There is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats
— Kenneth Graham, The Wind in the Willows

California Family Vacation Ideas

White water rafting with River Runners

River rafting with River Runners is a perfect California family vacation idea for families with a wide range of age groups and walks of life.

There are so many reasons why river rafting with River Runners is a great idea for a family vacation in California. 

We have seen stressed sales executives play in the water like children, wriggle bare feet in the sand, skip rocks, take a deep breath, sigh and quizzically exclaim "I feel so relaxed!". Seriously this is our specialty at River Runners. We don't do a tour where you get shoved around from point A to point B, we facilitate an experience that is guided by what you feel like you need from your vacation. 

And if you don't know what you need that works too! The river has a way of working its magic. The sounds of the river, the smell of blossoming trees, the taste of sun ripened blackberries picked from the side of the river and of course the thrill and sheer excitement of being in a boat plowing through rapids will wake you up and calm you down all at the same time. River Runners staff are inspired individuals who will treat you like a friend, take care of your kids and really just focus on showing you a good time. 

We understand the difficulties of organizing a family vacation and we value the effort you have to put in to make your vacation happen. River Runners is family operated and when you call you will speak to real people that have intimate knowledge of every aspect of the river experience. We will be happy to answer even the questions that you think are silly and will give you the space you need to make decisions about your vacation. 

The best trip that River Runners does for a family vacation is the two day/two night trip on the South Fork of the American. A lot of our guests drive up from LA and other regions and they often add an extra night of camping on to their trip as well. Make your vacation your own and talk to us about what you need. We will make it happen!

Give us a call 530-622-5110 or continue reading to learn more about our standard two day/night trip and book online. 

Two Day/Two Night- Gorge/Chili Bar (Class 3) Rafting Vacation

Raft California's most popular river! 

Take off your shoes. Shed your worries. Have some cold drinks. Gaze at the stars. Enjoy a camp fire. Make your kids a smore. Make yourself a smore. Go swimming. Go berry picking. Sit in the front of the raft and forget everything. Sit in the back of the raft and watch everyone else forget everything. Skip a rock. Skip a phone call, or five of them.

The South Fork 2-Day is our specialty. It's much more than river rafting. We are excited to show you all of the special places on the river. The places where you can drift in the currents. The places where the turtles rest. The places where a bird nests and a beaver gnaws. The places you can jump off of rocks. The places where you can stick your face out the front of the raft like a giant human hood ornament. 

This is where river time takes over and all you have to worry about is whether you can fit in seconds at dinner and still have room for dessert. 

Arrive the night before and set up your camp (one tent per 2 people will be provided and set up for you prior to your arrival).

Wake up in the morning to a coffee call and stumble out of bed in the beautiful Camp Lotus. Watch your guides whip up a storm in the kitchen to serve you a fresh hot breakfast. 

Take some time to chill out and get river ready while the guides take care of cleaning up. Once they are done the river will begin to call. 

The first day begins with a fun class 2 stretch before lunch giving  you time to relax, play, swim or experience adventurous antics depending on your tastes. Your guides will prepare a fresh deli style lunch that will leave you satisfied and ready for the adventure ahead. After lunch you will have time to digest before hitting the class 3 gorge. The gorge is an exciting and beautiful place where the river has carved through rock deep below the chaparral covered hill sides forming incredibly fun rapids. If you are lucky on a quiet day you may see a great blue heron, a bald eagle, deer and sometimes even mink, beaver and river otter. 

After a long day on the river a 20 minute bus ride will take you back to camp where you can grab a cold beer or soda and your tireless guides will prepare an epic dinner to follow up an epic day. 

The next morning your guides will re-enact their breakfast performance  mixing it up for variety and you will hop in a bus to take you 9 miles upstream.

After you slide your boat into the water at Chili Bar it is not long before you drop down into what feels like wilderness. Steep canyon walls loom high above as you crash through the class 3 rapids that begin almost immediately. With great scenery, rapids and fascinating gold rush history this section has something for everyone.  The rapids mellow out in the Coloma valley before you reach Camp Lotus where your guides will have their last hurrah and prepare  a delicious and well deserved lunch. 

Minimum age: 6 years old (children should be comfortable in water)

Check in anytime after 4pm on the evening prior to your first day on the river at the River Runners site in Camp Lotus 5461 Bassi Road, Lotus California, 95651.

Check out is approximately 4pm on your second river day.

  • Meals are included
  • 2 nights camping at Camp Lotus
  • Tents (1 tent per 2 people) included
  • Parking and use fees at Camp Lotus are included
  • All government fees included
  • Tax is included

Price is per person. Guide gratuity not included.

Camp under the stars...Learn more about our location  here .

Camp under the stars...Learn more about our location here.

Available May 1st through to September 30th 2017

The two day trip schedule generally follows this cycle; Monday/Tuesday (arriving Sunday evening), Thursday/Friday (arriving Wednesday evening) , and Saturday/Sunday (arriving Friday evening) but deviations from this schedule can be accommodated.

Feel free to book online here, you will be prompted to enter your dates and other information when you 'add to cart'. Be sure to reserve your vacation as soon as you are certain as dates do sell out. 

If you have any questions, concerns or just want to get to know us more, give us a call and we will be happy to help! 530-622-5110.

  • Meals are included
  • 2 nights camping at Camp Lotus
  • Tents (1 tent per 2 people) included
  • Parking and use fees at Camp Lotus are included
  • All government fees included
  • Tax is included
Add To Cart

Learn about discounts here.

The South Fork has miles of exciting rapids!

The South Fork has miles of exciting rapids!

Beautiful scenery - Bassi Road, Lotus CA

Beautiful scenery - Bassi Road, Lotus CA

Fresh baked brownies and ice-cream. At River Runners we only serve real fresh meals on real plates. See our menu  here.  

Fresh baked brownies and ice-cream. At River Runners we only serve real fresh meals on real plates. See our menu here.