A raft full of folks with paddles getting splashed with the water as they are rafting the rapids

If your idea of outdoor adventure with an adrenaline rush is popping up over wild rushing white water while paddling feverishly away then you’ll want to see this list of 3 Rivers for White Water Rafting in Virginia!

A raft full of folks with paddles getting splashed with the water as they are rafting the rapids


The state of Virginia is one of the original 13 colonies. That alone is reason enough to visit, especially for history buffs like myself.

Fun Fact: 4 of our first 5 Presidents were from Virginia! Can you name them? Scroll to the bottom for the answer.

But let’s talk about outdoor adventure in Virginia! My husband traveled to Virginia long ago to go white water rafting. It’s a big part of the economy in areas around the rivers where investments have been made in local tourism. Don’t just focus on the rafting adventure. There is lots more to do around each river! Check it out before you leave the area.

3 historic rivers in Virginia will give you a white water rafting thrill.


Ready to take on the rapids of the James River at Richmond? The James River Park offers Class I-IV whitewater adventures.

Pony Pasture Rapids are among the most popular and a Class II Rapid. Once you are done for the day you will find plenty more to do at Pony Pasture Park, an integral part of the James River System and a great way to experience the outdoors in a big city.

Check out Riverside Outfitters and RVA Paddlesports.

white water rapids on a river


The Shenandoah empties into the Potomac River at Harper’s Ferry.  It is one of the few rivers in the entire world which flows north for its entire length of about 300 miles.  

Would you like to go rafting and skip the rapids? Yeah, me too. Check out Shenandoah River Outfitters located at Luray, Va. with more than 50 years of providing outdoor adventure along the Shenandoah. They also offer up to Class III unguided rafting trips.

From Luray, head up toward Bentonville and the south fork of the river. There you will find the entrance to the Shenandoah River State Park with campsites, cabins, Yurts and a lodge. It’s a great spot to stay along 340 between Luray and Harper’s Ferry.

Harpers Ferry Adventure Center is only about 1 1/2 hours from D.C. at Purcellville, Va. It’s plenty close enough for a day trip to Harpers Ferry for some white water rafting adventure if you live in the D.C. area. Harper’s Ferry offers rafting both the Shenandoah and the Potomac Rivers.


Located in eastern Virginia you will find the Rappahannock River which is America’s longest free flowing river in the eastern U.S. thanks to the removal of the Embrey Dam in 2004.

Rich with Civil War history, the Rappahannock is considered one of the most scenic river corridors in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. A great place to camp and don’t pass up a meal with oysters in the local area.

Visit the Virginia Outdoor Center for rafting and other expeditions.

Thanks to a fabulous Eagle Scout project you can view the River Cam anytime.

If you are a white water rafting outdoor adventure enthusiast, then you need to add the James River, Shenandoah River and Rappahannock River to your Bucket list and make plans now!


George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe


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