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Top 10 Fly Fishing Destinations in the US | Family Friendly

A peaceful day on the water enjoying the great outdoors – what could be better than seeing your loved ones hook their first big catch? Here, you’ll find a mix of world-class freshwater and saltwater fishing destinations that also offer great activities for non-anglers. These are ranked based on how family-friendly these destinations are, taking into effect world-class guided fishing experiences to enjoy as much fishing (or shoreside activities) as your family would like to enjoy.

This article covers:

10. White River, Arkansas

Fly fishing for trout in the White River, Arkansas. Courtesy of White River Fly Anglers.

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The White River in Arkansas offers a picturesque setting for a family-friendly fly fishing adventure. Nestled in the heart of the Ozarks, this scenic river provides anglers with breathtaking views, diverse wildlife sightings, and a myriad of outdoor activities to delight both fishing enthusiasts and non-anglers alike.

Fly Fishing Locations around the White River

Flowing through the scenic landscapes of Arkansas, the White River offers fantastic opportunities for freshwater fishing adventures. The river is renowned for its diverse fish populations, including various species such as rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, and smallmouth bass. Catfish, sunfish, and walleye are also known to be found here. For fly anglers, the White River provides an ideal setting to test your skills and reel in impressive catches. The upper 10 miles of the Bull Shoals Tailwaters offer many fishing opportunities for anglers.

Other Activities in Traverse City for the Whole Family

In addition to fishing, families visiting the White River in Arkansas can partake in a variety of outdoor activities. Explore the sandy beaches along the riverbanks or head west to discover the natural beauty of the Ozarks. The nearby Bull Shoals-White River State Park offers opportunities for hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. For water enthusiasts, the region boasts numerous inland lakes ideal for kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and tubing, providing endless fun for the whole family.

9. Kenai River, Alaska

Grizzly bears and anglers share the spoils of prolific runs of pacific salmon on the Kenai River.
Grizzly bears and anglers share the spoils of prolific runs of pacific salmon on the Kenai River. Courtesy Schaef1.

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The Kenai River in Alaska is a remote location for a fly fishing trip suitable for the whole family. Located in southcentral Alaska, this area boasts stunning mountain views, abundant wildlife, and a multitude of nature activities for anglers and non-anglers to enjoy.

Fly Fishing Locations around the Kenai River

The pristine glacial waters make the Kenai River an excellent location for freshwater fly fishing and the chance to catch the iconic Alaskan salmon. The nearby Cook Inlet also provides an exciting saltwater fly fishing experience, where families can test their skills in a different environment targeting salmon, sea-run trout, and other nearshore species like cod and halibut. 

Other Activities in Kenai River for the Whole Family

Beyond fishing, the region surrounding the Kenai River offers other family activities, such as hiking in the majestic Chugach Mountains, guided rafting trips down the river, and wildlife viewing suitable for all ages. Plan a trip to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to get up close to some local wildlife, or go whale watching in the Cook Inlet.

8. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Spring creeks of Rocky Mountain National Park are great for trout fishing. Courtesy Chantel Tung.

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The rivers and landscapes of Rocky Mountain National Park epitomize the beauty of the Western landscape. Despite being one of the nation's most visited national parks, it offers remarkable fly fishing prospects suitable for both novices and seasoned anglers. What's more, easy accessibility and breathtaking mountain panoramas enhance the allure of this angler's paradise. This splendid destination provides an ideal backdrop for a thrilling and enjoyable expedition for the entire family. 

Fly Fishing Locations in Rocky Mountain National Park

Nestled within the majestic Rocky Mountains, this destination offers unparalleled opportunities for world-class fishing. Renowned rivers like the Colorado, Gunnison, South Platte, and Eagle flow through the region, providing exceptional fly fishing experiences. While Colorado boasts numerous rushing waters, these rivers stand out as prime locations for anglers seeking the ultimate fly fishing adventure.

Other Activities in Gulf Shores for the Whole Family

In addition to fishing, families visiting Rocky Mountain National Park can embark on adventures like hiking along scenic trails such as the Emerald Lake Trail, or camping at the Moraine Park Campground, immersing themselves in the stunning Rocky Mountain landscape. Within the park, visitors can also explore historic sites like the Holzwarth Historic Site, offering a glimpse into the region's rich history. For accommodations and transportation, nearby towns like Estes Park, CO, and Grand Lake, CO, provide convenient options. Ensure to arrange car rentals and lodging in advance to fully enjoy your visit to this iconic national park.

7. Bighorn River, Montana

A view over a great fishing spot along the Bighorn River in Montana.
A view overlooking a prime run on the Bighorn River in Montana. Courtesy IslandLeigh.

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The Bighorn River in Montana and Wyoming is the perfect choice for a family-friendly fly-fishing trip out West. Anglers of all ages can enjoy casting their lines and honing their fly fishing skills in this river’s pristine waters, surrounded by the breathtaking mountain vistas this great state is known for.

Fly Fishing Locations around the Bighorn River

The Bighorn is known to be one of the most productive trout fishing rivers in the U.S., holding thousands of fish per mile. Brown and rainbow trout are the main target species on this river and offer great fishing opportunities from the shore and watercraft. Be sure to check with local fishing regulations before going, though your guide will have the proper licenses as well.

