The Best Places for River Tubing in North Carolina

Looking for an adventure that's equal parts exciting and relaxing? Welcome to the wonderland that is Western North Carolina! This area is well-known for heart-pumping outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and snow skiing. But if you're in search of a unique and laid-back way to enjoy the great outdoors, river tubing in North Carolina is the perfect activity for you.

Imagine spending a sunny day floating down the cool waters of a picturesque river, surrounded by scenic views of beautiful mountains, lush forests, and clear, blue skies.

Western North Carolina is home to countless rivers and streams perfect for a lazy day of tubing. So, whether you're wandering through the iconic Great Smoky Mountains National Park, exploring the natural wonders of the Pisgah National Forest, or simply enjoying the idyllic landscapes of the NC Piedmont, you're never far from a fantastic river tubing spot.

So, if you're up for a fun, relaxing adventure, grab your sunscreen, put on your water shoes, and let's dive into the best places for river tubing in North Carolina.

Tubing in Bryson City NC

Deep Creek Tubing

Photo from Deep Creek Tube Center & Campground

Address: 1881 W Deep Creek Rd, Bryson City NC

Parking: $5/day, $15/week, or $40/year

Nestled within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Deep Creek Tubing is just a stone's throw away from the park entrance, offering easy access to your tubing escapade.

From 9 AM to 9 PM, this facility offers a variety of tube sizes for rent. As you drift, don't miss the breathtaking sight of Tom Branch Falls, a spectacular 60-foot waterfall cascading into the creek.

Deep Creek offers two distinct sections for tubing: the upper section with larger rapids for thrill-seekers, and the lower, shallow section ideal for a laid-back tubing experience for all ages.

Remember to grab a parking tag for Deep Creek Area, available online or on-site. Children 13 years and under are required to wear a life jacket, available with your tube rental.

Dillsboro River Company

Photo from Dillsboro River Company facebook

Address: 18 Macktown Rd, Sylva NC

Just 20 minutes away from Cherokee, this exciting destination offers exhilarating tubing experiences on the Tuckasegee River.

Operating hours extend from morning to evening. This adrenaline-fueled journey traverses 5.5 miles through Class I and II whitewater rapids and is best suited for those aged 16+.

For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, the Upstream tubing trip is an excellent choice. A shuttle will transport you upstream, and then you'll enjoy a 2 to 4-hour float back to the Dillsboro River Company.

Please note that the tubes provided here are adult-size only, so this might not be the ideal spot for a family tubing experience.

However, if you're an adventurous traveler seeking a riveting tubing experience with a slightly extreme edge, Dillsboro River Company offers an unforgettable river tubing adventure in North Carolina!

Tubing in Asheville NC

Zen Tubing

Photo from Zen Tubing website

Address: Two Locations - 1648 Brevard Rd, Asheville, NC (South Asheville) & 608 Riverside Dr, Asheville, NC (Midtown)

One of the best places for river tubing in Asheville, North Carolina. With two locations along the scenic French Broad River, Zen Tubing is an ideal pick for those craving an exciting outdoor adventure.

The South Asheville location offers daily tubing escapades from mid-May to mid-September, with a relaxing float time of approximately 2 to 2.5 hours. Meanwhile, trips from the River Arts District run from mid-June to mid-August.

Parking is easy - simply park your vehicle, sign up for your trip, and Zen Tubing's shuttle will take care of your upstream transportation. Equipped with backrests and cup holders, the comfortable tubes are designed for a leisurely float.

After your trip, extend your Asheville experience with a visit to one of the local breweries or downtown restaurants.

Don't forget your sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and water shoes. Zen Tubing provides life jackets for a safe and enjoyable experience.

Mountain Valley Express

Photo from Mountain Valley Express facebook

Address: 5373 Green River Cove Rd, Saluda, NC 28773

Located just a 30-minute drive south on the I-26 from Asheville, it is an enticing retreat for adventurers and families seeking a laid-back river tubing experience. (Was known as Silver Creek Tubing in the past)

Offering services from May to September, depending on seasonal weather, Silver Creek operates 7 days a week. They begin to put eager tubers in the tranquil waters around 11 AM and conclude the day's adventures by 5 PM.

It's essential to note that the flow of the Green River is managed by Duke Energy, operating the Tuxedo Hydro Dam. Therefore, it's advised to call ahead to confirm Silver Creek Tubing's schedule for the day.

After an invigorating float down the river, replenish your energy at one of the fabulous restaurants in nearby Hendersonville.

Tubing in  Brevard NC

Headwaters Outfitters

Phot from Headwaters Outfitters facebook

Address: 25 Parkway Rd, Rosman, NC

Located just an hour from Asheville and a brief 10-minute drive from Brevard. Well-known for its fishing and paddling trips, enjoy an easygoing tubing adventure that should be on any North Carolina summer itinerary.

The duration of their river tubing trips ranges between one to two hours, with variation due to the current water levels in the French Broad River. It is recommended to reserve your tubing trips in advance, with the best starting times being earlier in the day. In late spring and early fall, the starting time is typically around 10 AM, while the peak summer months push the start to as early as 9 AM.

