Whitewater Rafting will be Your Ultimate Summer Experience

One of the “coolest” ways to enjoy Mother Nature with your trusted compadres while staying fit and maintaining a safe distance from others is by tackling the white waters near Blue Ridge.

Whether you are tackling the world-class rapids of the Ocoee (on the Tennessee side) or the gentle waves of the Toccoa (on the Georgia side), Blue Ridge/McCaysville is home base for enjoying the ride.

Tubing the Toccoa River

On the Georgia Side …

On the Toccoa, you’ll opt for rafting, tubing or kayaking (either a hard-top or an inflatable vessel) – there are no official “white water rapids” here. You can bring kids as young as three years, and this will be your option for kids under 12 since Tennessee law requires children to be 12 years before rafting the Ocoee. A Rolling Thunder River Company is your ideal outfitter for a rafting adventure in McCaysville. Toccoa Valley Campground in Blue Ridge has rafts and kayaks, in addition to tubes, with full shuttle service.

But there are numerous other options for kayaking and tubing the Toccoa River. Download a full list of outfitters here:

On the Tennessee side …

If you’re looking for waves, then check out the Ocoee adventure options. The Upper is famous for its use as a venue for the 1996 Olympic whitewater events. On the five-mile stretch, your guide will take you over the most intense rapids of the river. Just take note, the TVA only releases water to this section on Saturdays and Sundays, so plan accordingly and well in advance.

The middle section is also five miles, but the easier class III waves makes this a better solution for beginners or those looking for adventure without the “thrills.” There is also a section of the river made for taking a break and splashing in the water outside your raft. Ahhhhh!

Finally, if you want the full experience, you can take one trip that links both river sections together for the ultimate white-water trip.

Ocoee Rafting. Ocoee Rafting is the oldest outfitter on the river and offers rafting trips plus zip line adventures. Book a two-hour Middle Ocoee River Rafting Trip and a two-hour Zipline Canopy Tour with Zipline Canopy Tours of Blue Ridge and save $25 per ticket. Professional photos are always taken and available for purchase. 800-251-4800.

A Rolling Thunder River Company. Rolling Thunder is located in McCaysville and has been running river tours for over 40 years, taking out more than a million people. Full service kayak, tube and canoe rentals with shuttle. Also trips on the Nantahala River. 800-408-7238.

Carolina Ocoee. Located in Ducktown, you can enjoy their 20 years of experience on the Ocoee or Nantahala Rivers. Professional photos are always taken and available for purchase. 828-341-5241.

Ocoee Adventure Center. The Ocoee Adventure Center Outpost is easy to find on Highway 64 near Copperhill. The center offers a variety of adventure packages for outdoor fun, including Ocoee River rafting, lake kayaking, mountain biking and more. 888-723-8622.

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Lesli Peterson

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