Planing you family vacation can be fun. Here are some tips to improve your experience on the river. Being better informed what kind of return you get for your money can help you choose the right outfitter for your needs and desires.
Rafting trips vary in length! For example at my current outpost the Ocoee Adventure Center we offer two rafting trips to choose from. Those being the Ocoee River the Middle Ocoee and the Full River. For the five mile Middle Ocoee River rafting trip you will generally spend three hours with us. Two hours of which are typically spent on the river rafting. We don;t rush we take time to play and surf to give you a quality experience. Those opting for our ten mile Full River rafting trip will spend six hours with us. Four and half to five hours minus 45 minutes are typically spent rafting the Ocoee River. There are several play spots along the way that we stop and play at.
My friends and I love this question because it's better when an outfitter is close to the river. Our outpost is located on the edge of the Cherokee National Forest. For those choosing to raft with me and my friends at Ocoee Adventure Center you will only spend seven minutes riding to the river. After your rafting trip the ride back to our outpost is only thirteen minutes You can find a shorter bus ride to or from the Ocoee River at any outfitter.
You don't have to take my word for it here's links to Google Maps:
So whether you prone to getting car sick or just don't want to waste time on long bus rides we are your best bet for quality time on the river and not in a bus.
Nearly every rafting company takes pictures of happy guests rafting down the river. If they don't that might be reason for concern.. What you really want to know is about how many pictures and at how many different locations. You also want to know if those pictures are going to be available for you to view prior to purchase. My current outpost takes photos at more locations than any of the other outfitters on the river. And if you have a GoPro and want to shoot video of your rafting trip we also have helmets attachment points available at no additional charge.
A rafting trip's inclusions often speak to the overall quality of the rafting trip. All of our rafting trips include free swim time, lots of river play and surfing. Additionally our Full River trip typically includes time to soak in the sights and sounds at the 1996 Olympic Course on the Upper Ocoee River. Our ten mile Full River trip also includes a hot meal at the five mile point. Where you can relive the exciting class IV action with your friends or chat with your guide. The quality of meals speaks volumes about your outfitter and ours includes hot grilled burger and vegetarian options.
This is an extremely important question to ask your outfitter. In general, there are no industry standards. From a fun perspective, the 6 per boat plus a guide is about optimal for most rivers and especially the Ocoee River. Ocoee Adventure Center typically loads four to six guests in each raft with a guide. The 6:1 ratio or less is often the best for the most interaction with your guide. Having six allows for a good mix of people to hang out with. If you bring six folks you can have your own raft with a guide dedicated to the ride and experience you want.
At my outpost wetsuits and splash gear are availbale when needed at no extra charge. The Ocoee River is a warm river as it has been impounded in shallow lakes and warmed by the sun before reaching the whitewater section. This is especially true during the peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. However if you are cold natured you may request gear to stay warm on any trip.
The classification of the river you are going to run gives you a good idea of what type of rapids to expect. If you are new to rafting you may wish to paddle the class III Middle Ocoee first to enjoy some family friendly fun. Those looking for more excitement and thrills would likely enjoy the Full River experience taking on the class IV action of the Upper Ocoee and the 1996 Olympic Course.
The range of experience among guides varies dramatically. Many young guides are fresh out of high school and recently trained by the more experienced guides like myself. Others have been rafting commercially for years, While some of us are life long river junkies that have been rafting kayaking for decades since childhood. If it matter to you request the guide of your choice at time of booking or ask for an experienced guide if you don't who to request.
I am Fast Fred Ruddock and I would be happy to give you honest answers to your questions about rafting or the Ocoee River. You may email me directly with your questions for concerns at email@example.com and if you would like to come rafting with me be sure to check out Fast Fred Rafts for the latest details.
I began rafting when I was young during the 1970 with my family. We had several of our own rafts between my parents, grand parents, aunts, and uncles. My family loved playing in the water; I grew up rafting, sailing, and surfing. As I grew older and technology improved I began to get serious about kayaking and creek boating as well. I became an ACA certified kayak instructor and have shared the sport with countless others over the years. Living along the banks of the Green River in North Carolina I have access to some of the best world class rapids to hone my skills.
During my long off-season from rafting I primarily travel solo through Latin America. Ecuador is likely my favorite country to visit but I also enjoy Peru, Guatemala, and Mexico. Working as a river guide in the southeast during summers in North America I don't earn a lot of money and live close to the federal poverty level. In spite of this I live a rich life on a frugal budget. If you would like to learn more about traveling in Latin America or maybe some frugal travel tips visit Fast Fred Travels.
Curious about how I can travel so light or what I use on the river? Want to know more about the gear I carry abroad on my extend trips in Latin America or while rafting and kayaking? Here's your chance to dig into my Amazon shop for an inside look. If you make purchases via this shop I will get a very small commission but it will not increase your price what so ever.