Rogue River by Jet Boat: How to Prepare for This Thrilling Adventure

If you’ve never been on a jet boat, you’re in for quite a ride! Our experience in Gold Beach wasn’t what we expected, but it did make for quite the adventurous story. Read on to learn all about it, how you can prepare for your own jet boat journey, and even how to save on the expense!

What is a Jet Boat?

Put simply, a jet boat is a really fast boat. It’s a thrilling river ride, giving you a fast-paced tour of the scenery and resident wildlife. The boats then periodically whip around in water-bound donuts, turning into their own wakes and joyously splashing their unwitting occupants.

Aaron sitting in a miniature jet boat with the Rogue River in the background | BIG tiny World Travel

Jet boat tours are best on a hot day and for folks who love a minor thrill during their tours.

Having ridden jet boats in Portland, we knew what to expect, but this day’s journey was unlike those of our past.

Our Experience

When we drove into Gold Beach at the end of our first day of our amazing road trip to San Francisco, I noticed the sign that read, “Jerry’s Rogue Jets.”  I immediately laughed, thinking this is not a business name that instills trust and reliability.

Little did I know that I wouldn’t have much choice in the matter.

A Soggy Start

The day rose in good old, gloomy Oregon fashion.  Aaron fretted, and I merely sat back, excited for what the day would bring.  I love surprises, and Aaron had everything all planned out.  I didn’t know our morning plans placed us outside in the increasingly damp day.

An old wrecked boat moored to a pier, half sunk underwater and visibly decaying and rotting in the Rogue River in Oregon | BIG tiny World Travel

We pulled into the parking lot of Jerry’s Rogue Jets, and I had to laugh once more at my remarks from the night before.  Evidently, this establishment directed jet boat tours down the Rogue River; they did not rent out dubious aircraft with questionable loyalties.

And then I wryly laughed at our sorry luck with the weather.

Now understanding what we were getting ourselves into, I was willing to take the day as it came.  Jet boat tours are a blast on a hot day.  I knew we’d get wet anyway, so I figured it didn’t really make much of a difference.  Besides, I’m always a silver-lining, lemonade kind of gal; even miserable experiences can give you something to chuckle at later!

A Drizzly Disembark

We donned what meager rain-repellant gear we had with us (measly windbreakers), and made our way down to the dock.  I didn’t want to get my camera wet, so I left it behind in favor of the little point-and-shoot I could tuck into a pocket (or a ziplock bag) at a moment’s notice.

Brianna sheltering from the rain in a windbreaker during a jet boat tour on the Rogue River | BIG tiny World Travel

I’m certainly glad I had at least something, as we were a laughable sight.  Most of our fellow unfortunate souls were likewise huddled under colorful hoods and plastic garments resembling saran wrap.  And it got even more ridiculous when our tour guide handed out wide strips of bright blue tarp to drape over our legs in a vain attempt to ward off the deluging liquid.

Thus bedecked, we disembarked.

With the boat zipping forward, the engines thrumming underneath us, it quickly became apparent that we and the rain were to become best buds – whether we wanted to or not.  The thin, “waterproof” layer was soaked in short order; the water rapidly seeped in.

A Rainy Ride

Even though this was the end of June, summers in the Pacific Northwest – particularly near the coast – are quite mild.  Without the sun overhead, it’s easy to get chilled.  Our rain is likewise not the warm bathwater from the sky that you find in Florida or Hawaii.  Needless to say, we were rather cold and and somewhat miserable.

Aaron and Brianna drenched on a jet boat on the Rogue River in Oregon | BIG tiny World Travel

Our pilot was cognizant of this, and he went easy on us as far as the splashing went.  We took a few in good spirits – mostly because we were all already wet – but it lost its appeal very quickly.  He adjusted his technique to maximize spin thrill while minimizing the splash zone, which we all greatly appreciated.

As the morning continued, the rain thankfully let up, and we were able to enjoy the ride a bit more.  However, the sun had still not yet appeared, so we had only the wind to keep us company in our soaked garments.

A Wet Return

The tour included a stop at the end for some lunch, and we all gratefully squished our way into the lodge to hopefully dry out a bit.  We were told on most days, the weather is pleasant enough to invite riders out to the back patio overlooking the river.  But on this day, we all remained huddled inside, eating our sandwiches and wringing out our clothing.

