for adrenaline rushing rapids. Families are taking their young children on milder rafting trips on the Lehigh River where they experience a touch of class 1-3 rapids. On the other hand, you can embark on a complete beginners float trip at locations like the Delaware River. Other then how much fun it is…most people don’t know some of this interesting facts about rafting.
The first rafts were not made of rubber but of any material that could float. They were used often to transport people and goods on rivers all around the globe. Overtime as society became more advanced and new technology became available. Leading to the popularity of whitewater rafting as a recreational activity.
Here are few unknown facts about rafting leading up to whitewater rafting as we know it today…
1. Rubber river rafts were invented a century before commercial trips were undertaken
Believed to have been invented in the early 1840s, the rubber raft was initially used for transportation of people and goods. The first raft made by Lt. John Fremont and Horace H. Day. The intention was to survey the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. Commercially guided recreational rafting trips did not become popular until the 1980s. Whitewater Challengers was the first outfitter on the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania, opening for business in 1975.
2. John D. Rockefeller unsuccessfully introduced float trips at a resort he built in 1956
Private companies grew the rafting business. One of the most affluent business families in America, the Rockefellers, introduced rafting float trips to one of their resorts at the Grand Teton National Park in 1956. There was little interest in this activity at the time. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that more exclusive whitewater rafting companies were formed. This is when interest in this sport began to gain momentum.
3. Rafting was introduced to the Olympic Games in 1972 in Munich
Debuting in the Olympic Games in 1972 increased the popularity of whitewater rafting. The sport was also included in the 1992 Barcelona Games and the 1996 Atlanta Games. In 1996, the Ocoee River in Tennessee Valley played host to the whitewater events of the Summer Olympic Games.
The popularity of whitewater rafting kept building momentum in the 1980s. It remains a family favorite for a summer time adventure. These facts about whitewater rafting contributed to our ability to offer a guided rafting trips to thousands of happy guests.
Rather then just learning some facts about rafting, get out there and experience whitewater rafting for yourself. Book your next adventure with Whitewater Challengers for an action packed rafting trip in PA or NY. Book online or call us today at 800-443-8554.
Guided inflatable kayaking trips are a new option in the Lehigh Gorge State Park. If you are looking for a whitewater adventure that is a step up from rafting there is no need to look further. Whitewater rafting has a been an exciting bucket list adventure since the 1970s. If you have been thinking about taking a whitewater trip by kayak rather than raft this is your next step.
What is inflatable kayaking?
Inflatable kayaks, or duckies, are small rubber rafts that seat one to two people. Unlike rafting you will control the boat using a double bladed paddle. When rafting a single blade is required on the paddle because you only use paddle strokes on the side of the raft where you are seated.
Teamwork for paddling a tandem inflatable kayak?
When paddling a tandem (two-person) inflatable kayak you should put the more experienced paddler in the back. The pace is set by the paddler in the front. The paddler in the back should match the stroke speed and strength of the more inexperienced paddler in the front. The paddler in the rear is also responsible for steering the boat.
How to steer?
When in a tandem inflatable kayak it is important to communicate with your paddling partner. The paddler in the back is responsible for steering. There are two way to steer. One, both paddlers should paddle together in the same direction slowly turning the craft in the desired direction. Two, the front paddler should continue to paddle as normal while the rear paddler should use their paddle as a rudder placing it into the water at a 90 degree angle on the side in which he or she wants to turn. The second method is swifter, so this is the desired action in fast moving rapids.
Is this suitable for kids?
Yes, this activity is great for kids that have some experience in boats or rafts. Whitewater Challengers inflatable kayak trips allow kids age 14+ on a solo ducky and down to age 9 when going tandem with an adult. When in a tandem ducky with an adult the child should sit in the front for several reasons.
- Allows the adult to keep their eyes on the child.
- The more experience paddler should always be in the back.
- The heavier person should be in the back, making the craft more responsive when steering.