While alcohol is not permitted during the river tubing experience, there's a taproom and food trucks located right at the store/offices.

Tubing in Boone NC

High Mountain Expeditions

Photo from High Mountain Expeditions website

Address: 4391 Castle Ford Rd, Boone NC

Nestled in the heart of the North Carolina High Country, just a few miles outside Boone. Offering a 2-hour, 2-mile float on the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, this prime destination showcases the best of river tubing in North Carolina.

Throughout the summer, tubing trips are available daily from 10 AM to 4 PM, making it the perfect outdoor activity to escape the heat. Be sure to reserve your spot either online or by phone at 1-800-262-9036.

They also offer thrilling whitewater rafting trips, captivating cave adventures, and peaceful canoe and kayak rentals. Plus, for those who prefer land-based excursions, guided hikes to nearby attractions are on offer.

Post-tubing, don't miss the chance to sample a local microbrew at one of Boone's breweries or enjoy a hearty meal at a local Boone restaurant.

Tubing in Cherokee NC

Smoky Mountain Tubing

Photo from Smoky Mountain Tubing facebook

Address: 1847 Tsali Boulevard, Cherokee NC

Providing an ideal blend of fun, safety, and natural beauty, Smoky Mountain Tubing has been a favorite for family vacations in Cherokee since 1999. The float lasts approximately 2 hours, covering an impressive span of 3 miles of the river's serene waters.

Kick-start your summer day with tubing trips available from as early as 10 AM, with the last launch at 5 PM. Suitable for everyone aged five and above, it's a fantastic way to unwind and bond with family or friends.

Fishing is allowed. Pet owners aren't left out either – your furry friends are welcome, though bear in mind there's a $50 charge for any damaged tubes.

While floating down the Oconaluftee River, be sure to take advantage of the charming swimming holes and the thrilling rope swing. This river tubing experience is undoubtedly one of the top adventures in North Carolina, providing a unique blend of relaxation and excitement.

Tubing in Banner Elk NC

Loafers Glory Rafting & Tubing

Photo from Loafers Glory Rafting & Tubing facebook

Address: 2637 Hwy 226 N, Bakersville NC

Situated in the Pisgah National Forest, near Burnsville NC, Loafers Glory Rafting & Tubing offers an exciting 2-hour tubing journey on the peaceful Toe River.

Operating between the picturesque towns of Banner Elk and Asheville, they require advance reservations and start their tubing season in late May.

Located near the breathtaking attractions of Grandfather Mountain State Park and Mount Mitchell State Park, Loafers Glory provides not just tubing, but an entryway to numerous adventures in the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina.

Tubing in Elkin NC

Rocky Forest River Run

Photo from Rocky Forest River Run facebook

Address: Rocky Forest Trail, Elkin NC

Sitting in Elkin, Rocky Forest River Run offers a charming tubing journey down the Yadkin River. This 2-hour adventure covers 3 miles from Crater Park to RFRR, creating a short, delightful experience for all ages.

Though the 4 to 5-hour Yadkin River rafting trips aren't offered, thrill-seekers can embark on an exhilarating kayaking adventure.

Visitors have plenty of time left to savor the local NC wineries or explore the breathtaking trails in Stone Mountain State Park and Doughton Park.

Open Saturdays and Sundays from 9:45 AM to 5:30 PM, reservations should be made in advance with an early arrival advised.

Essential River Tubing Checklist

As we conclude our journey through the best river tubing spots in North Carolina, it's important to remind you of some essential items to bring along on your adventure.

  1. Sunscreen: Safeguard your skin against the sun's rays. Be sure to reapply as needed throughout the day.
  2. Swimwear: Don't forget your swimsuit. An extra layer like a t-shirt or rash guard can offer added sun protection.
  3. Water Shoes: Shield your feet from any potential hazards in the river, such as sharp rocks or unseen debris.
  4. Hat and Sunglasses: Keep your face and eyes shielded from the sun. Sunglasses straps can prevent them from getting lost in the river.
  5. Towel: You'll be glad you brought it to dry off post-adventure.
  6. Waterproof Bag/Dry Bag: Ideal for keeping your personal items like phone, wallet, and keys safe and dry.
  7. Water and Snacks: Tubing can be quite a workout! Hydrate and energize with some light snacks.
  8. Life Vest: A wise safety measure regardless of your swimming prowess, especially for longer trips or quicker rivers.
  9. Insect Repellent: Certain areas may require some protection against insects.
  10. First Aid Kit: It's always beneficial to be ready for any minor mishaps or emergencies.
  11. Waterproof Camera or Phone Case: Immortalize the fun without risking your electronics.

Remember, each tubing company might have their own specific set of requirements or restrictions about what you can bring along. So always check in advance to ensure you're well-prepared for your river tubing adventure.

That's it for now, happy tubing in the beautiful rivers of North Carolina!

About Lost City NC

Photo of the lost city crew for the about us section

Lost City NC started as an urban exploration page and quickly became a page to share new places to eat, travel to, and stay at here in North Carolina. Read More!

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