Top 7 Tubing Spots in Virginia’s Blue Ridge
Good GOLLY it’s hot these days, but honestly, we are here for it. When the temps start rising, we just grab our tubes, Ziplock our phones, and fire up the waterproof speaker for a float down the river. And lucky for us, we’ve got several places (in no particular order) to get our float on in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.
Pigg River (Franklin County): Do you like choices? Franklin County gives you three for floating the Pigg River. Between June 11 and August 7, you can rent a tube for $5 and choose among three floating distances: ¼ mile, ½ mile, and full mile. No need to work out shuttles as you can reach the access points by foot and walk to the parking area when your float is complete. Click here to see the map. Bonus: Franklin County Parks and Recreation has created the River of Lights! On Friday and Saturday nights in June, you can reserve your spot to float the river with a canopy of lights and stars. Click here to make a reservation.
Jackson River (Covington): Family-friendly floats are the name of the game with Alleghany Outdoors. Kids as young as eight can hike 0.3 miles and enjoy a 2.25-mile float in the crystal-clear waters of the Jackson River. You’ll enjoy “mountain views, excellent current, and fun rapids along the way.” Just grab your tube and hike along the Jackson River Scenic Trail to the tube launch. Wear appropriate shoes for the hike and for navigating some parts of the river where the water is shallow.
James River (Buchanon): Another family-friendly float is the James River in the Town of Buchanon. Starting at noon, you can rent tubes, take a shuttle to the river put-in, and float for 1.5 miles. Your ticket gets you two floats, so a popular option is to tube down once, grab a bite to eat at a local joint, and then follow that up with another float! They also offer last-call river tubing for a discounted rate (you can only float once, and it’s at the end of the day). Participants must be at least six years old and able to swim.
Roanoke River (Roanoke): Recently named by USA Today as the 2022 Top Urban Kayaking Spot, it’s also the ideal place to go with the flow. There are several put-ins along the blueway with parking options, making it very convenient to set up a free friend shuttle. Need to rent a tube and a shuttle? Just visit Roanoke Mountain Adventures for the hook-up. They can also give you info about water levels and navigating the river. Bonus: there are some very tasty food and beverage options along the river to enjoy! Wasena City Taproom, The Green Goat, Blue Cow Ice Cream, Hang Ten, Crème Fresh, and Starr Hill to name a few. Feel free to try out the LOVE FLOAT we created. Or, join us on July 24th for the Floatilla to Starr Hill-a with Roanoke Parks and Recreation!
Craig Creek (New Castle): Wilderness Adventure is known for its outdoor camps and weekend stays, but they also offer daily tube rentals and shuttles! For $20, you can rent a tube and have the option of a one, two, or four-hour float. Staff will shuttle you to and from, so you don’t have to worry about hiking to any put-ins. There are many groups that stay at Wilderness Adventure, so they recommend you reserve your spot ahead of time. Bonus: you can camp there too and if you go on the weekend, the kitchen is open for a tubing refuel!
Little River (Floyd): If you’re near Floyd, hit up the (should this be On the Water) Little River for your tubing needs! Tube rentals range from $15-$25 (depending on the tubing distance), and that includes a life jacket, personalized instruction, and a pick-up/drop-off shuttle. There are one, two, and five hours tubing options, and they recommend you book your visit online before you arrive. Have your own tubes? You can still take advantage of their shuttle service for $5 per person. They’re located 10 minutes from downtown Floyd, which means there are a ton of dining options for pre- or post-tubing eats!
New River (Blacksburg): Get ready to make a day of it at the New River Junction. You can rent tubes (or bring your own), hop right into the river from the shop, and visit Big Falls Park to relax and cook out with friends or family. This is about a one-mile float that ends with a small, fun rapids section. Most folks like to go down the rapids a few times before getting out and taking the shuttle back upstream. Rental fees range from $10 to $18 (depending on age), and you can even rent a cooler tube to keep your tubing provisions dry! Want to make a weekend of it? They offer campsites as well!
Pick the one closest to you, or get a taste of Virginia’s Blue Ridge by visiting all these options throughout the summer. Either way, kick back, relax, and go with the flow this summer on one of our many rivers! And of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t say WEAR A LIFE JACKET. We want everyone doing all the outdoors things, but we want you to do it safely. Enjoy!