Natural History

Top 10 Outdoor Family Vacations in North America

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Whitewater Rafting, West Virginia.
Michael DeYoung/Corbis

8. Whitewater Rafting, West Virginia

Are your teens (or tweens or youngsters) nature-challenged?

Are they Facebooking and texting their lives away?

Well, the incredible thrill of whitewater rafting is guaranteed to get their attention!

No one gets bored on a rafting trip on the "Beast of the East," the nickname for West Virginia's Gauley River, which boasts the most intense whitewater rafting east of the Mississippi.

But don’t worry about shocking their systems … for the younger set there's the nearby New River, which flows slower in the upper sections as it cuts through a gorgeous 1,000-foot-deep gorge and passes beneath a steel-arch bridge.

There's still an “Awesome, dude” factor there, but the paddling is safe enough for kids as young as age six.

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