River Tubing in the Georgia Mountains
A summertime trip to the Georgia mountains is the perfect time to enjoy a relaxing tubing trip in one of the beautiful North Georgia rivers. There are locations close to many of the mountain towns, and in Helen, GA you can actually float right through the middle of town on the Chattahoochee River!
Tubing North Georgia can be done in a shallow, slow-moving, narrow river or in wider, deeper rivers. If you have planned ahead, you can take your own raft and enjoy this activity anytime. However, you’ll need to take your gear and make sure that you have a ride back to your drop-in point, so it will help to have 2 cars available (one to park at the start of your trip and one to park at the end of your trip).
Continue reading to learn about tubing options in the Georgia mountains and how to prepare for your trip!
Map of Tubing in North Georgia
This interactive map can help you to find great tubing and river floats in North Georgia!
Tubing on the Rivers in the Georgia Mountains
For an option that involves less planning, you can choose to rent a raft from one of the tubing operators. The services offered can vary, but be sure to find out if your rental includes transportation back to your starting point.
Here are some of the places and businesses where you can rent rafts for tubing in the Georgia mountains.
Cartecay River Tubing near Ellijay
The Cartecay River land is mostly undeveloped, but the river does pass through residential developments. The headwaters of the Cartecay River begin in the Chattahoochee National Forest and are a great recreational river for kayaking, canoeing, and tubing.
Cartecay River Experience
This outfitter has everything you need for a fun day on the river, plus they allow those who have their own gear to park at their site! Shuttle service is available year-round (reservations required September – April). All ages are welcome.
This location in Ellijay is $13 cash ($16 credit card) and includes rental of tube and safety gear. Small (personal-sized) zippered coolers are allowed but they must fit inside the tube with you. No glass allowed.
Cartecay River Experience Contact Info
This Ellijay location is open year-round and hours may vary by season.
- Phone: +1 (706) 889-1108
- Address: 2400 Hwy 52 East, Ellijay, GA (the put-in is located at 1554 Lower Cartecay, Ellijay)
- Website: cartecayriverexperience.com
Cartecay River Experience Reviews
- Facebook: Cartecay River Experience has 5,400+ followers
- TripAdvisor: Cartecay River Experience is rated 4.0 with 150+ reviews
In addition to tubing, kayak rentals are also available.
Chattahoochee River Tubing in Helen
The section of the Chattahoochee River in Helen is one of the narrowest and shallowest options for a leisurely river float. These trips feel a little different than most of the others as this twists right through the middle of the Alpine village of Helen.
The water is calm and relatively shallow, with rocks along the river and on the bottom of the riverbed. Expect to occasionally float into a rock and need to push off of it to continue floating downstream. The amount of recent rain will affect the water level of the river, and if the weather has been dry, it will take a little more work to continue downstream. There are a couple of swimming holes with water deeper than 5′, but the area is mostly shallow water.
This stretch of the river can get very busy, so get there early to avoid the crowds. Dogs are welcome to float along with you.
Cool River Tubing
The company with the green tubes has 2 outposts where you can choose the length of your trip (if the water level is low, then the shorter run is recommended). This is the only option for shorter tubing trips in Helen.
The cost for all-day tubing is $14 on weekdays or $18 on weekends. Group rates are available for 20+ people. Tubing is available to children ages 3+. Dogs are welcome.
There is a picnic pavilion with tables and grills, as well as a cafe with seating on the deck overlooking the river. No coolers, cans, glass, or alcohol. Must wear shoes (flip-flops are not allowed).
There is also a single waterslide available for an additional $5 (must be at least 42″ tall). Push sticks are available to purchase for $5 and are highly recommended. Reservations are recommended.
Cool River Tubing Contact Info
Cool River Tubing is open 7 days per week from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Hours are generally from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, weather permitting. Call to inquire about hours during other seasons.
- Phone: +1 (706) 878-2665
- Headquarters: 112 Poplar Stump Road, Helen, GA
- Mainstreet Booth: 8600 North Main St, Helen, GA
- Chattahoochee Outpost: 590 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen, GA
- Website: coolrivertubing.com
Cool River Tubing Reviews
- Facebook: Cool River Tubing is rated 4.5 with 2,250+ reviews and 26,000+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Cool River Tubing is rated 4.5 with 1,000+ reviews
- Ranked #1 for Boat Tours & Water Sports in Helen
In addition to tubing, there are also ziplines, a climbing wall, and aerial adventure courses at Cool River Adventures.
