Connecticut, originally named “Quinnehtuckqut,” is the land of the winding tidal rivers. It’s not surprising then that excitement seekers will find top whitewater rafting and tubing in and near Connecticut. Other states that offer exciting trips riding the rapids are just a few hours away. Racing rivers and rigorous rapids are key essentials when it comes to great whitewater rafting and tubing. It is important to note that there are five classes of whitewater rafting. Class V is the most aggressive and challenging with little to no room for error. This means that there are “must make moves” along the river journey. Class IV is also challenging, but has a few more options. Class III is exciting and challenging with some risks and Class II and I are great for fun.

Farmington River Tubing
92 Main St.
New Hartford, CT 06057
(860) 693-6465

With more than two miles of scenic river, Farmington River Tubing sets the stage for fun and excitement with specially designed tubes and three sets of rapids. It’s almost impossible to hear the excited tubers screaming with delight against the roaring rapids. Be prepared to follow the rules here because excitement is accompanied by risks. You will need to sign a waiver considering the dangers that rocks and rapids can cause. Finally, be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime down the Farmington River. Dress comfortably in swimsuits or shorts and then head to the river.

Related: Top Spots For Off-Roading Near CT

Clarke Outdoors
163 Route 7
West Cornwall, CT 06796
(860) 672-6365

The beautiful Housatonic River is where Clarke Outdoors will get you ready for a 10-mile journey downstream. In the spring, this section of river in West Cornwall is wet and wild, but in summer, families can enjoy the scenery and rafting on flat water and gentle whitewater rapids. Novices and weak swimmers will enjoy this adventure. Plan a picnic, which you can pack or purchase, and half way through the river experience, just as you approach the historic covered bridge, you’ll sit back and enjoy the thrill of one of Connecticut’s most glorious rivers.

Related: Top Flying Adventures In CT

Crab Apple White Water
2056 Mohawk Trail
Charlemont, MA 01339
(413) 625-2288

Only one hour and 20 minutes out of Hartford, Crab Apple White Water, Inc. offers exciting whitewater rafting trips. “In the summer, we get as many as 130 people per day signing up for our trips on the Deerfield River,” said Sharon Flannery at the reservation office. The lower section of the river offers Class I and II whitewater rafting, which is appropriate for families including children five years old and up. The upper part of the river offers Class III and IV, which are more aggressive and challenging. One has to be at least 15 years old to embark on one of these wild whitewater rafting trips. Because you know you are going to be getting wet, the trips take place as scheduled rain or shine. 

Zoar Outdoor
7 Main St.
Charlemont, MA 01339
(800) 532-7483

Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Zoar Outdoors is less than two hours away from Hartford. Zoar has professional whitewater rafting guides who employ the latest rafting equipment and enjoy an excellent safety record. These trained professionals guide everyone from beginners to experts in whitewater rafting trips from the most tame to the most wild Class IV rapids in Massachusetts’ Deerfield River.

Hudson River Rafting Company
1 Main St.
North Creek, NY 12853
(518) 251-3215

One of the most challenging whitewater river rafting trips is three hours out of Hartford with the Hudson River Rafting Company. According to the company’s Pat Cunningham, the 17-mile run starts off with 3.5 miles on the Indian River. This is a series of Class III rapids, which serves as one heck of a warm up before entering 10 miles of Class IV rapids in the Hudson River. For the finale, there are Class I rapids. It’s important to note that once you start on this adventure, there’s no turning back. Much of the trip is through pristine wilderness so expect breathtaking beauty to accompany high risks. Wet suits, life jackets and helmets are provided.

Joanne Greco Rochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications. Her work can be found at