If you live in the Midwest and you’ve never gone whitewater rafting then you are definitely missing out and it’s right in your backyard! Ok, maybe not exactly, but there are locations all over for everyone. If you don’t live in the Midwest and you love rafting then this is the place for you. Even if you have never been rafting before, that’s fine because most locations and resorts offer fully guided rafting trips. From the beginner to the advanced rafters, there is something for everyone all across the Midwest. Rafting trips are classified by the intensity of the rapids It might be a little bit cold in winter, but the summers are beautiful and offer lots of activities for family and friends.


Where to Go Whitewater Rafting in the Midwest

1. Elkader Whitewater Park – Elkader, IA

This whitewater park has something for every water user. . The park was constructed around the Turkey River and is phenomenal for rafting. In addition to the amazing whitewater rafting, there’s boogie boarding, kayaking, fishing, and tubing. Everyone in your group will find something to enjoy.


2. Charles City Whitewater Rafting – Charles City, IA

Winner of the 2013 Iowa Tourism Award, Charles City Whitewater Rafting is a stellar place for a rafting trip for family and friends. Charles City was also named one of North America’s Best Paddling Towns. The Cedar River is the heart of all the water activities. Rafting here is a bit different compared to other locations. Instead of riding an inflatable boat, kayaks and canoes are the main boats. With kayaks and canoes you get closer to the water and closer to thrill!


3. Vermillion River Rafting – Oglesby, IL

If you’re looking to get out of the city, Oglesby, IL is under two hours away from Chicago, IL by car. The Vermillion River is not just a paradise for fishermen, but also a Class III whitewater rafting experience. Believe it or not this river runs South to North and when the water is high it has Class III rapids. During summer months when the water level drops, the rapids are easier and great for family trips. Along this 9.5-mile section of the Vermillion River there are 14 rapids. The best feature of this river is the lack of development along the riverbanks and it allows rafters to really get away from civilization for an afternoon.

For questions or reservations, call: (815) 667-5242. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends and for groups of five or more.


4. Northwoods Adventures - Iron Mountain, MI

If you’re looking for a whitewater rafting adventure in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan then Northwoods Adventures will take you and your group on such a journey. After a 30-minute flat-water float on the Menominee River, you will pull to shore to scout ahead the thrilling rapids of Pier’s Gorge. Then after running the rapids, you’ll do it all over again! There are two half-day trips daily from May to September. After rafting there’s still more to do as Northwoods Adventures is committed to making your vacation memorable.

For reservations, call (906) 563-5450.


5. South Bend East Race Waterway – South Bend, IN

If you live near South Bend, IN or are traveling there, you don’t need to go far for excitement and adventure. The Parks and Recreation of South Bend have their very own whitewater rafting experience right in the city. Close and convenient. This manmade waterway took two years to build and is 1,900 feet long and has a Class II rating. All equipment is provided, but come prepared to get wet and have fun!


6. Mohican Adventures – Loudonville, OH

The scenic Mohican River is the perfect place for a whitewater rafting trip! You can choose from going rafting or taking a leisurely float. The float trip lasts for about 5 hours and the rafting trip is 3 hours. The summer season is open from Memorial Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. During the offseason trips are still run, but they take a different route. Each raft accommodates 4-6 people, with a 3-person minimum.


7. Swiftwater Adventures – Duluth, MN

All summer long Swiftwater Adventures offers great rafting trips on the St. Louis River. Each trip is about two hours long and trips in May and June are the most fun because the water level is higher. Also in these earlier months the rapids are faster and higher intensity. As the summer goes on, the water level drops making the rapids less intense and great for beginning your rafting experience. When the Upper St. Louis River gets too low, the rafting moves to Lower St. Louis River for a unique and scenic trip.


8. Minnesota Whitewater Rafting - Scanlon, MN

Spring through fall, Minnesota Whitewater Rafting runs exciting and challenging trips on the Upper St. Louis River. This four-mile stretch of the river is dam controlled. A skilled rafter guides each trip to ensure safety and fun for everyone. There are special discounted rates for groups of 15 or more

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9. Minnesota Rafting – Minneapolis, MN

One hour north of the Twin Cities Metro, the Kettle River is perfect for a rafting excursion. Each guide is highly skilled and professional to warrant your group has the best time possible. Trips are available for booking from the beginning of April through September. The most thrilling and high velocity rafting happens in spring and early summer. These trips sell out quickly, so booking in advance is crucial.


This article was written by Alina K Dix.