The way back was slightly better, mostly because it had finally stopped raining.  We were still wet, but we could shed the ridiculous blue tarp from our laps.  Our captain got a few more spins in, but we weren’t ready for the full splash experience.

© Brianna Shade 2012

We were also fortunate enough to spot some wildlife on the river.  My little point-and-shoot couldn’t really do the eagles justice, but we spent some time with the sea lions, and we were able to get close to their rocky beach.  Those adorable faces almost made the whole soggy soiree worth it… almost.

How to Prepare for a Jet Boat Tour

It should go without saying that you ought to come prepared with waterproof clothing or a bathing suit, plus plenty of sunscreen and water for those hot days. Otherwise, you’re best bringing as little with you as you can.

Aaron and Brianna finally dry on the jet boat during a Rogue River tour in Oregon | BIG tiny World Travel

We do like to bring a lunch or some snacks. Tours last for a few hours, and they sometimes include meals. But more often than not, they’ll park at a scenic spot and give you some time to enjoy your meal from the boat or the shore.

And you’ll likely see wildlife during your trip, so bring a camera. But don’t forget a ziplock bag to keep it – and anything else you don’t want getting wet – dry.

Jet Boat Cost Savings Tips

A jet boat tour can be an expensive activity, ranging from about $50 to $150 per person, depending on the location and tour length. As of this writing, tours with Jerry’s Rogue Jets in Gold Beach start at $45 per person.

However, you can save yourself on the expense in a number of ways.

Footsteps in a small dune at Gold Beach, with golden grasses and a foggy, rocky Oregon beach in the background | BIG tiny World Travel

Go during less popular times

Weekdays and off-season often yield lower rates. If you’re an Unlimited Traveler like us, and you aren’t restricted to the weekends or you don’t mind less-predictable weather, you can save yourself a pretty penny.

These could also lead to fewer unruly children on your tour and fewer tourists in general – which means a more personalized tour for you!

Always search online for any available discounts

We never book anything without searching for discounts first. You never know what you might find! We managed to shave off 30% when we visited the Ice Bar in Amsterdam doing precisely this.

Never book any travel activities without first checking online for discounts and coupons – you never know what you might find!

We booked this tour with Jerry’s Rogue Jets with the help of Groupon – a well-known coupon and discount site that has saved us $100s!

Bald eagles in the rain on the Rogue River in Oregon | BIG tiny World Travel

Book ahead of time

This is a bit riskier, as you can’t always be sure of the weather or your availability, but if you can swing it, advance bookings are often cheaper than last-minute purchases.

Jerry’s even posts advanced booking coupons on their Instagram account!

Spend less elsewhere

When all else fails, see where you can cut costs in other areas of your trip to allow more wiggle room in your travel budget for the splurge.

This might mean eating out fewer times or foregoing other paid tours for free activities in the area.

Looking for more ideas? Be sure to grab our free travel budget guide with our top 5 “best bang for your buck” unusual hacks for spending less when you travel.

The Moist Memory

© Brianna Shade 2012

We managed to dry out a bit after our wet river excursion, and we ventured out to Meyers Beach that evening.  Because of the weather, we practically had the beachside trail all to ourselves, and we were able to appreciate Gold Beach’s namesake in quiet solitude.  The sand was rich and soft, the rock formations were magnificent, and the golden grasses rendered the hillsides almost pettable.

Golden grasses that give Oregon's Gold Beach its name, with large rocks sticking out of the ocean waters in the background | BIG tiny World Travel

It was an interesting day in Southern Oregon!  In the end, we just had to laugh at ourselves and the whole absurdity of it all.  It wasn’t quite the adventure we had signed up for, but it sure makes for a fun story to regale now!

Read the about entire Oregon Coast road trip to San Francisco here!

Have you ever had an adventure go off the rails in a hilarious way?

Psst… Planning a trip to Oregon?  You might also enjoy these:

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4 thoughts on “Rogue River by Jet Boat: How to Prepare for This Thrilling Adventure

  1. I’m sure sorry that you had such a wet trip up the Rogue River. We were there just 10 days ago and had a great time. The day started out cold, but the sun finally graced us and that made all the difference in the world. Being cold and wet can be miserable.

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