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Tubing in North Georgia: Finding Fun On The Water

04/13/2018 | by Kirsten Cooper | Outdoor Activities Things to Do

If you and your family are vacationing in beautiful North Georgia during the hot months of summer, one activity you may consider is heading for the nearest river for some tubing. Tubing down one of our local rivers can offer everyone in the family a great day on the water. And for the more intrepid adventurer, some of the accessible rivers in Georgia offer a more exciting day, complete with small rapids to spice up the trip.

If you need to rent tubes for the group, you will want to find a local outfitter. Outfitters maintain an outpost somewhere along the river. This is where you will park your vehicle, sign waiver forms, get fitted for life vests, and pay for your tube rental. Your tube rental usually includes a ride on a shuttle to the ‘put in’ point: the area where you will launch your tubes. At the end of the trip, you will get out of the river at the ‘take out’ point. You will carry your tube a short distance back to the shuttle where you will catch a ride back to your vehicle. It’s easy and convenient.

The typical ‘season’ for tubing runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, when the weather is warm enough to tube and the water levels are appropriate for having a good float trip! (Some outfitters run all the way through October 1st!). If you have your own tubes, you don’t have to worry about the hours of operation of the outfitters in the area unless you want to hitch a ride with their shuttle service (usually an option for a nominal fee).

The North Georgia area has several beautiful wild and scenic rivers where you can find wonderful opportunities for tubing. Here is our list for the best tubing in North Georgia rivers.

Chattahoochee River

Tubing in North Georgia river photo
Photo credit: Shawn Taylor via Flickr CC2.0

If you are going to be in the vicinity of Helen, Georgia this river is an absolute must! You can access the water up river from the adorable alpine-inspired village of Helen. You can arrange for a 2-hour float and enjoy the view as you wind through the peaceful forest setting and then on down through Helen.

The Chattahoochee River runs right through the middle of Helen so be prepared for a lot of people to watch as you float downstream. Don’t worry: most of them will be wishing that they were floating along with you! After your trip is over, Helen has a wide variety of great places to catch lunch or dinner, and some of them offer a great view of the families tubing downstream.

Toccoa River

The beautiful Toccoa River, which flows through the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, offers an excellent opportunity for family tubing. The typical length of trip if you are using a local outfitter will take around an hour-and-a-half to two hours to complete. The Toccoa River itself is a beautiful and peaceful location, and tubing allows you to traverse the river at a leisurely pace so you can enjoy the scenery. Keep an eye out for wildlife; since this is a wilderness location, you may see otters, deer and even black bears.

Many outfitters maintain a small gift shop where you can find items that you forgot to bring with you like sunscreen, water shoes or even a waterproof pouch for your phone so you can take some photographs of your group out on the water!

Chestatee River

Tubing in North Georgia river photo
Photo credit: H. Mitch via Flickr CC2.0

Near Dahlonega, Georgia you can find the Chestatee River. This river provides a great place for tubing and it is not as congested as the more well-known rivers can be at times. The trip is short—around 45 minutes—but the last time we checked, there is a nature trail along the river that will take you back to the top so you can run the river again and again. If that is not possible, your outfitter may offer the option of repeating the trip for a nominal fee, so be sure to check with them as you make your plans for the day. The Chestatee is a mild river, so it is an excellent choice for groups with young children along.

Coosawattee River

The Coosawattee River is located outside Ellijay, Georgia. There is a rafting company across the Shallowford Bridge where you can rent tubes for the family and head down river. You may be able to rent a cooler tube if you have brought drinks and snacks along. If you are vacationing in the area in August, you may be able to find a night tubing trip at this location! This river gives you a nice lazy float that takes a couple of hours to complete.

Tips for Tubing

1. If the weather has been very hot with little rain, you may want to check with your chosen outfitter before you show up to tube to make sure that the river water level is adequate for a good tubing trip. It is no fun to show up for a stress-relieving float trip and end up having to carry your tube through large areas of low to no water!

