The great rivers of the world have always called out to adventurous souls. While it may not be possible to take your family on an expedition down the Amazon, there are still plenty of ways to have an adventure on a river. These trips mix sightseeing, athletics, and relaxation, so there’s something for everyone, and it’s fairly easy to try them without breaking the bank.

Try State Parks

State parks provide one of the best and cheapest ways to get on the water. Most states have parks spread out all over their territory, and many of them are centered on river systems, so it’s fairly easy to find an appropriate spot. They’re also affordable, since most states charge very low fees to get into their parks. The downside to choosing a state park is that they offer very little support. You need to provide all of your own equipment, and help can take a long time to arrive in an accident. Even so, they’re a cheap and beautiful option for people who can handle themselves on the water.

Take a Class

If you do want help with your trip, consider signing up for a canoeing or kayaking class. A class will teach you enough to take future trips on your own, and most of them will either provide equipment to the students or offer a cheap rental. That makes them perfect for people who want to try boating to see if they want to do it regularly.

Vacation Packages

All of these methods are fine for finding a river adventure while traveling. Even so, consider looking for a vacation package if you’re looking for a chance to explore a river as part of a larger trip. The discounts that come with package deals will keep the price down, but the real benefit is the ease of finding a guide. A professional guide will help you find the best spots to explore, so they can ensure a good experience for people who don’t know the area.

Stay Local

If you want to spend your entire vacation on a river, try to stay local. The cost of transporting a boat and packing supplies for several days is high, but the cost of simply staying on the water is low. By minimizing your travel expenses, you can turn your adventure into a trivial expense, especially if you already have access to a boat.

Build a Boat

Boats are a major purchase. Renting is cheaper is the short term, but regular explorers will find that the cost adds up quickly. Fortunately, building a boat is both cheaper than buying one and easier than most people expect. It can even be a pleasant experience in its own right, especially for people who like to work with their hands. A raft is the easiest vessel to build, but a strip-built canoe or kayak will be almost as easy and much more comfortable. Kits are available for people who want an easier project, but most people can manage to build one from scratch without too much effort.