Helen Tubing and Waterpark
Enjoy Chattahoochee River tubing in pink rental tubes and the only rental tubes in Helen that include headrests! The cost for one trip is approx $15 per person on weekdays and $19 per person on weekends and holidays. Push sticks are available to purchase for $5 and are highly recommended.
Children ages 2+ who are able to walk and wear a life vest are allowed to tube. Dogs are allowed to go tubing too! No coolers, cans, glass, or alcohol. Must wear shoes (flip-flops are not allowed).
For additional summer fun in the water, be sure to also visit the Helen Water Park featuring 4 waterslides and a lazy river!
Helen Tubing and Waterpark Contact Info
This business is seasonal and hours vary depending on the time of year. However, typical summer hours are 9 am – 5 pm. A military discount of 10% is available (show ID at the counter to receive).
- Phone: +1 (706) 878-7465
- Address: 222 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen, GA
- Website: helenwaterpark.com
Helen Tubing and Waterpark Reviews
- Facebook: Helen Tubing and Waterpark is rated 3.8 with 3,375+ reviews and 90,000+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Helen Tubing and Waterpark is rated 4.0 with 550+ reviews
Chestatee River Tubing near Dahlonega
The Chestatee River is an excellent beginner’s river with an easy float experience near the former gold-rush town of Dahlonega.
This group offers a “short but fun” tubing float on the Chestatee River, just outside of Dahlonega. Tubing trips will take about 30 to 45 minutes, but if you would like more time to float, you may take the return shuttle or an easy 10-minute nature trail back to the start to float again.
The cost is $8 per person for gear rental plus one shuttle ride (additional shuttles are $3 each). The minimum age for children is 4 years old. Dogs are also welcome. No coolers, glass, or alcoholic beverages are allowed.
Reservations can be made for groups of 10+, otherwise, trips are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Appalachian Outfitters Contact Info
Appalachian Outfitters has summer hours available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
- Phone: +1 (706) 867-7116
- Address: 1182 Golden Ave, Dahlonega, GA
- Website: canoegeorgia.com/tubing
Appalachian Outfitters Reviews
- Facebook: Appalachian Outfitters: Dahlonega GA is rated 4.9 with 175+ reviews and 4,525+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Appalachian Outfitters is rated 4.5 with 75+ reviews
Additional activities at Appalachian Outfitters include kayaking and canoeing.
Chestatee River Adventures
This float experience on the Chestatee River is one of the few places where there is no shuttle bus available to return to your start point. However, it is also the most affordable tube rental in the Georgia mountains, at only $5 per tube. Military and student discounts are available.
The float lasts about 20 – 25 minutes, and then there is a 10-minute walk back to the shop (or you can re-enter the river at 1 of 3 places and float back down to the exit point). Available for children ages 4 and up. Dogs are welcome. Reservations are available and are suggested.
Chestatee River Adventures Contact Info
Chestatee River Adventures has summer hours available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
- Phone: +1 (770) 540-9950
- Address: 2718 South Chestatee/Hwy 60, Dahlonega, GA
- Website: chestateeriveradventures.com/tube-trips.html
Chestatee River Adventures Reviews
- Facebook: Chestatee River Adventures is rated 5.0 with 75+ reviews and 2,825+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Chestatee River Adventures is rated 5.0 with 25+ reviews
- Ranked #1 for Outdoor Activities in Dahlonega
Kayak rentals are also available.
Ellijay River Tubing near Ellijay
The beautiful waters of the Ellijay River run through the mountains in and around the city of Ellijay, merging with the Cartecay River to form the Coosawattee River. Kids and adults will both enjoy a tube trip down the river.
Ellijay River Outfitters
There are 2 options for river floating with Ellijay River Outfitters. The 1-mile trip is slow lazy river floating, and while it is recommended that you know how to swim for the short trip, it is required for the longer 3-mile trip. Prices are $12 for the 1-mile (approx 1 hour) trip and $23 for the 3-mile trip (approx 3 – 5 hours). Groups of 10+ are eligible for a discount with prepayment.
You can bring your own equipment and park for free, but note that there is a small fee for the shuttle service. Coolers are welcome and can sit in a tube (link the tubes for easy access / to maintain control). No glass or alcohol is allowed on the river (county regulation).