Whitewater Challengers provides the equipment, shuttles and guides for your inflatable kayaking trip on the Lehigh River. Trips are available every dam release weekend between May and October. Trips depart shortly after 9am and include a riverside lunch. Spaces are limited for these trips so be sure to book early. You can book online or call 800-443-8554.
It’s that time of year where we all set lofty goals for the New Year. Usually we stick to our diets for about a month and stop saving our money after two weeks. But this year, just like every year Whitewater Challengers is making one of our top priorities to go green!
As an outdoor company we respect the environment and keep our wilderness pristine and untouched by the human hand. We ask all of our guests to join us in this initiative. There are a few easy ways to keep our rivers and forests clean when you visit our rafting centers.
Leave No Trace
This means that you leave the environment exactly as you found it. Whether it’s the river or your campsite you want to leave no evidence of ever having been there. Leave the trees and wildlife alone. Don’t cut any branches off the tree or feed the wildlife. We know those chipmunks are adorable but they don’t need the crust off your PB&J!
All of our rafting trips get to enjoy a mid-day snack or lunch on the riverside. We provide buckets to take your lunch with you and we expect that you take your garbage back out in those same buckets. This is how you can be involved in our Go Green initiative.
Pick Up Litter
We do this several times a year. Organized river clean ups involve several members of our staff that spend the day on the river picking up every piece of litter they can find. You will find us along the roadside and walking around the campground as well. We want to enjoy the beauty of nature and not have it spoiled by floating water bottles and empty potato chip bags. Help us out! Even if the trash isn’t yours simply pick it up and put it in the trash where it belongs.
We have recycling bins all around our rafting center. Not only do we want to keep the ground litter free but we also want to keep recyclables out of landfills. Plastic water bottles and soda cans from your lunch can easily be placed into a recycling bin after your rafting trip. Recycling is a core part of staying green.
Building a campfire is one of the best parts of your camping trip. Gathering around for warmth and roasting marshmallows into the night. A few tips from the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to lessen the environmental impact of a campfire include:
- Keep fires in designated fire rings.
- Use dead wood that is down on the ground, do not cut branches off a tree.
- Don’t burn your garbage! This can release pollutants and toxins.
- Don’t transport your wood across state lines or a far distance from its source.
- Use small wood pieces that are about the size of your forearm.
Help us keep our rivers clean and go green on your next rafting trip or camping trip at Whitewater Challengers. Experience the pristine wilderness of the Pocono Mountains, Adirondacks or Thousand Islands Region book a trip with us this season!
Summer camp is a memorable part of every childhood. Whether it’s day camp or an overnight camp, adding on an overnight adventure can enhance the camp experience. It has been argued that summer camp prepares you for life and we couldn’t agree more. Through social activities, being involved in a community and having hands on experiences are what make camp so memorable and life altering for young children.
Why should you choose an overnight rafting adventure as part of your summer camp? Here’s why…
1. Be Physically Active
Children spend the school year reading books and sitting in a classroom. Rafting is a way to release some pent up energy and have an exhilarating adventure. Rafting on the Lehigh River requires that all participants paddle through rapids. On weekday camp rafting trips there is also ample time to swim in the river. Summer camps encourage youngsters to get outdoors and participate in games and sports. Rafting is the perfect way to get kids exciting about stepping away from the TV screen.
2. Learn Critical Thinking Skills
Help your campers develop critical thinking skills in a real life situation. Whitewater Challengers river guides will provide instructions on how to paddle and steer a raft. Once on the river it is up to all participants in the raft to use that knowledge to work as a team and make quick decisions.
3. Encourage Leadership & Teamwork
Many parents send their children to summer camp because camps grow future leaders. Through camp programs children take their turn being the leader in various activities. Rafting offers the perfect opportunity for our young leaders to step into the captain’s seat and navigate their friends down the river. To avoid rocks and obstacles in the river groups of 5-7 paddle each raft down stream with a captain at the helm. Strong leadership and team work are naturally a key part of rafting. As campers take turns being raft captain they need to communicate instructions to their raftmates in order to have a smooth journey.
