Best River for Tubing (2016)


Nothing beats the summer heat like sipping a cold beverage under the sunshine while lazily floating down a river on a giant rubber donut. River tubing – both inexpensive and family-friendly – has become a popular summer pastime in the USA, and that's why we set out to find the best tubing rivers in the nation.

  • Portneuf River

    Portneuf River
    Lava Hot Springs, Idaho

    Fed by annual snow melt, the wild Portneuf River passes through the heart of Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. This quick, rapid-filled stretch can be floated once or twice per hour.
    Photo courtesy of Edgar Zuniga Jr. / Flickr

  • San Marcos River

    San Marcos River
    San Marcos, Texas

    Hundreds of natural springs in the San Marcos city center feed the San Marcos River – one of the most popular tubing destinations in the state of Texas. The water remains about 72 degrees year round, making it particularly refreshing come summer.
    Photo courtesy of Sean Loyless / Flickr

  • Guadalupe River

    Guadalupe River
    New Braunfels, Texas

    Floating the Guadalupe River near New Braunfels has become a Texas summer pastime. Floats last anywhere from 1 to 3 miles through the beautiful Texas Hillcountry, and the pull out is only a short drive from Austin or San Antonio.
    Photo courtesy of New Braunfels

  • Delaware River

    Delaware River
    Milford, N.J.

    The Delaware River is one of the major rivers on the Atlantic Coast and one of the most popular waterways to float in New Jersey. The float-able portion of the river extends about 6 miles and takes about three to four hours, depending on conditions. A few Class 1 rapids add some extra fun.
    Photo courtesy of Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr

  • Shenandoah River

    Shenandoah River
    Harpers Ferry, W.V. & Luray, Va.

    The Shenandoah River offers a mellow tubing experience. The portion popular with tubers near Harpers Ferry takes one to two hours to float, while the stretch of the South Fork of the river near Luray, Va. takes three to five hours to enjoy.
    Photo courtesy of Joshua Morley / Flickr

  • Current River

    Current River
    Doniphan, Mo.

    Missouri's Current River was the first in the U.S. to be named a a National Riverway. It's 75 percent spring-fed and float-able throughout the year, but especially appealing when summer temps rise into the 90s and 100s.
    Photo courtesy of AP Photo/James A. Finley

  • Truckee River

    Truckee River
    Lake Tahoe, Nev. & Calif.

    The Tahoe area might be most famous for its lake, but the Truckee River offers aquatic adventures of its own. A leisurely float down the river extends for 3 to 5 miles, and afterward, thrill seekers can head to the Truckee River Whitewater Park to navigate 11 man-made drops over a 300-yard portion of the river.
    Photo courtesy of Tahoe City Downtown Association

  • Green River

    Green River
    Saluda, N.C.

    Cool mountain water flowing down the Green River near Asheville is the perfect prescription for a hot Carolina summer. The river alternates between peaceful stretches and mild rapids, and rope swings along the way offer a fun diversion while taking a break from the tube.
    Photo courtesy of allison / Flickr

  • Yampa River

    Yampa River
    Steamboat Springs, Colo.

    Restaurants, parks and bars are dotted all along the Yampa River as it passes through Steamboat Springs, making it easy to customize a float trip to just about any length. This family-friendly float has a few small rapids and rock features to add to the thrill.
    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Potomac River

    Potomac River
    Harpers Ferry, W.V.

    Visitors to Harpers Ferry in West Virginia have a few river options to float. Adrenaline junkies go for the Potomac River, where Class II and III rapids carry them down one of the most scenic stretches of the river in Potomac River Cap and Harpers Ferry National Park.
    Photo courtesy of Glen Mazza / Flickr

The top 10 winners in the category Best River for Tubing are as follows:

  1. Portneuf River - Lava Hot Springs, Idaho
  2. San Marcos River - San Marcos, Texas
  3. Guadalupe River - New Braunfels, Texas
  4. Delaware River - Milford, N.J.
  5. Shenandoah River - Harpers Ferry, W.V. & Luray, Va.
  6. Current River - Doniphan, Mo.
  7. Truckee River - Lake Tahoe, Nev. & Calif.
  8. Green River - Saluda, N.C.
  9. Yampa River - Steamboat Springs, Colo.
  10. Potomac River - Harpers Ferry, W.V.

Other nominated rivers included the Bogue Chitto River in Bogalusa, La.; Boulder Creek in Boulder, Colo.; Cahaba River in Helena, Ala.; Chattahoochee River in Atlanta & Helen, Ga.; Chipola River in Marianna, Fla.; Farmington River in New Hartford, Conn.;Kelly Park Rock Springs Run in Apopka, Fla.; Lihue Plantation in Kauai, Hawaii; Root River in Lanesboro, Minn. and the Snoqualmie River in Fall City, Wash.

What are you waiting for? Grab that tube and get floating!

License the 10Best Readers' Choice Award Logo



AlertThe Experts

Anna Hider

Anna Hider

Anna Hider

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors