5 Within 50: Ride the Wave: Water Tubing Adventures

Prepare to beat the Georgia heat in style because we’re diving headfirst—well, riding feet first—into the ultimate summer adventure: water tubing. With average summer temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees, a few hours of river tubing when that summer sun is blazing bright is exactly the kind of experience we’re looking for. So, grab your sunscreen and shades because we’re about to dive into five water tubing adventures within driving distance of Atlanta that will give you some summer inspiration.

Shoot the Hooch in ATL
If you’re from Georgia, chances are, you’ve heard the phrase “shoot the hooch.” At this point, this may even be considered a rite of passage for ATL-iens. If you’re not sure what this means or wondering how to shoot the hooch, keep reading – you’re in the right place. Whether you BYOT (bring your own tube) or rent one from an outpost, Shooting the Hooch is a must-do experience.


Pro tip #1: Bring a floating cooler!

Pro tip #2: Bring two cars! Drop off one at the endpoint, and then drive everyone to the starting point.


Don White Memorial Park to Memorial Park: 1.5 miles, ~2-4 hours.*
*This is the most popular route and is often the most crowded.

Island Ford to Azalea Park: 3.5 miles, ~4-6 hours.

Powers Island to Paces Mill: 2.5 miles, ~3-5 hours.

Johnson Ferry to Paces Mill: 6 miles, ~5-7 hours.

These are rough time estimates and may vary depending on when you go due to crowds, water level, river flow, etc.

Chattahoochee River Tubing in Duluth
Locally owned and operated in Duluth since 2009, Chattahoochee River Tubing offers a relaxing, four-hour ride down the Chattahoochee via open tubes, closed tubes, or a one-person kayak. Keep an eye on their website, rivertubing.com, for information on pricing, opening dates, reservations and more. Last year, they offered a season pass for unlimited tubing, a free waterproof case and free sunglasses for just $80! Grab your besties, sunglasses and sunscreen and float on!

Whitewater Express in Columbus
If a relaxing float downriver at a slow pace isn’t quite your speed, then don’t worry, adventure and adrenaline lovers, we’ve got just the experience for you. With rapids perfect for families and beginners to some of the biggest whitewater in the eastern United States and Class 5 rapids, Whitewater Express Columbus has something for all thrillseekers. Did we mention that it is also the longest urban whitewater rafting park in the world? Choose between their most popular: the Classic Trip, the Challenge Trip, the Carnage Trip or even your own Inflatable Kayak Trip on a “ducky.” Not only is this the longest urban whitewater rafting park, but it also offers the only dual zip line in the United States that spans two states. For more information, visit chattahoochee.whitewaterexpress.com.

Cool River Adventures in Helen
Combine the beauty of the North Georgia mountains with the storybook charm of the Bavarian alpine village of Helen, Georgia, and you’ll get an unforgettable river tubing adventure that’s both aesthetic and rejuvenating. Cool River Tubing offers either a longer ride of 2-2.5 hours or a shorter ride lasting 1-1.5 hours. Both rides include a shuttle service for drop off and pick up. For only $14 on weekdays and $18 on Saturday and Sunday, you will get everything you need for your trip, including the tube and transportation. Traveling with your four-legged best friend? Cool River Tubing allows the option to rent your dog their own tube or keep them in your lap! Purchase your ticket at one of their three outposts or online in advance. Visit coolrivertubing.com for more information.

Nantahala Outdoor Center Outpost in Roswell
For almost half a century, Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) has taken more families whitewater rafting than any other adventure company in the Southeast and was recognized as “One of the Best Outfitters on Earth” by National Geographic. This list would be incomplete without mentioning NOC. Find the outpost in Roswell’s Azalea Park (203 Azalea Drive, Roswell, GA), providing easy access to the scenic Chattahoochee River. Not only do they offer kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, canoes and more, but this outpost also offers land-based exploration through bike and e-bike rentals through Azalea Park. This is a calm and gentle section of the Chattahoochee River, so you’ll enjoy a relaxing ride down the river suited for all skill levels.