Ellijay River Outfitters Contact Info
Ellijay River Outfitters has summer hours available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
- Phone: +1 (706) 889-8697
- Address: 88 Holt Bridge Rd, Ellijay, GA
- Website: tubeellijay.com
Ellijay River Outfitters Reviews
- Facebook: Ellijay River Outfitters is rated 4.8 with 50+ reviews and 5,575+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Ellijay River Outfitters is rated 4.5 with 50+ reviews
In addition to tubing, kayak rentals are also available. They also offer an excellent location for fishing (be sure to bring your fishing license with a trout stamp)!
Toccoa River Tubing near Blue Ridge & McCaysville
The scenic Toccoa River is nestled in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains and is great for a relaxing day of floating on calm waters. These trips are ideal for families with smaller children (ages 5+) that are too young for whitewater rafting on the Ocoee. The Toccoa river is actually the headwaters of Tennessee’s famous Ocoee River but changes its name to the Toccoa River when it crosses the line into Georgia.
The Toccoa River water flow is regulated by Tennessee Valley Authority. Water levels will vary depending on the water released and therefore there are no guarantees of the amount of time it will take to float the river on a tube or a kayak (float times vary based on the water flow each day). The depth of the water changes from place to place in the river and there may be small rapids and rocks along the way. Trips are suitable for most people who can swim.
Blue Ridge Tubing
This Toccoa River float is approximately an hour and a half long. Children ages 4+ may float. No reservations are required. Cost is $12 per person and includes float, life jacket, and shuttle to the drop-off point.
Coolers are welcome until 3 pm. The last float of the day is at 5 pm.
Blue Ridge Tubing Contact Info
Blue Ridge Tubing has summer hours available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
- Phone: +1 (706) 851-7901
- Address: 8436 Aska Road, Blue Ridge, GA
- Website: brtubing.com
Blue Ridge Tubing Reviews
- Facebook: Blue Ridge Tubing is rated 5.0 with 10+ reviews and 975+ likes
Rolling Thunder River Company
All equipment rentals include transportation and life jackets. The 1.5-mile trip takes about 1.5 hours and is $12 per person (note that they no longer offer the 3-mile trip). Coolers are allowed (rent a tube for your cooler!), however, no alcohol or glass containers are allowed on the river. Proper-fitting shoes are required (flip-flops are allowed).
Available to everyone ages 5 and up, but if the TVA releases water on any given day resulting in a swift water situation, the minimum age may be increased.
No reservations are required except for groups of 15+.
Rolling Thunder River Company Contact Info
Rolling Thunder River Company has summer hours available from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Weekend trips may also be available in other seasons.
- Phone: +1 (706) 492-5720
- Address: 20 Hughes Street, McCaysville, GA (directions)
- Website: rollingthunderriverco.com
Rolling Thunder River Company Reviews
- TripAdvisor: Rolling Thunder River Company is rated 5.0 with 2,575+ reviews
- Ranked #1 for Things to Do in McCaysville
Additional river activity rentals at Rolling Thunder River Company include kayaking.
The Paddle Zone
TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS
Enjoy a 3-hour float on the Toccoa River from the start at Tammen Park to the finish at Curtis Switch. Rentals include tube, paddle, and shuttle service back to the start point. Choose daily or weekly rentals of kayaks, paddleboards, inflatable docks, coolers, and waterproof Bluetooth speakers!
No dogs or glass containers are allowed. Military and First Responders receive a 5% discount on rentals.
The Paddle Zone Contact Info
The Paddle Zone rental shop is currently closed while undergoing renovations. The rental shop is expected to open in Spring 2023.
- Phone: +1 (309) 635-2202
- Website: bestpaddleboardkayakrentals.com/tubing
The Paddle Zone Reviews
- Facebook: The Paddle Zone is rated 5.0 with 10+ reviews and 1,225+ likes
- TripAdvisor: The Paddle Zone is rated 5.0 with 5+ reviews
- Ranked #1 for Transportation in Blue Ridge
All equipment rentals include transportation and life jackets. The 1.5-mile trip is $11 per person and the minimum age is 5. Coolers are allowed, and you can even rent a tube for your cooler, however, no alcohol or glass containers are allowed on the river. No reservations are required.
Toccoa Tubing Contact Info
- Phone: +1 (706) 492-5280
- Address: 340 Toccoa Avenue, McCaysville, GA (directions)
- Website: toccoatubing.com
Toccoa Tubing Reviews
- Facebook: Toccoa Tubing Tubing Company is rated 4.9 with 50+ reviews and 2,900+ likes
- TripAdvisor: Toccoa River Adventures is rated 4.5 with 75+ reviews
Toccoa Valley Campground
This location in Blue Ridge is $12 and includes rental of the tube, transportation, and life jackets. Group rates are available for 25+ people (paid in advance). Both the entrance and exit points are owned by Toccoa Valley Campground.