Other Activities in near Bighorn River for the Whole Family

Aside from fishing, visiting families can explore nearby hiking trails, such as Upper Layout Creek Trail, or camp on the Bighorn River at Grapevine Campground to enjoy the Montana landscape further. In Bighorn National Recreation Area, there is also a collection of preserved ranches that still exist in their original state and can be visited. The nearest towns to this great natural region are Billings, M, and Cody, WY, so be sure to rent a car and secure lodging before your visit.

6. Charleston, South Carolina

A massive redfish caught on a flood tide in Charleston, South Carolina. Courtesy of Fly Fish Charleston.

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For families seeking an unforgettable fishing excursion, Charleston, South Carolina stands out as a top destination. With its renowned flood tides and abundant offshore fishing spots, Charleston offers a diverse range of ecosystems, from estuaries and tidal creeks to rivers and the expansive Atlantic Ocean. These varied habitats provide a thriving environment for an array of prized gamefish, ensuring an unparalleled fishing experience for anglers of all levels.

Fly Fishing Locations around Charleston

Charleston provides anglers access to an extensive network of intercoastal tidal creeks nearby, harboring a thriving marine ecosystem and serving as a sanctuary for those seeking fish from their skiffs. Late autumn and early winter present prime opportunities for creek fishing, with redfish strategically ambushing shoals of shrimp and baitfish in shallow waters, offering exhilarating angling experiences.

Other Activities in Charleston for the Whole Family

Fishing often takes you to some of the world's most beautiful and historically rich locations — and Charleston is no exception. Charleston is known for its deep colonial and revolutionary history, architectural heritage, and delicious Lowcountry cuisine. Although you may travel for the fishing, you will undoubtedly find yourself staying for much more than just that. 

For those interested in digging deeper into their country’s history, spend a day at Fort Sumter discovering in great detail the events that began the American Civil War. The Charleston Museum is another great opportunity to get the most out of your trip by learning about South Carolina’s pivotal role in American history. 

With no shortage of natural beauty, Charleston boasts some of the most beautiful parks the state has to offer. Relax at Joe Riley Waterfront Park to take in the city while still in view of the Atlantic. No matter how you choose to spend your trip in Charleston, you’ll never be far from a great time. 

5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina

Unmatched fall fishing in the many streams within Great Smoky. Courtesy of dwhob.

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Embark on an unforgettable family fishing expedition amidst the breathtaking beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Nestled in the heart of Tennessee and North Carolina, this iconic destination promises an enriching experience for both novice anglers and seasoned fishermen alike. With pristine rivers, serene lakes, and diverse aquatic habitats, the park provides a perfect backdrop for a myriad of fishing adventures. So, pack your gear, gather your loved ones, and prepare for an immersive journey into the wonders of this National Park.

Fly Fishing Locations around Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains, this pristine wilderness offers an idyllic setting for anglers seeking tranquility and adventure. With its meandering streams, meadow-filled valleys, and secluded mountain coves, the park beckons both beginners and seasoned fly fishermen to cast their lines in pursuit of native trout species like rainbow, brown, and brook trout. 

The Little Pigeon River, Abrams Creek, Oconaluftee River, and Deep Creek stand out as prime fishing spots where anglers can pursue these species using fly fishing equipment or light tackle. Late summer through early fall marks optimal times to target these fish, although you can expect moderate success throughout the year.

Other Activities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the Whole Family

In addition to fishing, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a plethora of family-friendly activities to enjoy. Explore the park's diverse landscapes and stunning vistas through a variety of hiking trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging treks. Discover the cascading beauty of waterfalls like Laurel Falls or embark on the iconic Appalachian Trail for a memorable adventure.

Immerse yourselves in the park's rich natural and cultural history by visiting historic homesteads, such as the Cades Cove or Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, where you can glimpse into the past and learn about early settlers' way of life. Take in breathtaking panoramic views from popular overlooks like Clingmans Dome or Newfound Gap, offering vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. For wildlife enthusiasts, keep your eyes peeled for a chance to spot black bears, white-tailed deer, and a variety of bird species that call the park home. And don't forget to pack a picnic to enjoy amidst the tranquil beauty of the Smokies.

4. Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Returning from a day out in Cape Cod. Courtesy of Land Sucks Charters.

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Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a perfect choice for a fly fishing adventure suitable for the whole family, providing one of the best opportunities for saltwater fishing in the Mid-Atlantic. Bask in the natural beauty of this region, enjoy the coastal town life, and fish your heart out with world-class guides in coastal Massachusetts.

Fly Fishing Locations around Cape Cod

On the Cape, those interested in light tackle fishing for striped bass, bluefish, and false albacore can find great fishing from both shore and boats. Check out the Bass River, the Monomoy Flats, the Cape Cod Canal, or jetties and breakwalls along the coast for consistent action throughout the season. These spots can be extremely productive and can offer non-stop excitement for the whole family. Just a bit further offshore are great billfish fishing opportunities as well.

