Looking for something outdoorsy to do that requires ZERO athleticism? Tubing is the answer! Get out on a Virginia river and float the day away.

Sure, kayaking and canoeing are nice and all, but wouldn't you rather just flop down on a tube and let the current do the work? Grab a few friends and a cooler and head to one of these spots to try your hand at tubing. You've got all the room you need to practice social distancing out on a river!

Tubing 101

As an activity, tubing is great for anyone ages 6 and up. You should be able to comfortably sit in/on an inner tube for anywhere from two to five hours, so this might not be the best bet for anyone with back or neck problems. Most excursions will only allow groups of two or more, so check the fine print before you book. Safety vests will be provided with your tube rental fees.

tubing, kids

Courtesy of Shenandoah River Outfitters

The best way to prepare is to bring the right gear. First and foremost, pack a face covering in a waterproof bag. You'll need it to enter common areas like a store or shuttle bus. A personal hand sanitizer will be needed to, to clean up before snack time. Water shoes, plenty of sunscreen, and a hat or visor are the bare minimum if you're going out on a hot, sunny day. You'll also be INFINITELY happier if you bring your own cooler packed with ice, snacks, and beverages. Floating can be thirsty work!

You'll check in at an outpost and either be transported to a drop site or picked up at a landing site. That's it! Excursions go out in groups, so there will be plenty of company on the river. Now that you've got the basics down, here are two Virginia companies that will get you out on the water.

Shenandoah River Outfitters

ADDRESS: 6502 South Page Valley Road | Luray, VA
PHONE: (540) 743-4159
RATES: $22 per person, $6 for a cooler tube
DURATION: 3-5 hours per trip, depending on river conditions

Shenandoah River Outfitters takes you tubing out on the beautiful Shenandoah River. In addition to tubing, kayaking, and canoeing, they offer campgrounds and cabins for rent if you want to make a weekend of it. For 2020, reservations are highly recommended, as shuttles will be running at a lower capacity.


Courtesy of Shenandoah River Outfitters

James River Runners

ADDRESS: 10092 Hatton Ferry Road | Scottsville, VA
PHONE: (434) 286-2338
RATES: $25 per person, $8 per cooler tube
DURATION: 2-4 hours, depending on river conditions

Tubing with James River Runners takes you out on the James River from a drop-off point west of Richmond. They also have canoes, kayaks, and rafts for rent, as well as campgrounds with all the amenities.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, telephone reservations are highly recommended to ensure a spot on the day you'd prefer. You should also call and confirm three days in advance to make sure the river conditions are right for your trip.


Courtesy of James River Runners 


Is river tubing something you do every year? Do you have any tips for first-timers? Let us know in the comments!