Tubing along the cool waters of Fightingtown Creek or the Toccoa River in north Georgia is a summer pastime for residents and visitors alike. If you're planning a cabin vacation in the north Georgia Mountains this summer, tubing can be a great way to beat the heat and see some great sights in the process.
Guest Jeannie Asby was gracious enough to provide us a glimpse of her family's vacation to our mountain rental cabins. Here is her story and tips about river tubing the waters of north Georgia.
We at Rainbow Cabins of North Georgia do include tubes at all of our cabins, or you can rent tubes from any number of local companies. The Fannin County Chamber of Commerce has a list of tube rentals near Blue Ridge, Georgia.
Tubing in North Georgia – by Jeannie Asby
Our family is from Florida, 4th generation Floridians, so to call us flatlanders would be pretty accurate. Maybe because of all the years of going to the beach, when we get a chance for vacation the first thing we do is head for the hills... of beautiful North Georgia.
We've been coming to North Georgia for family vacations since 1999. At that time our four sons were ages 6, 7, 9, and 11. It's now 11 years later and we're still coming back to the North Georgia mountains for our yearly vacations. For the last four years our home away from home has been a cabin called RiverLodge near Blue Ridge, Georgia. This rental cabin is managed by www.RainbowCabins.com.
Having four sons, we like to have a lot of adventures, but as my husband and I are getting older, our bones and muscles are less agreeable to the rigors of hiking and biking. However, the last couple of years we have discovered a new pastime - River tubing. After several hours of hiking with teenagers, the best thing to do is have a good, long, relaxing soak in some cold North Georgia water. When we plan our days, if we know a long hike is on the agenda, we always follow up with a tubing trip down the Toccoa River or Fightingtown Creek. It eases the aches and pains for the parents, takes the hyper out of the kids, and lets us all be ready for the next day's adventure.
When we go hiking we usually find a tubing place on the trip out to our hike, and hit it on the way back. We don't really remember all of the tubing company names but they are all over North Georgia. We just refer to them with names like, "That place by the bridge where Dad fell in," or "The one we went to after we hiked that hidden trail," or "The one with all the cars in the river." (No kidding). Maybe someday we will get actual names and numbers – but for now, they're really easy to find if you just drive around.
In the meantime, let me tell you some of the things we've discovered in the last couple of years on our tube trips. First off, the first few times you try it, it's probably a good idea to go with an actual company, rent the tubes, and learn the river you want to tube. Once you do that, it will be easy to take your cabin tubes and go on your own. If you have a less adventurous member of your party, you can have them drop you upriver, then park downriver at the pickup site later. And since all of RainbowCabins' cabins have tubes, that's usually an inexpensive plan. But for the beginning tuber, let me just give you a quick list of do's and don'ts.
Remember to pack sunscreen. Even on an overcast day you can still get a burn if you're not careful. You may also want to take a hat and sunglasses if you don't plan on swimming. And if you want a tan remember to "rotate" yourself. Go a while on your bottom, a while on your tummy.
Do not try to "surf" with a tube. It only works if you're trying to put bruises on every part of your body.
Wear river shoes. We're a barefoot family but even with feet as tough as hobbits' feet you will still want something on your tootsies. Some of those rocks are sharp, others are slimy. Either way... Shoes!
Practice getting into your tube in a wide, knee-deep area. And don't get embarrassed easily. There are a couple methods of getting in a tube. You can have someone hold it for you while you gracefully lower your bottom into the hole, or you can hold it up to your bottom while standing and just plop backwards. But beware… if you put too much power in the plop, you can dump yourself over backwards and wind up upside-down in the cold river water. Ask me how I know.
The old pub term "bottoms up" applies to tubing. When going over rocks and small rapids, keep your bottom up! A bruised tailbone does not feel good. Neither does a giant snag in a brand new bathing suit.
Don't wear a new bathing suit.
If you want to pretend you're on the teapot ride at Disney, take a small canoe or kayak paddle with you. Our boys pull apart a double-ended paddle and each take half. Then when they get in the water, they paddle like crazy on just one side. It spins you like a top. But if you're dizzy, don't try to stand up in a river. The combination of vertigo and the pull of the water may make a totally different kind of adventure. To a hospital.
If you're planning a long trip and want to take lunch, bring along a spare tube to hold the cooler. Strap it in tight, and attach it to one of the tubes someone is riding in. When you find a nice sandy beach or a big rock, pull up and have lunch.
All in all, tubing is a great way to spend a day, afternoon, or just an hour enjoying North Georgia. It's fun, relaxing, and a great chance to enjoy God's creation.
About the Author: Jeannie Asby and her husband, Darren, live in New Smyrna Beach, FL. They have four sons, aged 17-22, and a brand new daughter-in-law! Jeannie homeschooled all four boys through to college, and has run a home-based medical transcription business for over 15 years. Her real passion (other than her faith and her family) is writing, most of the inspiration for which comes from being outdoors, enjoying Creation with her family. She and her family have been coming to the north Georgia mountains for 11 years and have found a home-away-from-home with RainbowCabins.