That is a great question! For the best water levels that create the most thrilling and fun experience, it is best to book your trip early in the spring season. As the weather warms up and we approach summer, the water levels drop. You may be concerned about getting cold but we have you covered (literally). We have wetsuits and splash jackets to keep you warm if it's a chilly day. Also, keep in mind that you will be sitting in direct sunlight for 2-3 hours on the side of a raft, so it can get pretty warm pretty quick. Finally, the water is not as cold as you think. By May, the water has warmed up significantly and with all the work you will be doing paddling the raft, a splash of water will feel pretty good!
Will I get wet on your trips?
Yes you will get wet on our rafting and tubing trips. We suggest that you wear clothes that you don’t mind getting wet in or possibly muddy. Please leave your rings, jewelry and valuables at home. Also you should not take your camera or cell phone on any river trip unless you pack it in an approved waterproof container. We cannot be held responsible if you choose to take your valuables and cell phone on the trip with you and they are lost or damaged.
How many people can fit into one raft?
Our rafts hold a maximum of 6 people and 1 guide in each raft. If you have a group more than 6 we will have you split your group up between other rafts.
How long is the trip?
Depending on the adventure you choose the distance and time required to complete the adventure varies:
Half Shuttle Tubing: Between 3-4 hours depending on water levels. This includes shuttle time. However, trips can take longer depending on how much time your group spends hanging out on the rocks and enjoying the beautiful scenery of the James River.
White water rafting: Between 3-6 hours based on water levels. The first hour of the trip will be spent collecting waivers, fitting everyone in equipment, trip-talk, and shuttle.
Morning trips are scheduled for 9:00 a.m. all season. Afternoon trips are scheduled for 2:30 p.m during the months of March through July and September through November; 3:00 p.m. during August.
Guided Kayaking: Between 3-4 hours depending on water levels. This includes shuttle time.
Is it okay to tip my guide?
Absolutely!! There's a saying on the river, "If you liked your ride, tip your guide." Our whitewater guides are the best in the business. They are highly trained professional who are passionate about what they do. Our guides do much more than guide your raft down the river; they are storytellers, history buffs, amateur geologists, animal and plant identifiers, comedians and protectors. If you feel your guide has done a great job and made your experience a memorable one, then you can certainly show your appreciation by giving a tip. The amount is totally up to you. Many people believe that anyone in a service type of job (like restaurant, hair dressers, etc.) should get between 10-20% of the total cost of the service. That is not to say that’s what we suggest, but that’s what most people tip when they do tip. So, for instance, if your trip was $200.00, and your guide made your experience a memorable one, a $20-$40 tip would be generous and greatly appreciated! If your guide was so exceptional that you want him or her to be your guide on all future trips, simply request him at the time you make your reservation. While we cannot promise he/she will be available that day, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your request. The earlier you contact River City Adventures to schedule your rafting trip, the better your chances of getting the guide you want.
What size cooler should I bring for tubing trips?
NO STYROFOAM COOLERS. We recommend a hard plastic cooler that is bigger than a six-pack cooler. We recommend NOT going over 24 inches. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for keeping up with your cooler during your whitewater tubing adventure. We will wrap the cooler tube around your cooler. The cooler tube does not have a bottom.
NOTE: COOLERS CANNOT BE BROUGHT ON WHITEWATER RAFTING TRIPS!
Are reservations needed?
Reservations are required for all activities. A credit card is required to secure your reservation. On the date of your reservation you may pay with credit card (you MUST provide the card) or cash. We do not accept personal checks.
What should I bring for my trip?
We recommend bringing an extra change of clothes/shoes and a towel to change into afterwards. We have changing rooms available.
Can I bring alcohol on my trip?
We do not allow alcohol on any of our trips. We reserve the right to refuse service to any individual that we suspect is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and a refund will not be provided. Furthermore, all of our adventures go through the James River Park System and alcohol is strictly prohibited. Alcohol dehydrates your body and combined with the summer heat pounding on you in the river (there is no shade) you are putting yourself at risk for a serious health problem. We want you to be safe and have an enjoyable trip so we believe you should save the fun for after the run.
What are the age/weight restrictions for your trips?
Whitewater tubing: minimum of 12 years old and 50 lbs.
Upper James River rafting: minimum of 7 years old and 50 lbs.
Lower James River rafting: minimum of 10 years old and 50 lbs.
The Falls of the James rafting: minimum of 10 years old and 50 lbs.
Whitewater kayaking: 12 years old and 50 lbs.