Alternatively, tag along with one of the area’s top offshore captains for shots at tuna, mahi mahi, shark, and white marlin during the summer months. These trips often provide great viewing opportunities for whales, seals, porpoises, and other marine wildlife. Be sure to go with a licensed AnyCreek guide for the best experience.

Other Activities in Cape Cod for the Whole Family

Apart from fishing, Cape Cod offers charming seaside communities with charming downtowns, with boutique shopping, and delicious dining options. Consider checking out Sandwich or Hyannis, or take the family to visit Heritage Museums & Gardens or the Woods Hole Climate Research Center.

3. Asheville, North Carolina

Summer is a great time for trout fishing in in the cool, native brook trout streams around Asheville, North Carolina. Courtesy skiserge1.

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Asheville, North Carolina, has fantastic opportunities for families of fly fishing enthusiasts. This unique spot lies nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and offers amazing angling opportunities along with a range of other activities for all ages. 

Fly Fishing Locations around Asheville

The area has several great rivers and streams to fish, including the Davidson River and Wilson's Creek — designated as Wild Trout Waters. These rivers are very scenic and home to exquisitely colorful rainbow, brown, and brook trout. These are great trout fishing spots for all skill levels and can be accessed on foot or by boat. The best way to fish this region is with a guide, so be sure to go with a veteran AnyCreek guide.

For a change of scenery, a day's drive to the Atlantic Ocean allows for an exciting angling adventure, offering a unique saltwater experience. On the Carolina coast, fly anglers can fish the tidal swings of the inshore marshes and oyster bars for tailing redfish, black drum, sheepshead, and other inshore species of gamefish. This area can offer amazing sight fishing opportunities that are exciting for novice and expert anglers alike.

Other Activities in Asheville for the Whole Family

 Beyond fishing, other activities in Asheville include exploring the vibrant downtown area, visiting the beautiful Biltmore Estate, and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Atlantic Ocean is just a short drive away, great for a day trip to the stunning coastline of North Carolina. 

2. Florida Keys, Florida

A clear day of fishing off the coast of Florida. Courtesy of Sea Señorita Charters.

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The Florida Keys are a great choice for a family-friendly fishing trip with amazing saltwater fishing opportunities, beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and a unique history. Located at the southern tip of Florida, this tropical archipelago is a destination the whole family can enjoy. 

Fly Fishing Locations around the Florida Keys

The Keys and their surrounding flats yield great opportunities to target various inshore species — such as snookredfishtarponbonefishpermit, and snapper. There is also fantastic offshore fishing for tuna, wahoo, mahi mahi, grouper, sailfish, and a host of other amazing pelagic fish species.

For freshwater fishing options, Everglades National Park is just a few hours north of The Keys on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The park is home to various freshwater sloughs and creeks, offering families the chance to target species like the endemic Florida largemouth bass, gar, bowfin, and a few non-native exotic species like cichlids and peacock bass. The best way to fish within the park is with a guide, so be sure to check out our best guides in the Florida Keys.

Other Activities in the Florida Keys for the Whole Family

Aside from fishing activities, consider visiting the Florida Keys’ picturesque, white sand beaches, the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, and The Turtle Hospital. These are great attractions to visit as a family and have something to keep everyone entertained. Another great day trip option is to take the 2-hour ferry southwest to Dry Tortugas National Park. For more opportunities in Key West, check out our guide to Key West sightseeing.

1. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, & Idaho

Fighting a native cutthrout trout within Yellowstone National Park. Courtesy of Allison Achauer.

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One great option for a family-friendly fly fishing trip is at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Notably known as the “World’s First National Park”, this vast landscape shared within Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho is full of adventures. Not only does the region boast breathtaking landscapes and wildlife, but it also hosts myriad waterways that offer excellent fishing accessible by rafts, hiking, and even horseback. There is truly a method of fishing for anglers of all skill levels in this world-renowned landscape.

Fly Fishing Locations around Yellowstone National Park

One of the highlights of Yellowstone National Park is the Yellowstone River, where families can enjoy fishing for native Yellowstone cutthroat trout. These fish draw anglers from all over the world, and it would be a truly memorable experience for the family to target these sun-colored fish. 

Yellowstone Lake also provides an excellent opportunity to fish for lake trout on its vast expanse. This bountiful lake is also home to native cutthroat trout.

Other Activities in Yellowstone National Park for the Whole Family

In addition to the fly fishing in the park, there are other opportunities to get outside with the whole family, such as scenic hikes like the Wraith Falls Trail, kayaking on Yellowstone Lake, and sightseeing at the park’s natural wonders. Be sure to check the National Park’s regulations before your trip and book a campsite or lodging beforehand as they do fill up fast!


Whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater fly fishing, there are plenty of family-friendly destinations in the U.S. that offer both options. These 10 destinations are just the tip of the iceberg, but they're a great place to start planning your next family fly fishing adventure. The best way to enjoy fly fishing on your trip is to learn from the best with your family. AnyCreek guides are seasoned professionals with years of fly fishing experience. Book a guided trip with an AnyCreek guide to fish these beautiful reigons with those who know the waters best.

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