During the summer, the beaches in California tend to quickly fill up with visitors far and wide. It also means traffic and parking are going to start getting more congested. All you want to do is enjoy your time with your family and having to sit in a hot car for a long time isn’t necessarily the most ideal way to start your vacation. This is why many people are drawn inland to find some solace away from the crowds.
Many adventurers will turn to whitewater rafting to quench their thirst for a fun watery activity. But for others, the experience might be a little too technical or simply isn’t their cup of tea. So what’s an alternative to riding the wild rapids of the river? River tubing is a fantastic way to still get out on the water, but do a lot more relaxing the entire time. When you go tubing, you will run into a few bumps and waves along the way, but it won’t ever be like facing off Class III+ rapids.
It’s also a great way for you to enjoy a long afternoon with friends or family without worrying about overcrowding either. So sit back, relax and discover some great options that are available!
For a truly scenic float, the Merced River will give you a run for your money. The three-mile stretch of water runs through the Yosemite National Park and offers numerous pit-stops for photo opportunities, a bit of stretching and shoreline picnics along the way.
The entire journey is an easy paddle that even beginners are more than capable of handling. Rental shops in the area provide gear like life jackets, helmets and the like to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.
For any outdoor activity like this also don’t forget about bringing the essentials with you but storing them properly in plastic bags inside of waterproof backpacks. The risk of losing belongings in calmer water is much lower than if you were whitewater rafting but you still want to take some precautions. Feel free to bring snacks, sunscreen, and water but maybe continue to keep expensive cameras and electronics at home!
Lower Middle Fork American River
This river, located within an hour drive from Sacramento, is perfect for a “lazy river” experience. You will encounter Class II rapids, which is defined as places in the water with smaller waves, and clear channels that are “obvious without scouting.” You’ll have to do a little more heavy lifting when it comes to moving along the water but it shouldn’t interrupt too much of your lounge time.
Companies like Raft California even offer guided tours to add a layer of adventure to your float. You’ll learn more about the history of the land and wilderness around in the process. And if you’re up for making your journey stretch through the weekend, you can also choose two-day package options to add in some camping and hiking.
Set against the backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Yuba River is an excellent choice the whole family will enjoy. It’s a setup that will let you enjoy hours of fun in the sun not only floating the river but also taking a dip to cool off too. The river naturally splits off into three different sections, each offering completely different experiences.
To stick to calmer waters, it’s best to float along either the North or middle sections for optimal tubing conditions. Campgrounds are also accessible from the river, but be sure to plan ahead to know when it’s time to head to the beach.
Experience the heart of wine country in California as you float along the Russian River. This popular destination can sometimes get crowded because the waters are much calmer and allow for a truly laidback experience. Nevertheless, it’s a river you don’t want to miss because of the picturesque scenery.
Not to mention the miles of green trees that seem to have to end on both sides of the river. Or the epic rock walls and rope swings that you have to try out for yourself. Bring extra tubs for drinks, food, and other essentials as well and make sure to tie it to yours to keep it with you to make it easier to pull out of the water during breaks.
Get Started On Your Summer
The possibilities are endless when it comes to river tubing. There are quite a few places to pick and lots of memories to make. Even though you’ll be faced with mostly calm waters, remember that the same rules apply for being out on the water. Bring only the most necessary items and leave valuables at home. Make sure you’ve also got enough water, snacks, and sunscreen for the events during the day.
Be aware of your surroundings as you head out on your tubing adventure as well! Try to stay in the middle of the river as much as possible and try to avoid rocks and large branches that can sometimes stick out. And when all else fails, ask your local rafting companies anything else you can think of for more information. They not only will help rent out gear but will help you feel more confident about your river trip. Stay safe and have a great time enjoying a float in California!