8 Great American Tubing Adventures with Fido

Posted by Billy Francis

Tubing⁠ is the delicate art of sitting in a rubber ring and allowing the river’s current to guide you. It’s one of the most relaxing and serene activities you can do on the water, as it requires no noisy motors, almost no exertion on your part, and only one relatively inexpensive piece of equipment. Small wonder that companies all over the country offer tubing trips down picturesque stretches of river. Tubes are so durable nowadays they could even withstand, say... a dog’s sharp claws. Check out these eight pawsome tubing adventures where Fido can float with you.

Cool River Tubing

Helen, GA
“You didn’t say anything about rapids!” Photo by Facebook.com/CoolRiverTubing

Way down yonder on the Chattahoochee, it gets hotter than a poochie tubing. Nestled among the Appalachians, Cool River Tubing can be found on the outskirts of the Bavarian-themed town of Helen, GA. Due to the mountain location, the water in the river is often cool and refreshing. The company offers dog-friendly floats of 1.5 and 2.5 hours. Hold tight to Fido during the mini rapids on both trips. Smaller pups are welcome to sit on your lap to glide down the river, while larger dogs can ride their own tube with a bottom for free! Your tubing adventure either begins or ends with a ride in a dog-friendly bus up the river or back.

For a taste of the southern hospitality that Georgia is famed for, visit Helen’s Country Cafe before you leave this Bavarian wonderland. Located a short walk up the high street, dogs are treated to a bowl of water and a plate of eggs on the outdoor deck at this classic eatery.

Lions Club Tube Rental

San Marcos, TX
"We make tubing look glamorous." Photo by Lucy

The San Marcos River sprouts to life in this historic Texas city. Maintaining an inviting 72 degrees year-round, the water provides relief from the sun’s beating heat. Lions Club Tube Rental operates tube rentals and a shuttle from pet-friendly Rio Vista Park. There’s some excitement to be had before you head off on your hour-long lazy river cruise with your pooch. At the park, the river flows into three chutes known as Rio Vista Falls. Shooting down the falls in a tube is one of the most popular activities during the summer months. After your river adventure, dry Fido off and stop by the Railyard Bar & Grill in San Marcos for a bite on the pet-friendly patio.

Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe

Bend, OR
“What do you mean, relax? I’m walking on water!” Photo by BringFido

Bend is one of the most pet-friendly cities in Oregon. Full of gorgeous trails, funky breweries and boutiques that welcome dogs, this small town leaves a big paw print. Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe invites you and your pooch to see Bend’s stunning natural beauty on a tubing trip down the Deschutes River. If Fido is desperate for a dip after a couple of hours of floating on the water, take a stroll to nearby Riverbend Dog Park, a fully fenced area where he can swim off leash. After rewarding your pup, treat yourself to a nice cold brew. The Bend Ale Trail allows leashed dogs to join their owners as they tour the many world-class breweries around town. Pick up a passport and collect stamps for each beer you purchase for a chance to win awesome swag.

Smoky Mountain River Rat

Townsend, TN
Did somebody order a tUber? Photo by @photodogfun

Pigeon Forge isn’t the only destination in the Smokies that provides fun for the whole family. Smoky Mountain River Rat is just a short drive away, offering two- and four-legged visitors the chance to spend a day on the Little River together. Their shuttle service will take you up the river so you can tube back down on the calm, shaded waters, with a stretch of mini rapids along the way to add a little excitement to the trip. Dogs are welcome to hop in their own tube or float on your lap. The calmer tours that are suitable for dogs depart from Outpost A, taking approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. Up the road from River Rat is Apple Valley Mountain Village Mountain Store. This pet-friendly store sells everything from quilts to hiking supplies and even provides treats for canine customers. Refuel at the Dancing Bean Coffee House next door before hopping on the 10-mile trail that winds through Townsend and circles back to the store.

S & B Tubing

Albany, WI
We had a sweet time tubing the Sugar River. Photo by @ohcuuuuute

The Sugar River is as sweet as it sounds. Lined with shady trees and boasting pristine waters thanks to numerous cleanup projects in recent years, this picturesque tributary has fast become a model tubing destination in rural Wisconsin. S & B Tubing provides an alternative tubing experience for adventurous canines. Your pup can travel by your side atop an upside-down cooler tube! The wooden base gives Fido a flat surface to stand on as you float along the calm waters. If he’s small enough, he can chill out on your lap instead. The shuttle bus can be a squeeze, so only bring your dog if he enjoys being around humans and other furry friends. After exploring the water from the river, enjoy its beauty from the land on the Sugar River State Trail. This National Recreation Trail stretches 24 miles through pretty farmland, woods, rolling hills and over 14 trestle bridges, offering a different perspective of the river from above.

Palmetto Outdoors

Columbia, SC
Nothing beats tubing with your best friends. Photo by Facebook.com/palmettooutdoors

Located on the Congaree River in Columbia, Palmetto Outdoors offers a deluxe pet-friendly tubing package. The wide river is the perfect destination for big groups, especially if you’re floating on the company’s self-proclaimed “Cadillacs of the River.” These top-shelf tubes are large enough to fit a big pup and are lined with mesh on the bottom, so your dog’s paws will stay firmly on board. Trips take around 3 to 3.5 hours and cover 2 miles, depending on the water levels and weather. After cruising in your Cadillac, enjoy a bite to eat in beautiful wooded surroundings on the patio at Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro.

Shanty Tubes

Canyon Lake, TX
Two for the price of fun. Photo by Facebook.com/shantytubes1

Thanks to the ever-changing flow from the Canyon dam turbines, the Guadalupe River in Texas is a hugely popular tubing destination. Shanty Tubes offers two tubing tours along the idyllic and refreshing waters of the Guadalupe. Hop in the shuttle with your pup and get dropped off next to the Horseshoe Loop section. This tubing journey lasts between 1.5 to 2 hours and takes you down a section of the river lined with a variety of native trees and unusual cliffs formed by erosion. Tubers who aren’t fully satisfied when they come to the end of their first trip can go around again for no extra charge. Alternatively, you can continue on to the 4th Crossing Bridge. This extended leg can take up to four hours to reach the pickup point. The last thing you want to do after an epic voyage like this is to eat a soggy sandwich from the cooler. Treat yourself to delicious Italian cuisine from nearby Gennaro’s Trattoria instead. They love pups and have a number of outdoor tables with views of Texas Hill country.

Montana Whitewater Rafting Co.

Gardiner, MT
“Man, tubing is hard work!” Photo by @mtwhitewater

Montana’s landscape is dominated by vast open prairies, mountain peaks, picturesque ranch towns and huge skies. The area surrounding Yellowstone National Park in Gardiner captures the essence of the state. You and your pooch are invited to explore its natural beauty on a tubing trip down Madison River with Montana Whitewater Rafting Co.. Despite it being a mountain river, the waters of the Madison are surprisingly warm, often more than 70 degrees in the summer, and the surrounding hilly landscape make it the ideal location for a relaxing float. The journey lasts anywhere from two to four hours. Dogs are welcome to sit in a tube with a mesh bottom and a PVC outer cover that allows renters to easily wipe off the dog hair before returning it.

While you’re here, explore the quintessential western town of Gardiner. You might even bump into a gang of elk while sightseeing! Many of the small family-owned businesses around town are accommodating to pet owners. Dine out on the pet-friendly patio of Cowboy Lodge and Grille, a little eatery with a lovely view of the surrounding mountains.

Taking Fido to the river? Give tubing together a try and let us know what you think. Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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