The Best Rivers to Float by Region

Tubing or floating; regardless of how your region refers to it, the act of drinking on a river is an experience all American’s can relate to. Since it feels like we are right in the middle of the scorching summer season, we thought it would only be appropriate to breakdown the best rivers to float by regions across the US; enjoy.

Texas

In America’s hottest state, it’s important to keep cool during the summer and what better way to do that than floating a river? Depending on what side of this vastly diverse state you live on, finding any body of running fresh water is a sight for dry eyes. Similar to cold weather states having to find activities to do in the snow, Texans find a way to remain outside regardless of consistent triple-digit heat for weeks on end.

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Due to the hill country boasting a majority of the best floating in the state, the college town of San Marcos hosts a two-day camping and music festive called Float Fest. This year it featured artist such as Snoop Dogg, Modest Mouse, Tame Impala, Lil Wayne and Bassnectar and attracts thousands of music and float lovers. With multiple rivers considered among the best rivers to float in the country, it’s fairly obvious that floating a river isn’t just an activity but part of the culture in Texas.

Best Rivers to Float
  • San Marcos River – San Marcos
  • Frio River – Concan
  • Guadalupe River – New Braunfels
  • Comal River – New Braunfels
  • Trinity River – Fort Worth

Northeast

It’s fair to say, floating rivers is not as big of a deal in the Northeast as it is in the warmer climate states. Other than only having a few months of the year actually warm enough to float a river, the Northeast is much more known for their beautiful beaches than rivers. Nevertheless, this region of America is filled with natural beauty that locals take full advantage of. It may not be as much about the leisure of floating the river as it is in Texas but about experiencing the beauty historically waters instead. Regardless, Northeasterners have their own way of enjoying their running fresh water.

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Best Rivers to Float
  • Delaware River – Milford, New Jersey
  • Schroon River – Hadley, New York
  • Farmington River – New Hartford, Connecticut
  • Kennebec River – West Forks, Maine

South

Like Texans, the rest of the South uses floating a river as an excuse to escape the tortures of the sun during the summer months. The river floating experience in the south almost exclusively revolves around the Appalachian Mountains. In North Carolina, day drinking on the Green River or the French Broad has become a tradition for anyone living, or more likely, visiting the Asheville area while it’s warm. To stay true to their weird lifestyle, Ashville hosts a zombie float which draws hundreds of zombie dressed participants each year to float the French Broad River.

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For a more tradition southern floating experience, the Chattahoochee River is a popular sport for Atlanta residents during their hot summers. It’s even been featured in numerous forms of media from Alan Jackson’s music to the film Deliverance; just don’t watch it before you float.

Best Rivers to Float
  • Green River – Saluda, North Carolina
  • French Broad River – Asheville, North Carolina
  • Chattahoochee River – Roswell, Georgia
  • James River – Scottsville, Virginia
  • Shenandoah River – Luray, Virginia
  • Potomac River – Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

West

The western region of America’s river floating culture is greatly separated by north and south. Much like Texas, the Southwest feels far too similar to living on the sun during the summer. For states like Nevada and Arizona, floating a river seems as much as a means of survival as it is having fun. Salt River in Arizona is a popular spot for the people of Phoenix to cool off and also throw marshmallows at each other for reasons unbeknownst to myself.

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Similar to the Northeast, the Northwest suffers from weather that is too nice. They don’t have to agonize the torrential heat waves that the southern half of the US does so they can’t truly appreciate a river quite the same. That doesn’t mean they don’t know how to have a good time year-round however. In Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, patrons of the Fire and Ice Winterfest enjoy floating the frigid rapids of the snow melted water before jumping in the hot springs to warm up. Even in the summer time, floating is popular in places like Western Washington for the immense beauty of the Pacific Northwest, regardless of the uncomfortably cold temperatures.

Best Rivers to Float
  • Truckee River – Reno, NV
  • Salt River – Mesa, Arizona
  • Boulder Creek – Boulder, Colorado
  • Yampa River – Steamboat Springs, Colorado
  • Snake River – Blackfoot, Idaho
  • Portneuf River – Lava Hot Springs, Idaho
  • Green River – Auburn, Washington
  • Snoqualmie River – North Bend, Washington

Middle America

Regardless of their weather limitations, Midwesterners always seem to find a way to party. Similar to Texas, these people use floating a river as an excuse to have a good time, especially during the 4th of July. Thrillist describes the situation along the Meramec River in Missouri by stating;

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“If you’ve ever seen those Girls Gone Wild-type videos from the Lake of the Ozarks, that’s just the tip of the Missouri summer-partying iceberg. In a state with few laws about drinking on the water, floats down the Meramec are basically all-day parties with a lot of public nudity. Things got so out of hand at one point that authorities had to actually pass a law banning beer bongs on the water. Not beer mind you, just beer bongs. Party on, Missouri!”

Best Rivers to Float
  • Apple River – Somerset, Wisconsin
  • Root River – Lanesboro, Minnesota
  • Cannon River – Welch Mill, Minnesota
  • Middle Loup River – Sandhills region, Nebraska
  • Niobrara River – Valentine, Nebraska
  • Current River – Doniphan, Missouri
  • Meramec River – Meramec State Park, Missouri

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