“I love OARS—I have done extensive research on other adventure outfitters and I would not even consider a trip without first (maybe even exclusively) thinking of OARS.”—Anna M. Baluyot Chicago, Illinois
First on the Water
O.A.R.S. was the first exclusively oar-powered rafting company permitted to operate trips on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Through our four decades in the adventure travel industry, we have become the largest and most diverse family of river-based adventure travel companies in North America, operating on over 1230 miles of rivers in the continental U.S. In addition to our signature Grand Canyon trips, we offer adventure vacations in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming, as well as in British Columbia, Chile, Galapagos, Fiji, Baja and Peru. The heart and soul of O.A.R.S.—from president and founder George Wendt to the more than 300 dedicated guides and employees on our team—is that we are all genuinely invested in every passenger, every trip and every lifetime memory.
We consider our O.A.R.S. outdoor adventure guides to be among the best in the industry! Some began their river-guiding careers more than 30 years ago; others were born into it. They are entertainers, historians, geologists, botanists, chefs, medics, anthropologists, event planners, authors, photographers, wilderness pathfinders, and they are the single most complimented component of our organization. Our guides are also professional, playful and ever mindful of your wants and needs, and their enthusiasm for the natural world is contagious. Learn about our guides through reading their detailed biographies, experience and interests.
Our Adventure Consultants and our year-round office staff who provide you with all the trip-specific tips, trip planning assistance and adventure travel trip logistical support have more than 100 years of combined experience in the adventure travel industry, as well as close to 1000 river trips between them.
Your O.A.R.S. Adventure Vacation
You concentrate on fun. We brew the coffee, cook the meals, pump the boats, provide the gear, plan the day, find the best camp spot, and we strive to fill each day with excitement, discovery and the attention to detail you deserve. O.A.R.S. provides the best average guide-to-guest ratio in the adventure travel business (1:4).
You do only what you feel like doing. Want to paddle a ‘ducky’ or admire the view from the bow of a boat; go on a day hike or stay in camp and read; save room for dessert or have two pieces of seared salmon? Every day is yours to do with as you please.
Is there any other experience more conducive to creating new, lasting friendships and deepening family bonds than an O.A.R.S. adventure? Our outdoor trips are wonderful equalizers, bringing together like-minded people from diverse backgrounds. Time and again we hear from guests about their joy of having met kindred spirits and new traveling companions. Parents bask in their child’s newly-gained confidence in the natural world. Gone are electronic distractions, commutes and deadlines, leaving guests with uninterrupted time to relax, snuggle under the stars, savor a sunset and swap tales around the campfire.
When you join an O.A.R.S. adventure travel trip, you’re not just a customer—you are a friend, a member of the crew and an extension of our family-owned and operated company. We’ll answer your questions, feed you well, show you a good time and share with you our passion for the world’s waterways.
Outdoor adventure vacations are our specialty, and we work hard to provide our guests with the best travel experience of their lives. If part of your trip under our control wasn’t everything you expected, we will work with you to make it right.
Environmental stewardship is nothing new to O.A.R.S. We’ve been at it for four decades. In partnership with our guests, we have contributed more than $3 million in donations and fees toward the preservation of the environment and to environmental and wildlife conservation initiatives. For a detailed account of our environmentally responsible practices, check out our Responsible Travel page.
Don’t Just Take Our Word for It
O.A.R.S. has been routinely recognized by adventure industry experts, media and our guests for our commitment to excellence and innovation in travel. In both 2008 and 2009, National Geographic Adventure magazine selected O.A.R.S. as “The Best River & Sea Outfitter on Earth” based on their criteria including education, sustainability, quality of service, spirit of adventure and references. Since 2007, Condé Nast Traveler’s Wendy Perrin has recognized our Reservations Manager, Mindy Gleason, as the “Top Travel Specialist” in the River Rafting category for her unique ability to offer O.A.R.S. travelers “the best blend of expertise, access, and good value.” Additionally, year after year magazines such as National Geographic Traveler, Outside, Men’s Journal and Sunset along with NBC, CNBC, Forbes Traveler and SmarterTravel.com have all recognized O.A.R.S. for serving up some of the “Best Trips on the Planet.”