River Parks give us great way to do some exploring. Unlike a camping ground or familiar hiking expedition, a river park’s focus is activity around, well, a river. It provides an alternative means of reconnecting with nature, even though many of the parks have had some human alterations. However, this is often necessary. For instance, eliminating or refitting dangerous dams makes the river park experience safer for everyone! Some parks have artificial rapids created for a fun rafting experience, too!
One of my favorite travel blogs, Matador Nights, teamed up with REI to bring us a great list of some of the best water parks the country has to offer. Time to get out there and cross some of these off the list!
Great Falls Park
This River Park in Potomac, DC hosts magnificent displays of the Potomac River. The waterway itself is massive; its impressive volume is expressed through multiple waterfalls and stretches of rapids. There’s something for everyone here: novice hikers can explore the trails, and experienced kayakers compete in one of the most intense kayak races in the country. The entrance of the park is made up of the bottom two lock gates of the Potowmack Canal, a Revolutionary-era waterway used to transport goods throughout the region.
Buena Vista Park and Salida Riverside Park
The mighty Arkansas runs through these two Colorado Towns, giving visitors some of the most accessible white water rapids in the country. Needless to say, it’s a great place to start if you’re looking to take up that sort of adventure. The Buena Vista Park is more of an amalgam of nature and man-made amenities such as frisbee golf courses, and soccer fields. Salida, on the other hand, keeps its playboating holes right next to the historic district. It is also home to FIBArk, an historic white water rafting festival.
Sweetwater Creek State Park
Atlanta is one of the nation’s busiest cities, so you wouldn’t expect it to be associated with a river park of this caliber. Sweetwater is quite close to the metropolis, but at the same time it’s off the beaten path. This sense of seclusion makes it the ultimate getaway as you climb trails, go tubing, and check out some Native American historical sites.
Truckee River Whitewater Park
The cool thing about this river park is that it is fully integrated into a city– Reno, to be exact. This Nevada park also reaps the benefits of a strong entertainment economy, as the city’s revenue keeps it open during the winter months, too!
James River Park System
Talk about a network! This river park is made up of a network of over 500 acres of connected grounds, trails, and waterways. There are currently 19 sections that are open for exploration of the strenuous life. Oh, and the bike trails are incredible.
The river park located in this tiny Idaho town draws a routinely large crowd. Ever since whitewater infrastructure has been installed, enthusiasts have come flocking to the hamlet in search of a major adrenaline rush. It’s also no stranger to the world stage. It has previously hosted two Kayaking Championships, and most recently was home to the 2015 Payette Games.