Common Mistakes and FAQ's

Mistake #1: Improper Dress on The River

Remember that this is a water rafting trip, so everything you wear will probably be wet by the end of the trip. This means taking jeans, shoes, or any clothing apparel that can’t get wet is a bad idea. Also it is a good idea to bring sunglasses, a hat, and shoes that can get wet but that will stay on your feet if you fall out of the boat.

Mistake #2: Not Being Prepared

This is the Central Valley, and in the summer time temperatures around 100 degrees are not uncommon. While the temperature around the river is cooler (because of the water) be prepared for being in the sun! Bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen! DO NOT bring a Styrofoam ice chest; they will disintegrate. Do not bring glass bottles. Do not bring any pets. Don’t bring an expensive pair of sunglass, an expensive watch, or an expensive cell phone onto the boat. A good guideline is: if you can’t stand losing it, don’t bring it.

Mistake# 3: Being Late

While we realize it can be hard to get a group onto the water at the designated time, we also need to stress the importance of being on time. The time that your reservation is at is important, and in reality you should plan on getting to the river 10 minutes ahead of time so you can get organized. If you show up too late, under some circumstances, your trip can be delayed or possibly canceled. Make sure you know EXACTLY how to get to our location the day before your trip, and if you have any questions call our office at 209-848-4800.

Mistake #4: Over-Consumption

Drinking alcohol on the Stanislaus River is (for now) legal. That being said, you are on a river. You could end up in the water. We at Sunshine would prefer our guests to not drink.

What will water levels be like in 2018?

For 2018, flow projections are (these projections are subject to change):
June 16th/17th: 800CFS (average flow, fairly mellow trip)
Flows will then slowly drop, so by the end of June, flows should approach 300CFS, which is average for this river
July, August, September: 300CFS

These projections are subject to change at any time.

River flow guidelines can be found here:

What should I bring on the raft?

Remember that you will be on the water for around 4 hours, so plan accordingly.  Some common items are: sunscreen, water and snacks, a small ice chest (they fit easily on the raft), sunglasses that either have a leash or that you do not mind losing, a hat or visor, and clothing that can get wet.

Where Are You Located?

Most of our trips start in the historic town of Knights Ferry, which is about an hour and a half to two hours east of the Bay Area.
See Us on Google Maps

What months are you open?

Sunshine Rafting Adventures usually operates from early May to the last week in September, although late April and early October trips are available on some years, dependent on water flow.

Are there fees for parking? How does parking work?

The Army Corps of Engineers (the government agency that runs the parks) will start charging a $5 per vehicle day use fee. This fee will be active at Knights Ferry and Orange Blossom Parks, and those fees can be paid on site at the mobile parking kiosks with a credit card. Parking areas are under surveillance from either Army Corp or rafting staff. Rafters will need to park in the rafters’ parking lot after they check in at their pre-determined check-in location.

Do We Have to Share Boats?

No! We don’t mix groups, so the group you book with is the group that is in your boat. While we do suggest that you bring at least 4 people in your group, we won’t ever make you share a boat with participants that are not under your same reservation.

How deep is the water?

Water depths range from 2 feet to 20 feet deep depending on where you are on the water. Typically you will find more shallow water where the water is moving quickly, and deeper water where the river has slowed down.

Are there restrooms on the trip?

Yes, there are restrooms on the trip. There are formal, park restrooms at the beginning point at Knights Ferry, the mid-way point at Horseshoe Park, and at the end point at Orange Blossom Park.

What is a Class I or a Class II river? What does this mean?

This is a class I and class II (usually on the easier end of class II) river. The river rafting rating system goes as follows:

Class I:Moving water with a few riffles and small waves. Few or no obstructions.
Class II:Easy rapids with smaller waves, clear channels that are obvious without scouting. Some maneuvering might be required.

What Are Your Prices?

Prices for trips do vary on a number of factors such as date of the trip, number of people in your party, the type of trip you want to book, etc. To get the lowest quote for your group, give us a call at 209-848-4800 or 800-829-7238. Otherwise, assume most trips are going to cost between $25-$35 per person for each day of rafting. Consult our pricing page for a full breakdown. Group discounts are available!

Do I Need A Reservation?

YES-DO IT NOW! Most weekends are booked up in advance. Last minute reservations are accepted if space permits. A 50% deposit will hold your reservation date. The full balance is due fourteen days prior to your trip. As soon as you’ve made your reservations, we’ll send you a “Trip Packet” that includes info on logistics, things to bring, and other details.
Call 1-209-848-4800.

Do You Offer Discounts?

Special quotes are available for very large groups.  Also, you can visit our Discounts page to see any new specials we may have.

You can also join our Sunshine Newsletter which will let you know of upcoming specials and events, including half price and free trip days!

What About Gratuities?

While not expected, tips are a nice way to show your appreciation for exceptional guide service. Our guides take great pride in making your day special.

What If I Need to Cancel? What About Refunds?

Please understand that when we accept your reservation that we are planning for staff and provisions and are holding a space on your trip, often turning away others.

Cancellations within 14 days of a trip will receive no refund.
Cancellations outside of 14 days of a trip are eligible for a refund.

Full refunds result if Sunshine Adventures, Inc. deems it necessary to cancel a trip due to unforeseen hazards, insufficient bookings, etc. Trips usually run rain or shine.

Responsibility Issues?

Outdoor activities such as rafting, hiking, and caving and their associated transportation include a certain element of risk and hazard, each guest will, therefore be asked to sign a “Release of Liability” form which shows your willingness to accept personal responsibility for risks involved in your adventure tour.

How Many People Can Fit in A Raft?

Up to 8 people can fit in a raft, however we do have a limited number of 10 person rafts available to rent as well.

How Old Do Participants Need To Be?

Sunshine Rafting Common Questions

Most of the time, children need to be 5 or older in order to go. If river flows are stronger than normal (most years, this only occurs in early May), children need to be 7 or older in order to go.

If you are looking to go kayaking, all participants must be at least 10 years of age, and at least one adult must be present on each kayak.

What is the Water Temperature Like?

Water temperatures in season range from 55-60 degrees depending on flow and time of year.

Where Can We Stay in the Area?

Common lodging areas in our area include Lake Tulloch Campground (209-881-3410) and Valley Oak Campground (209-881-3517).  A full list of local lodgings can be found on our lodgings page.

Is Alcohol Allowed on the Stanislaus River?

While there is no formal policy against bringing alcoholic beverages to the Stanislaus River, we personally discourage the use of alcohol in any sort of water-sport setting.  Any consumption done on the Stanislaus while on Sunshine Rafting Adventure equipment should be done in moderation.

Do you Offer Gift Certificates/Customized Tours?

Raft and water sport adventures make a great gift for any birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion. We take great pride in our ability to customize our services to your special needs…..weddings, handicapped trips, and multi-day vacation packages. Give us a call for details.

What are the regulatory agencies?

Sunshine trips are run by permission of US Army Corps of Engineers – Sacramento District, US Bureau of Reclamation – Tracy, USDA.

Do you have any positions available for hire?

If you have an interest in joining the Sunshine Rafting Adventures staff you can call our office at 1-800-829-7238