An ARTA Family Trip is a chance for you to get to know your children in a friendly, uncomplicated, and simple environment and a chance for them to do the same with you. No Internet connection means more face-to-face connection; no screen time means more scream time. Whether your family is you and one child, (or grandchild), or you and a horde of children, (they all don't even have to be yours), our special Family Trips are unforgettable experiences.
"This was my favorite family vacation ever. My little wishes were to see bears, bald eagles and big fish, and my big wishes were to develop confidence in the water and give my sons a wonderful nature adventure. All of that happened and more."
These trips are different! On our Family Trips we adjust our itinerary to allow for water fights, rock-skipping lessons, wildlife viewing, and other essential activities and we supplement the menu with extra peanut butter, pancakes, and marshmallows. Because of the wonderful and unpredictable nature of kids, our plans are kept quite flexible; on some days we may designate a "kid's boat", or have a "no-talent show", or have an "Unbirthday Party", on other days we may do all three! The only sure thing is that we will enjoy every moment.
Family Trips are staffed with a very talented group of guides - people who love kids and who understand the word "vacation". Their job is to make sure that you go home fully relaxed and that your kids go home totally exhausted! With many years of experience in whitewater navigation, as well as many trips with children, our guides are fully capable of providing your family with a relaxing and memorable journey.
SOUTH FORK AMERICAN: The South Fork of the American River is a playful river with plenty of beginner level whitewater and a few intermediate rapids to grab your attention. It is a very popular trip, particularly on weekends, but during the week it offers a wonderful escape from the stress, heat, and tension of city life. Our unique "wilderness" campsite, complete with a canopy of trees, the privacy of nature, and no Internet connection allows you and your family to spend some uninterrupted screen-free time together in a peaceful setting.
MEETING PLACE: Camp Lotus, CA (near Placerville)
The Green River through Lodore Canyon is a magical place of intricately carved rocks, Native American artifacts, exciting rapids and dramatic vistas. Our family trip here takes advantage of the history and geology of this special canyon and we will take extra time to explore, and to try to grasp the meaning of "one-million years". The rapids are fun, but the focus of the trip is on the mysteries and grandeur of the canyon.
MEETING PLACE: Vernal, UT
ROGUE RIVER: The Rogue is a gentle river that flows through a lush, remote canyon in Southern Oregon. It boasts an abundance of wildlife, (deer, otter, bear, and numerous birds), and beautiful side streams with swimming holes and natural rock slides. The campsites are big, sandy beaches, usually near a side stream and offering great hiking and star-gazing opportunities. The rapids are exciting, but also forgiving; perfect for paddle rafts and inflatable canoes as well as for swimming!
MEETING PLACE: Grants Pass, OR
MAIN SALMON: The Main has all the ingredients for a perfect Family Trip - a remote canyon, warm water, incredible beaches, lots of wildlife, fun rapids, great hiking, hot springs and a chance to float through Idaho for six days. Our diverse flotilla of paddle rafts, inflatable canoes and oar rafts allows for a variety of "thrill levels" - from tame to insane - and insures that everyone in the family gets the most out of the trip. Big, sandy beaches are perfect for frisbees and sand castles and the hotsprings are ideal for soaking away the worries of the "artificial" world.
MEETING PLACE: Salmon, ID
GREEN DESOLATION: Desolation Canyon is a vast, mysterious, and seductive playground, for young and old alike. There are winding side-canyons, giant sand beaches, unique campsites, clear and refreshing side streams, and endless grand vistas. The pace of our Family Trip will be slow and relaxing, with short hikes, camp games and leisurely afternoons, allowing for plenty of time together. In July, the weather is hot, the water is warm and the river is very calm, making this trip appropriate for kids as young as 6. An unforgettable week.
MEETING PLACE: Green River, UT
Main Salmon - 6 days
$999/youth (regularly $1499)
Kathy Whitaker brought her two sons from Des Moines, Iowa to the Rogue River last summer. They had never been west of the Rockies, never been rafting, never pitched a tent anywhere besides their own backyard. They came with rain gear, bug spray, Benadryl, hand sanitizer, a compass, three types of sunblock and a passel of anxieties, (including a healthy, Midwestern fear of bears). For four days they swam rapids, jumped off rocks, hiked to historic cabins, skipped stones, paddled inflatable kayaks, found heart-shaped rocks and lost track of time. They picked blackberries, watched otters, smelled wildflowers, drank hot cocoa and began to feel at home in the wilderness. Kathy even took a long nap under a shady tree one afternoon while the boys went exploring with our guides. They learned a little bit about Zane Grey, wild salmon, and Douglas fir and a lot about each other. Kathy was inspired by our female guides and tried rowing; the boys were captivated by our male guides and helped out in the kitchen. They spent the last night outside their tent under the stars and spent the last morning calmly watching a bear cruise along the shoreline (albeit from across the river). They cried when the trip was over and went home with new friends, one-of-a-kind tan lines, great stories, a full bottle of bug spray and a better understanding of the natural world. It would be nice to know that the boys now clean their rooms without being asked and that Kathy finally got up the nerve to audition for that role in the community theater, but even without that, it’s a nice story.