Rafting FAQ

I have never done this before, how does this work?

On the day of your trip, arrive at the designated outpost 30 minutes prior to your trip time. Check in at the store to complete your waivers and process your payment. Lock everything in your car that you don’t want wet, lost or broken (including towels, dry clothes and cell phones). Your Trip Leader will collect your car keys so that we can keep them safe in the store during your trip. We will outfit you in the proper gear and drive you to the put-in for the river where there will be a safety talk and rafting orientation. Then: enjoy your trip with your talented and humorous Guide! We will meet you at the take-out and drive you back to the outpost (where you started) so that you can change clothes, look at your pictures and pick out a souvenir.

Which trip is right for my family?

The five mile trip is our most popular trip because it is exciting but not overwhelming. It is a great introduction to whitewater, but also provides enough thrills for the experienced paddler. The nine mile trip covers the same section as the five mile trip but continues on for four additional miles. This additional section of river includes a higher class of rapids (class IV) and is a good choice for those seeking even more excitement. The calm water float trip is a much more relaxed trip because the river is slow and meandering, and therefore it is a great option for families with smaller children and those who simply want to be on the water and take in the scenery.


Because we guarantee a guide in every raft, we strongly encourage making a reservation so we can have the appropriate staffing for the day. If you are planning to come in June, July or August we recommend making your reservation early because our peak season trips fill up quickly.

Call us and let our friendly reservations staff assist you in scheduling your rafting trip between 8am and 6pm. You may also book your trip online 24 hours a day. Have a quick question? Use our online chat feature 7 days a week from 9am – 5pm. Full payment is required to confirm your reservation and this can be done with any major credit card or check (time permitting).

Cancellation policy

Reservations are refundable with a call to our office with a minimum three day (72 hours) notice, and are subject to a 6% non-refundable credit card processing fee.  Any cancellations under three days to trip time will result in forfeit of trip cost. Trips booked under three days in advance are not eligible for refunds. French Broad Adventures trips go rain or shine, 7 days a week, March through October. If you need to reschedule your trip within three days to trip time, a $50 rescheduling fee will apply.


French Broad Adventures requires all guests to sign a waiver. Please download the waiver and fill out and bring with you at the time of your trip. (You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to download the waivers from our website). You can also complete the waiver form at the outpost on the day of your trip, but please allow extra time for this.

Download waiver

FBA makes every reasonable effort to ensure a quality and fun rafting trip. However, there are certain conditions in whitewater rafting beyond our control. All guests are required to sign a waiver and participate at their own risk. Anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol will be excluded from trips. No refunds.

What to Wear

REQUIRED: shoes that won’t come off in the water (i.e. sandals with strap on the back, water shoes or old tennis shoes).

Spring and Fall – Layers, Layers, Layers!!! Complimentary wet suits (please wear swim suits underneath) and splash gear (rain jackets and/or pants) are available for all guests as needed at no extra charge. We recommend that you wear wool or synthetic material (i.e. polyester, nylon or dry-fit). We DO NOT RECOMMEND that you wear cotton (i.e. sweatshirts and sweatpants) or denim for your rafting trip.  You may also want to wear wool or synthetic socks (i.e. smartwool) with shoes during this time. Summer – Swim suit with shorts and a t-shirt or tank top.

Additional things to remember – shoes, sunscreen, hat, strap for glasses, towel and a change of dry clothing for after the trip. If you forget these items we have many of them for sale in our store.

What is a duckie?

A duckie is an inflatable kayak made for one person. It is recommended that you be in good physical condition to paddle a duckie on the whitewater section of the French Broad River, but prior experience is not required. If you would like to paddle a duckie, please request one when you make your reservation.

Will I fall out of the raft?

Possibly!! There is a chance that you may fall out of the raft. But relax and enjoy the float. Your guide will get you back in the raft as quickly as possible. BUT, before you even begin your trip and touch the water, your Trip Leader will go through a safety talk on how to brace in to the raft, and what to do if you should fall in the water.

Do I need to know how to swim?

No. We have taken many children and adults down the French Broad River who do not know how to swim. Not only does French Broad Adventures provide top-notch safety equipment (life jacket and helmet), but our guides are all certified in CPR & first aid, and our Trip Leaders have advanced medical certifications as well as swift water rescue experience.

Are trips cancelled when it rains?

No. You are going to get wet on your trip, the splashing waves are the best part! So we go whitewater rafting rain or shine. However, for safety reasons we may cancel a trip for a lightning storm or other severe weather.

Is there an age limit?

Yes. Our minimum age limit for whitewater rafting is 8 years old. Our minimum age limit for calm water rafting is 4 years old.

Is there a photographer for pictures?

Yes, so smile pretty when you are coming through that rapid. One of our photographers is on the side of the river to take your picture from Memorial Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. When you get back to the outpost after your trip, you can view your photos on the computers in the store, and purchase them before you head home to brag about your adventure.

Is whitewater rafting safe?

Like all adventure activities, whitewater rafting has inherent risk. Please keep in mind that French Broad Adventures has a very experienced and professional staff. We will educate you on rafting procedures prior to your trip, and our guides will always have your safety in mind. However, French Broad Adventures does not assume liability for personal injuries. You will be asked to read and sign a waiver agreement prior to your trip. For everyone’s safety, we do not allow anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol to go on any of our trips. No refunds will be made.

Is tipping my guide/driver appropriate?

Your River Guides are providing a professional service to you, your family, or your group. Guides depend on tips as part of their salary. A good rule of thumb is to tip your Guide as you would a server in a restaurant, 15-20% of the trip (of course, any tipping is always at your own discretion). Gratuity is deeply appreciated.

Why would my trip distance be changed due to water levels?

The French Broad River is a free-flowing river and water levels fluctuate depending on rainfall. This is beyond our control. If the river is much lower or higher than normal this can potentially affect the quality and safety of your trip, so we will modify the trip distance or location as necessary. For example, in the hotter summer months if we have not had enough rain the river will generally run at a lower water level, or cfs (cubic feet per second). While the 5-mile trip is largely unaffected by this, the section of river beyond that is much wider and shallower. Consequently, below a certain water level we are unable to run the full 9-mile trip. If you have booked the 9-mile trip and we are unable to do it we will still raft the first 5-mile section (where the majority of the rapids are), but will refund you the difference in price for the trip. Although the 9-mile trip is often possible all season long, if you have your heart set on running the full 9 miles we generally suggest that you plan your trip in the spring or fall when we are more likely to have sufficient rainfall.

Can I get a discount?

We offer a 10% discount to groups of 10 or more people. We also offer discounts to active military personnel and AAA members. Additionally, we offer discounts when rafting and zipline trips are booked together, as well as packages with other area attractions. Please see our packages page for more information.


French Broad Adventures caters to groups of all sizes, and offers a 10% discount to groups of ten or more people. Get more group package information here. Don’t forget to download your group’s waivers here.

*All trips leave on time. If you are late for your trip French Broad Adventures will do its’ best to accommodate you, but this is not always possible. Otherwise, we will have to reschedule your trip for another day. Additional fees may apply.

Call our reservation line for more information or to request a group information packet: 800-570-RAFT