How to Make Camping Adventures on the Middle Fork Salmon River Fun for Kids

Camping can be one of the Fondest Memories we have of Childhood

Spending time with our parents on an exciting adventure combined with brand new experiences of tents and campfires, activities and music, discovery, and conversations encircling a glow of fire on the white sandy beaches.  Scenes like this can replay in a child’s mind well into adulthood, bringing warmth and solace to their souls and dreams of repeat adventures.

The anticipation of a family adventure is always an exciting time for a child

But with all the technology now at our fingertips, lets face it, some kids might not have the same enthusiasm for the great outdoors as we might hope for.

As parents, we can purposefully expand their horizons, getting them into the real world of the great outdoors, and not just dwelling in in their virtual worlds.

Get your kids buzzing with excitement for their summer adventure travels to a remote paradise in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness

To help you out with that, we’d like to share a few tips on how to elevate the enthusiasm for your kids before, during and after your Middle Fork of the Salmon River wilderness camping and river rafting adventures.


Include the Kids in the Planning

Summer is traditionally a great time to take the kids on vacation to new destinations. Families with children as young as 5-6 years old can enjoy a fun 6 day, 5 night excursion with Adventure Sun Valley on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

Help your child to get pumped about the trip by making them part of the decisions. They feel more empowered when their decisions are considered.

Go Shopping and Get Geared Up
Make the kids part of the planning and outfitting your kids with the necessary gear.  Check our suggested packing list and together, make a list of what you’ll need to add to your apparel and family gear bags.  A good pair of shoes, multiple pairs of socks, warmer outerwear for the cooler nights (Carhartt has a great selection for adults and kids), and other items that are crucial for a comfortable trip.  If the kids aren’t comfy, they won’t enjoy camping.

Look at a Map of the United States Together
or pull up Google Earth to check out the locations you’ll be visiting on your family vacation.  You’ll want to point out a few locations including Boise Idaho where many of our guests fly in from other locations, Stanley Idaho, where our air conditioned motor coach transports you for an overnight stay and orientation before launch.

There’s so much to explore right here in the good old United States of America including the beauty of our wilderness areas in Idaho. This can inspire new experiences and new perspectives for a child. Embarking on a family whitewater rafting and camping adventure into wilderness areas will often inspires youngsters to explore public lands more frequently throughout their adult life with cherished memories of their childhood experience.

Help your kids to understand the importance of preserving wilderness areas so that they can take ownership of its beauty and wonder, and enjoy the privilege of a pampered camping adventure on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

History Lessons and Discussion for the entire family
Learning about the history of the area is a great way to stimulate new conversations and curiosities for the kids.   Gather after dinner or whenever its family time to read and learn together about  the history of the Frank Church Wilderness. This can also provides wonderful ideas for the beginning of the school year when your child is asked to present on a topic about their summer vacation adventures.

Read our Trip Advisor Reviews
Kids will gain a lot of insight from reviewing comments that our guests have shared from their river trip with Adventure Sun Valley. Check our Trip Advisor Reviews here. When you review our website at make sure you include a family session with the kids so that they can ask questions about the summer adventure they’ll be taking and learn more about what makes Adventure Sun Valley the right choice. 


Many children show up dismayed that they will not have their cell phones and ipods for a week, only to see them absolutely blossom into full life when they can escape the texts/calls/peer pressure that seems to be 24/7 for our youth. Many parents have been delighted to find this an opportunity to really connect with their kids like they haven’t in years.

One guide is ALWAYS given the assignment to keep kids active. So you as a parent can get some time to relax and enjoy your solitude as you desire!

Nature is great for a child’s soul – just as it is for their parents
Nature is a beautiful thing, and it also creates beautiful things, like leaves, flowers, rocks and natural hot springs. Throughout your 6 day river trip, we’ll wind through pristine forest and canyons, often spotting wildlife such as bighorn sheep, otters, bear, deer, eagles, and many more. We will immerse your child in all sorts of nature related experiences including wildlife sightings, petroglyphs that provide stunning visual lessons in history, and enjoying natural hot springs that are sprinkled along our river stops.

Go Fishing or Sit and Relax in one of many Natural Hot Springs flowing from the earth into pools of warm, primordial river water

Shoreline adventures always include the chance for some great activities that are lots of fun for kids. Our guides will help kids to enjoy the experience of fishing. Cliff jumping is also a favorite pastime for kids, and they are all equipped with life jackets and constant adult supervision while they scream and laugh at the exhilaration and refreshing sensations of jumping into the cool river.

Set Up Nature Crafts
If your kids love crafts, this is the perfect way to get them to explore their surrounds and create fun works of art. Have your kids search for rocks of varying shapes, pine cones, leaves and other items to use to make their masterpiece.

Go on a Hike
Camping is all about reconnecting with nature. What better way to do that than go on a hike? Along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River there are lots of hikes to see petroglyphs, waterfalls, and views that will take your breath away. Your kids will love it. Also, remember to allow your children to explore at their own pace.

Cliff and Bridge Jumping
Cliff Jumping is a favorite activity that kids LOVE to engage in. Children area always equipped with a life jacket and our kid friendly guides supervise these activities very closely.

Tell Stories Around the Campfire
Telling scary ghost stories around a campfire is a classic camping tradition. From urban legends to newer spooky tales, have fun with your kids. Just don’t scare them so badly they have to sleep in your tent!

Gaze at the Stars & Listen to the Quiet Sounds of Nature
One of the best parts of camping is the ability to see the stars in all their glory. Even if you don’t live in a larger city, the lights of civilization can dim the stars. Out in the wilderness the skies sparkle with stars like a glitter falling from the heavens. The soft, peaceful sounds of nature and the flow of the mighty “River of No Return”, will lull you to sleep after a day of river action.

Helping Guides with Chores
Kids are a big part of the Middle Fork Salmon River adventures since its a fantastic way to connect all members of the family as you explore Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness. A lot of  our your guests find new pals in our awesome guides who are really good with people of all ages. Often the fondness that develops for our guides is so inspiring, that our young guests want to help with chores such as serving breakfast or helping with the delicious desserts.


Exploring the beauty of the Frank Church Wilderness in person can inspire new experiences, new perspectives and new confidences for both children and adults

The positive  impact on the family unit when you embark on a pampered camping river trip with Adventure Sun Valley can be transformational for both adult and child. Bonds are created that did not exist previous to your whitewater wilderness adventures.

Encourage the kids to look through photos from your wilderness rafting and camping extravaganza with you, so that they have a chance to choose their favorites when you share with other friends and family members.

Depending on age, make a suggestion on the way home after your trip, that your children write down five of their favorite memories from their adventures on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. They can use this information later when school starts to share their summer vacation with their classmates.

Camping can be such fun for kids and adults of all ages
Spending quality time with your children, as well as your children spending time with each other, has the capacity for life changing, cherished memories. As a result, your family will create lasting bonds that can strengthen the fabric of their relationships for a lifetime.

We hope you’ll be able to use some of our ideas for making your summer vacation plans and camping adventures some of the your kids best times ever.

Contact Brad to begin a conversation about this magical experienced and get the kids excited about camping in Idaho’s Frank Church Wilderness.