Why the South Is the Best Place to Go Tubing Down the River All Summer Long

Plus, which rivers Southerners love to float the most.

Guadalupe River Tubing
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

When temperatures start to rise in the South, people gear up for their favorite heat-resistant activities, such as locking the door shut to keep all the good air-conditioning inside, mixing up a pitcher of Arnold Palmers, and breaking out the old inflatable tubes. Because, in the South, "shootin' the Hooch" doesn't involve sipping on your great-uncle's contraband moonshine. It's tubing down the river—the Chattahoochee River, to be exact.

Tubing down rivers has long been a beloved pastime of Southerners in the spring and summertime when families are looking for old-fashioned fun and everyone else is just looking for a way to cool down. The natural waters in the region have fostered quality time and multigenerational tradition for countless folks trying to escape the seasonal heat. It's not only been for those near the Chattahoochee River in Georgia, either, but on lazy rivers throughout the Southern states.

The Guadalupe River in Texas, for instance, sees thousands of soggy bottoms during warmer months, and the accompanying state park offers campgrounds for those wanting a rustic stay. However, nearby towns like New Braunfels feature creature comforts and Lone Star classics, including old-school Texas dance halls. Virginians flock to the Shenandoah River for their soaking and floating needs, while Carolinians swear by the calming flow of the French Broad River. Even Floridians trade in the ocean for cooler waters on the crystal-clear Rainbow River.

The daytime outing typically involves heading out on the river on your inflatable inner tubes and floating down until your heart's content—and until the cooler is empty. There are plenty of rental companies that will outfit you with everything needed to enjoy the day, including shuttles that return you to your car. However, if you're embarking on the river-tubing excursion sans assistance, the best tip is to bring two cars. You're able to park one at the end where you'll be exiting the river and then drive back to the starting place. That way, you're set on both ends with transportation.

While there will always be the gorgeous beaches and lakes of the South to quell the summer sweats, sometimes all you need is a nice and easy float down a river with friends and family. Pack the sandwiches, bring the waterproof speaker, and enjoy a Southern tradition that we'll never stop loving.

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