This Tour Company Will Bring You On Adventurous Day Trips Out Of Your City
Sitting on a sunny picnic bench two hours outside of New York City, we were ready for an adventure. A two-hour bus ride brought us from Manhattan, through a thunderstorm, all the way to Pennsylvania where our tour leaders predicted and delivered good weather.
We were day tripping with Sourced Adventures, a tour company that brings urban explorers outside of their cities (New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C.) into the surrounding wild world’s activities. They offer kayaking trips, tours through wine country, yoga retreats, tubing and whitewater rafting — our activity for the day.
After signing a safety waiver and grabbing a coffee at a fittingly named check-in point, the Adventure Cafe, on the Lower East Side, we hopped on a full bus and hit the highway. Sourced Adventures partners with various outfitters, so they don’t have to strap a bunch of their own rafts and kayaks to the top of the bus. We were bound for Whitewater Challengers in Pennsylvania, which is near the Poconos.
Upon arrival, we were hit by major summer camp vibes. It was like living “The Parent Trap.” We could sense shenanigans were about to begin. Sourced Adventures gave each participant a bagged lunch — camp-classic sandwiches, chips and cookies — and locked our valuables on the bus before turning us over to the Whitewater Challengers experts. They set us up with lifejackets (checking each one twice for safety), going over the rapids and loading us onto a bright yellow school bus for a ride to the launch site. We got two safety lessons — one on the bus and one right before we hit the water.
And it was a good thing we got a double helping of how-tos because you’re totally on your own out there. We had a raft of seven and every one of us was a first-time paddler. But that’s part of the fun. There’s no hand-holding here. (There’s also no real danger.) You have to take charge of your raft; you can’t get lazy and let a pro do all the work. It feels like just the right amount of risk. You’re secure inside your life jacket and there are guides in kayaks along the route to point you in the right direction, but everything else is in your hands. It’s a real thrill with some real waves.
Each whitewater raft sat four to seven people, so we’d suggest going with a group of seven at the most or going with a pal or your SO and making a couple of friends to fill out your boat. However, as much as we love solo travel, it takes a brave sort to jump into this dynamic alone. Bring at least one friend for the best experience.
You get two to three hours on the river’s Class II and III rapids and we loved every second of charging through the waves, which was kicked up a gear by the recent heavy rain. We sped along the river, picking up some tips on steering and getting into some major water fights with our fellow rafters as we went.
Important tip: You might think you’re just gonna be floating above the water, but you’re going to get soaked. Wear water shoes and clothes that can survive a drenching. Sourced Adventures recommends leaving your phone behind on the bus, but we saw plenty of folks bringing along special waterproof bags. If you don’t want to put your tech at risk for the ‘gram, there’s a photo op on the route and you can buy a copy, rollercoaster style, from the gift shop. Prepare to be wet but cheesin’.
Not feeling the waterlogged adrenaline rush? You can take things a little slower on trips out of New York, Boston and Chicago with a float down a river to a brewery (beer in hand in your tube, of course). If you don’t want to touch water at all, there are winery tours out of San Francisco and apple picking excursions from New York. Want to go a little further away from home? Sourced Adventures also runs trips outside of the country in places like Iceland, Scotland and the Caribbean. Seriously, there’s a trip here for everyone.