Money Magazine - April 2003

Endless Summer - MONEY's best places to vacation...

By Ellen McGirt

SALMON RIVER, IDAHO - When Lewis and Clark traversed the western rivers, it was part survival, part discovery. "We camped of the most beautiful places I ever saw in my life," wrote one bedraggled expedition member in 1804. Today not much has changed about that wild beauty, but getting there is far easier. Enter Outdoor Adventure River Specialists (OARS). For 34 years, this family-owned company has safely guided more than 300,000 modern explorers throughout the West. It is upscale adventuring at its best: After a white-knuckle day on the white water, you rest while your guides pitch tents and cook dinner. There's hiking for landlubbers, as well as specialty tours that include fishing, wine tastings, photo safaris and lodge-to-lodge river trips for noncampers.

For the ultimate Lewis and Clark vibe, try the Middle Fork of Idaho's Salmon River--long considered the best white-water trip in North America. Over a 100-mile journey, you'll hit 100 rapids, some rated Class III (moderate) and Class IV (high volume). Six days starts at $1,731 per person.

For families, the Rogue River in Oregon offers moderate white water--perfect for kids. And it's a deal: Four days costs $742 for adults, $672 for children seven and older. Nearby attractions like Crater Lake National Park and Ashland (of Shakespeare Festival fame) round out the trip. For OARS reservations, call 800-346-6277.