Whitewater River RaftingNews & Blog

Rafting near San Diego

Is There Rafting Near San Diego?

Known for its hot, dry weather, San Diego is the perfect place for a surfing or beach vacation. Unfortunately, because of how dry the area is, it’s not necessarily a whitewater rafting destination. California, on the whole, however, is a whitewater paradise, and Tributary does offer whitewater rafting trips within a long day’s drive of San Diego.

Because rafting near San Diego is ultimately limited, many guests choose to head a little farther afield to the Gold Country Area, Lake Tahoe, or Mount Shasta, where there are more adventures to choose from. Depending on the river and area, Tributary runs whitewater rafting trips in California from April through September.

The Kaweah River offers Class IV excitement and, at just under 6 hours northeast of San Diego, is the closest whitewater river to San Diego. The 1-day river trip is 9 miles, but you can add a night of camping and another day of rafting for a double run! The Kaweah is one of America’s steepest rivers, flowing naturally from Sequoia National Park. Trips are run from May through July (depending on snowmelt). The Kaweah is not a novice run, and we suggest the American River in the Gold Country for beginner and intermediate rafting trips.

American River Rafting, Near Sacramento, CA

The American River is near Sacramento, about 8 hours north of San Diego. Tributary runs trips on multiple forks of the American River, including the South Fork, North Fork, Middle Fork, and Lower Middle Fork.  Choose accessible Class II rapids on the South Fork American River (great for kids 4 years and up) or the exciting Class IV Tunnel Chute on the Middle Fork American River! We offer half-day trips and multi-day wilderness camping adventures. We also have a private campground on the South Fork American River, perfect for a long weekend getaway from San Diego. 

Truckee River, Lake Tahoe, CA

The Truckee River is located outside of Lake Tahoe, 9 hours drive from San Diego. While it may be too far of a drive for a day trip, Lake Tahoe makes a great base for a summer weekend adventure. There is plenty to do and see around Lake Tahoe, from incredible hiking to some of the best mountain biking in the country to boating and paddling on the lake. The Truckee River offers some exciting Class III whitewater rafting, and Tributary runs half-day adventures down the river all summer long.