Kayaking/Kayak Rentals: Participants must be 12 years old or older and a minimum of 90 lbs. to a maximum of 300 lbs., to go on this adventure.
What if it rains?
All trips go rain or shine. In the event of a thunderstorm, we will hold up a trip until the storm passes and then resume - this is if we are on the water AND it's a fast moving storm. If there is lightning/thunder that causes a trip to be cancelled or cut short, the following applies:
If we do not reach the river: 100% refund
If we are less than half-way through the trip: 50% refund
If we are more than half-way through the trip: This scenario is considered "act of God" and no refunds will be given.
Will food be provided during my adventure?
If you choose to participate in our Upper or Lower James River Whitewater Rafting trips, we will provide a snack and water during the trip. The snack consists of an assortment of nuts, raisins, and chocolate candies. If you choose to do the Falls of the James Whitewater Rafting Trip (which combines the Upper and Lower Trips) we will provide lunch. Lunch will consist of: fruit, chips, "build-your-own" wraps that include lunch meats, and cookies. If you have a food allergy please inform us when reserving your trip so that accommodations can be made.
What if I am late for my trip?
Please be on time for your trips. We cannot wait for late arrivals as this puts us behind schedule for all other trips for the day. Plan to arrive for check-in 15 minutes before your trip’s scheduled departure so you have time to turn in waivers, get your gear, change clothes, use the facilities, and get hydrated. We reserve the right to cancel your trip without a refund in the event you arrive after the confirmed trip time.
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
There are NO refunds on ANY cancellations or no-shows 7 days or less notice from the scheduled trip. The credit card provided at the time of the reservation will be charged the full amount of the cost of the trip.
River City Adventures reserves the right to cancel for any reason.
Do you offer military discounts?
Yes. We offer a 10% military discount for all active and retired military personnel. Please provide your military ID at the time of payment to receive the discount. We thank you for your service.
Do you offer group rates?
Yes. We offer group rates for groups of 12 or more. For each 11 paying participants the 12th participant is free. We can divide the savings amongst the group or give the discount to a specific individual.
Do I need to fill out a WAIVER?
Yes, you must complete a waiver in order to participate in any of our adventures. One Liability form must be completed for each person. Parents must complete a waiver for each one of their children separately. If you are bringing children that are not your own or that you do not have guardianship for then you must bring a completed Liability form signed by their own legal guardian. This policy cannot be compromised, no exceptions. The waiver is available on the Contact Us section of the website and can be downloaded and completed prior to the trip date. We cannot accept copies or scanned waivers. Please bring the printed original document with you on the date of your reservation. The waiver will also be attached to all confirmation emails.
What should I wear on my trips?
Summer: Temperatures during the summer months (June, July, August) are warm and so is the water so your main concern will be to protect yourself from the sun. River shoes (attached to your feet, no flip flops) or old sneakers make ideal footwear. A bathing suit and a pair of nylon shorts is a good base layer. A long-sleeve synthetic shirt or light windbreaker is good to have in case of a sudden shower or temperature change. A hat, sun block, sunglasses with retaining strap, disposable camera, and you’re good to go.
Spring & Fall: Temperatures can vary from slightly warm to chilly. Typically water-temps will be on the cooler side. With that in mind here is a list of our suggestions for Spring and Fall rafting and water adventures.
DO NOT WEAR COTTON. Cotton retains the water and will make you cold. So leave that sweatshirt at home or save it for snuggling into after your trip.
Quick Dry Clothing: Polypropylene, Capilene, Under Armor, and Nike Dri-FIT are some excellent choices of synthetic long underwear that is available. This is an excellent investment for outdoor enthusiasts. They are hydrophobic, meaning they do not absorb water; rather they transfer it to your outer layers where it can evaporate keeping your core more comfortable and clothes drier faster.
Warm Layers: Next you’ll want to add a layer of fleece. Fleece is thicker and fluffier than your base layer and will supply insulation and warmth. Made from synthetic fibers, it will not absorb nearly as much water as natural fibers. Wool provides some insulation when it gets wet but not as much.
Splash Tops: We will provide splash jackets on cooler days and days in which there is a chance of rain.
Socks, Gloves, and Hats: If your feet are warm then your whole body will be warm. In the spring and fall we recommend neoprene socks or booties. The next best thing is wearing wool or fleece socks with your sneakers. Neoprene, fleece or wool gloves will keep your hands warm as well. There will be room under your helmet for a hat.