Best White Water Rafting Near Atlanta

by | Nantahala River, Ocoee, Ocoee River, Whitewater Rafting

White Water Rafting Near Atlanta, GA

Atlanta summers can be brutal with temperatures sometimes exceeding 100 degrees. This leaves most quickly darting between air-conditioned environments to maintain cool.

Life in the city has a lot of perks: plenty of restaurants, museums, and activity. But with it comes congestion, stress, and anxiety.

The cure for the heat and craziness of Atlanta can be found in the rivers just a few hours north in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Whitewater rafting on the Nantahala and Ocoee Rivers will cool the body and refresh the soul.


Ocoee rafting and Nantahala rafting near Atlanta

The Nantahala River and Ocoee River are awesome whitewater experiences with adventures for all ages and skill levels. Both are located in National Forests, which insure a slow paced natural experience. These mountain rivers are exactly what’s needed to cool down, relax, and have fun.


Ocoee river rafting near Atlanta

Ocoee River Rafting

The Ocoee River is conveniently located just two hours north of Atlanta in the southeastern part of Tennessee. Atlanta and the Ocoee River will forever be linked because of its part in the 1996 Olympic Games, as the home of the whitewater canoe and kayak events. Its no wonder the Ocoee River is considered the best whitewater near Atlanta, GA.

An Ocoee River rafting trip is an experience like no other with over 30 named class III-IV rapids in a 10 mile stretch. The Ocoee River in broken up into two sections, the Upper Ocoee and the Middle Ocoee. The Middle section is the classic Ocoee run with non stop action that keeps your heart pounding and your face soaked.

To experience the Middle Ocoee and the Upper Ocoee River, where the Olympics were held, get a seat on the Ocoee Combo trip. The Ocoee Combo trip is a full day trip where you get the full 10 miles of the river with a hearty grilled riverside lunch in between. This trip runs on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day and spaces do fill up so you will want to reserve it as soon as practical.

Nantahala river rafting near Atlanta
Nantahala River Rafting

The Nantahala River is located just three hours from northern Atlanta in the Nantahala National Forest of western North Carolina. Sitting at the bottom of the Nantahala Gorge, the Nantahala River is as beautiful as it is fun.

With eight miles of exciting class I-II whitewater and one class III at the end, Nantahala Falls, the Nantahala River is a great river for beginners river. There are 3 different options for trips on the Nantahala River, each providing you with more freedom on the river to seek your own adventure.

The Guided Nantahala Trip puts a guide in the back of your boat to steer and show you the best the river has to offer. Non-Guided Nantahala Trips give you and your group the ability to tackle the river on your own, working as a team to navigate through the rapids and around the rocks. The Ducky Trip is for the adventurer looking to experience the river on their own, creating their own adventure.


drive time to rafting near Atlanta

White Water Rafting From Atlanta

From Atlanta both the Ocoee River and Nantahala River are great day trips. You can easily get to the mountains, go whitewater rafting, and get back home for a awesome day adventure. Being so close to Atlanta makes it great for groups to get together for a day of fun. This makes the Nantahala and Ocoee Rivers popular with churches, scouts and universities.

The best way to go white water rafting near Atlanta is to get out of the city and make a weekend of it by rafting two rivers in two days. On Saturday raft the Nantahala River, it will relax you with its beauty and get you primed with a taste of white water. On Sunday go Ocoee River rafting and finish up your weekend with big waves and fast water.

two rivers in two days Ocoee and Nantahala

We hope this was helpful and look forward to seeing you on the river this summer.

If you have any questions about white water rafting near Atlanta please give us a call 423.496.5050


Jennifer and Grant Outlaw are co-owners of Carolina Outfitters and Carolina Ocoee.  They’ve been paddling whitewater in the Ducktown, TN and Bryson City, NC rivers for years and know how to help you have a great experience.


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