4. Embrace the Natural Environment
There are fewer and fewer opportunities to get outdoors. It is important that child are given a chance to experience the outdoors in order to appreciate it. Seeing the natural world untouched by society such as in the Lehigh Gorge State Park or nearby Hickory Run State Park can foster an understanding and appreciation of the environment. This helps to encourage environmentally conscientious behavior from a young age. Summer camp rafting programs can help children learn about rivers and the wildlife that can be found in that environment.
5. Sense of Success and Achievement
Rafting is not just a fun day out, it takes teamwork and focus. Completing a journey down the river and spending a night in the outdoors can give campers a sense of success and achievement. Rafting and camping take children out of their normal routine. Make them aware that they can accomplish more and enjoy new experiences if they are open to the challenge. A child might begin the day a little hesitant, but we guarantee that by the end of the trip they will be splashing through rapids and grinning ear to ear.
Make rafting part of your summer camp program and contact the group sales department at Whitewater Challengers. Call 800-443-8554 or find more information on our website. If summer camp isn’t in the plans for summer, make it a family outing instead.
Looking forward to warm days and cool evenings? As the weather gets colder and the leaves begin to change colors it is time for a getaway in Northeast PA. Consider a rail trail bike ride to take in the colorful scenery. Nestled between White Haven and Jim Thorpe, the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail offers scenic views, nature sightings, and smooth trails for a relaxing day out. Local fall foliage festivals in the Poconos offer a variety of options for things to do during your stay.
The changing colors begin to appear in late September and the peak of fall foliage in the Poconos is typically early- to mid-October.
Fall Rail Trail Ride
The Lehigh Gorge State Park Rail Trail provides 22.5 miles of scenic river views, waterfalls, and historic sites. There are various bike rental and shuttle options available. Different access points to the trail allow you to choose from a 9 mile, 13.5 mile or 22.5 mile long ride. The access points include White Haven, Rockport and Jim Thorpe. You can bring your own bike or conveniently rent a bike for your fall foliage bike ride. Cooler air in autumn makes a full day bike ride enjoyable and relaxing. Stop along the trail at one of many picnic areas to take a break to enjoy a lunch.
Scenic Fall Foliage Photo Opportunities
Bring the family along for a fall bike ride, but also don’t forget the camera. The Lehigh River is rich in history and there are historic remains all along the trail. Old stone walls from fallen industry. Locks and dams along the river that once allowed for transportation of coal and timber down the Lehigh River. Both active and abandoned railroad tunnels, bridges and tracks are also prevalent along the trail. You may even get a glimpse of a train traveling the tracks on your fall foliage bike ride.
Fall Foliage Festivals & Outdoor Festivals
Fall Foliage Festival in Jim Thorpe is held each year in the downtown historic district. This is a popular destination for locals and tourists who want to spend time at local restaurants, bars, art galleries, and historic sites. White Haven’s Outdoor Fall Festival has a quaint small town feel with their main street lined with vendors, crafts and food. If you are looking to fully immerse yourself in the great outdoors, be sure to check out the Lehigh RiverFest in Weatherly, PA for day full of outdoor adventure followed by an evening filled with vendors, crafts, food, entertainment, games and bonfire at the Whitewater Challengers Campground.
Fall Camping in the Poconos
To top of your fall foliage bike ride and Pocono Mountain getaway book tent camping. Nothing beats sitting around a campfire with friends and family on a crisp autumn evening. Bundle up under your favorite blanket and roast some marshmallows over that toasty campfire.
According to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania is the meeting ground of northern trees that flourish only on mountain tops farther south and southern species that are at the northern limits of their range. Pennsylvania straddles two climate zones so a variety of tree species including birch, maple, oak, elm, ash, dogwood, beech, walnut, sassafras, hickory, aspen and so many more are what create the wide range of colors that are so spectacular each fall.
Whitewater Challengers, in the Southern Pocono Mountains, is the perfect place for a getaway in the autumn. Fall foliage bike rides in the Lehigh Gorge State Park are one of the most enjoyable fall activities in the Poconos. Call 800-443-8554 or book online to reserve a bike rental and/or shuttle with Whitewater Challengers.