Rio Grande RiverTexas TourismBy Josephine Matyas

America’s rivers flow through desert canyons and dense forests, past small towns and big cities, and through high desert and rugged mountains. Time on the river is a very popular way to spend vacation time – swimming, boating or floating is sure to create lasting memories. With so many rivers in the U.S., it’s difficult to narrow it down. Here are a few suggestions:

Texas
Go for: Rafting, canoeing and kayaking.
Where: The spectacular Rio Grande River through Big Bend National Park in West Texas is the quintessential desert river rafting experience. The Rio Grande travels through remote high desert and canyons.
Length of trips: Half-day to 21 days.
When: The height of the rafting season in Big Bend is during spring break in March, however trips are offered in the beautiful canyons throughout the year.
Outfitters: Big Bend River Tours, www.bigbendrivertours.com.

Detroit Princess RiverboatBill BowenMichigan – Urban
Go for: Boat tours, riverboat cruises, luxury yacht charters.
Where: On Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.
Tours: Diamond Jack’s River Tours for narrated tours on the Detroit River, www.diamondjack.com; Detroit Princess Riverboat, www.detroitprincess.com; Infinity & Ovation Yacht Charters, www.infinityandovation.com.

Michigan – Countryside
Go for: Kayaking.
Where: In Wyandotte, as well as kayak tours, classes and events on the Detroit River and throughout southeast Michigan.
Outfitter: Riverside Kayak Connection in Wyandotte, www.riversidekayak.com.

North Carolina
Go for: Whitewater rafting and kayaking.
Where: On the Nantahala River, a long time favourite of whitewater adventurers or on the French Broad River through Asheville.
Special route: The French Broad winds through the Biltmore estate, which outfits visitors for guided and self-guided raft and kayak trips. And the river also connects cool mountain towns from Rosman to Hot Springs.
When: Pair a river trip with this special event – the French Broad River Fall Festival, featuring music and North Carolina beer (September 22).

Idaho – Urban
Go for: A relaxing cool-down float.
Where: On the pristine, crystal clear Boise River, right through the middle of Idaho’s capital city.
Outfitter: Epley’s rents rafts and tubes and offers shuttle services that take floaters between the put-in and take-out locations, www.cityofboise.org/boiseriver.

Payette RiverCascade Raft & KayakIdaho – Countryside
Go for: Whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking.
Where: Idaho is famous for its whitewater – especially the renowned Middle Fork of the Salmon River, the Snake, Lochsa and the Payette.
Special attractions: Idaho has two whitewater parks, home to world-class canoe and kayak competitions and amateur events: Kelly’s Whitewater Park on the Payette River in Cascade, www.kellywhitewaterpark.com; and the Boise River Recreation Park, new in summer 2012, boiseriverpark.com
Length of trips: Half-day, full-day, multi-day – and even trips that focus on special interests such as families, cuisine, fishing and fitness.
When: From May to September, more than 4,800 kilometres of Idaho whitewater flows down the rivers providing an adrenaline rush for adventure seekers.
Outfitters: www.visitidaho.org/whitewater/outfitters

Oregon
Go for: Kayaking and whitewater rafting.
Where: Kayaking on the mighty Nestucca River that winds through South Tillamook County, spilling into the Pacific Ocean at Pacific City. Or rafting on the Rogue River, with its class II, III and IV whitewater, considered among the nation’s best. In 1968 the Rogue River was one of the first rivers designated by Congress as a Wild and Scenic River.
Special attractions: Tillamook has a rich historical waterscape that can be explored on paddling trips. The Tillamook Treasure Map tour series has six different Treasure Map Tours, each on a separate waterway with a separate history presentation, kayaktillamook.com.
Length of trips: Guided Rogue River rafting trips last three days, two nights and 60 kilometres, www.rogueriveroutfitters.com.

Minnesota
Go for: Paddleboarding.
Where: On the Mississippi River through the Twin Cities.
Special tours: Guided paddleboard ecotours along a choice of three water routes.
Outfitter: Stand Up MN, standupmn.org/paddleboard-tours. The eco-tours are available for groups up to 12 participants.

Getting To The U.S.
Air Canada offers non-stop service from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to more than 55 destinations across the United States. The airline’s partnership with codeshare partner United also provides convenient connections over 75 destinations providing an even wider network. Visit www.aircanada.com for more information.

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