2. Keep in mind that on many rivers you can anticipate running into an occasional area where you may have to climb out of your tube to portage around a dry or extremely rocky area.

3. Dress appropriately for the trip! We suggest the following:

  • Bathing suit
  • Water shoes (you may have to get out of your tube if you get stuck on some rocks, and this will protect your feet)
  • Bottle of water (you can tie a string around the neck of the bottle and attach it to your tube)
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses (if your river has rapids, use a strap)
  • Hat

4. Remember, most outposts have picnic tables; if they have a picnic area, you may want to pack a nice lunch so you can relax by the river before or after your trip.

5. Many outposts have a changing area or even shower facilities. Bring towels for everyone so you can get out of your wet clothes after your tubing adventure.

Tubing in North Georgia rivers is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend the afternoon on a hot summer day. It is relaxing, refreshing, and most of all, a whole lot of fun! If you are heading for the water, prepare for a great afternoon with friends and family. Now that you know the fun things to do, search our North Georgia cabin rentals to find a great place to stay!

The river is waiting for you!

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Michelle Clark
Michelle Clark
17:54 18 Mar 18
We stayed at the Creekside Reflections cabin in Elijah and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. The river alongside the cabin was flowing really strong so we had the absolute pleasure of hearing the water flow from inside. Getting up early in the morning and sitting on the deck watching the water run by was an added pleasure. This was a surprise weekend for my husband but we both came away well rested. We will visit again. Only concern we had was a leaky faucet that eventually became a gushing flow requiring maintenance to be called out early Sunday morning. They came out really quick and resolved the issue. Overall experience was wonderful, thank you to everyone at Blue Sky Cabins.
Tim Roberto
Tim Roberto
21:30 31 Dec 17
Blue Sky and their staff were excellent. The cabin we rented is called Amazing Sunset. The view was unique and the sunsets beautiful. We experienced a few nights of a neighbors dog barking all through the night due to the owners leaving it out to wander while they were away. It was cold as well. I figured out that if I could get it to the back porch and close the door, the dog would remain quiet. Whoever attended the dog came every two days and never returned the poor thing to its screened in porch. Blue sky handled it best they could and were kind enough to refund me a night. The cabin is small and its layout not so great. The beds were hard and not comfortable except for the one downstairs. Overall not bad, the neighborhood is quiet. Would I rent it again? No
Sandra Scott
Sandra Scott
19:02 28 Dec 17
We stayed at Hide N Creek with our 2 dogs during Christmas and it was perfect! Nestled in a little valley right on the bend of a beautiful mountain brook, with plenty of land for the dogs to explore. Our dogs especially liked that it was flat and not on a busy road. The cozy cabin had a hot tub right outside the master suite and a really nice screened porch overlooking the brook. The gas fireplace kept the cabin so warm that we only had to turn on the furnace once. It had everything we needed and was super comfy. We took a few side trips to go hiking, went into Blue Ridge to eat, and just chilled out and watched movies at the cabin. It was pure bliss! We've been renting different cabins from Blue Sky for years and this was definitely one of our favorites!
Sandi Kent
Sandi Kent
16:32 17 Jan 18
This cabin is perfect is every way! We came to celebrate my husbands birthday and what a wonderful surprise this beautiful cabin was! So relaxing and everything we needed was right here! Beautiful views and so convenient to everything, Blue Sky Rentals were wonderful! We will be back! Donica was so sweet and helpful and we could not have asked for more, I highly recommend The Weeks End and Blue Sky Rentals!!!
Leslie Lipsius
Leslie Lipsius
20:00 06 Dec 17
My weekend at Anglers Roost on the River was fantastic!! Such a beautiful cabin with an amazing view. The cabin is very spacious (there were 15 of us) and homey. Furniture is beautiful and just adds to the experience of being in the mountains. Fully stocked kitchen came in handy for cooking meals. The hot tub was a great addition as well, definitely added to the enjoyment of our stay. I would absolutely stay at Anglers Roost on the River again!
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