The pink tubes are equipped with bottoms and handles and come in 2 sizes (48” regular size and 54” larger size tubes).
No alcohol is permitted. Closed on Sunday.
Toccoa Valley Campground Contact Info
- Phone: +1 (706) 838-4317
- Address: 11481 Aska Road, Blue Ridge, GA
- Website: toccoavalleycampground.com
Toccoa Valley Campground Reviews
- Facebook: Toccoa Valley Campground is rated 4.9 with 675+ reviews
- TripAdvisor: Toccoa Valley Campground is rated 5.0 with 150+ reviews
In addition to camping options, other river activities/rentals at Toccoa Valley Campground include rafting and kayaking.
Closed Tubing Locations in North Georgia
There used to be a few more places to rent a tube and head out on the water. These locations provided some great memories in the past, but are no longer offering river floats.
- Coosawattee River Tubing Co in Ellijay, GA
- Shallowford Bridge Tubing in Blue Ridge, GA
- Toccoa Wilderness Tubing in Blue Ridge, GA
- Van Zandt’s in Blue Ridge, GA
- The grill and grocery are still open, but this location no longer offers tube or kayak rentals
Gear for Tubing on the Rivers in North Georgia Mountains
When you choose to use a rental service for tubing, then you’ll be provided with a float/tube, a life jacket (children 12 and under are required to wear them), and a shuttle ride to either the start or endpoint. However, you’ll also need to make sure that you have the right gear for your party to have the most enjoyable experience.
Clothing for River Floats
Quick Dry Clothing
Clothing that dries quickly will help to keep you comfortable during your tubing trip and while getting back to the changing area. Avoid fabrics that are heavy when they are wet (like denim and jeans) and opt for lightweight clothing that will dry quickly.
Many of the rivers have rocky bottoms, and there may be other hazards at the bottom like old fishing hooks. Be on the safe side and wear a pair of water shoes to help with traction on slippery surfaces and to keep your feet protected.
The summer sun in Georgia can be brutal, and the water may reflect and enhance the effects. Take along a good hat for protection from the sun on your skin and eyes.
A great pair of polarized sunglasses will reduce glare and allow you to see crisper detail in outdoor environments, but this is very pronounced when you’re looking into the water. Take along a pair of polarized glasses and see how many fish you can find underwater that are swimming along beside you while you float.
Sunglass Strap and Case – Designed by a Georgia Entrepreneur!
You will definitely need sunglasses for a sunny day on the water, but you also want to keep your shades protected from damage when they are not being worn. Protect your glasses with the innovative Glasskin case made by a local Georgia company, baggual.
Safety Gear for River Floats
Life Jackets / Personal Floatation Devices
Although adults are not required to wear a life vest when floating on these rivers, it is still a good idea. Children 12 and under are required to wear life vests, so make sure to have a US Coast Guard-approved device for everyone in your group.
Make sure to protect your skin before heading out on the water. Apply before the start of your trip and consider taking extra for reapplying if you are allowed to carry more on your trip. Look for waterproof sunscreens as you will certainly be getting wet!
Fun Extras for Your River Float
Waterproof Smartphone Case
These cases allow you to take your phone with you and use it while it’s still in the case… You can even take photos underwater! The lanyard neck strap will help you keep it safe from slipping out of your hand.
Waterproof Dry Bag
A great way to carry small towels or other items you’ll want to keep dry.
Some places are very strict about what they allow to be taken on the water, but most will allow a 32-ounce water bottle that should allow you to carry enough water / Gatorade to stay hydrated during your trip.
A handful of places do allow coolers on the float trips and will even let you rent a tube that is specifically for your cooler to float. Pack enough for everyone and enjoy the day with your own cooler full of goodies (make sure to obey all outfitter rules and local laws).
Other Tips for a Great Tubing Trip
Remember to take the proper required safety gear and if you are doing a trip with your own gear, then always have a buddy to go with you and let someone know where you are. If you are floating on a section of a river that is subject to upstream water releases, be sure to check in advance so that you can anticipate any changes in the water. Be very careful about where you jump into the water. Diving in headfirst can cause serious injury so it’s best to avoid this. Be aware that wet rocks both above and below the surface are very slippery. Use caution when walking across any rocks.
For anyone who wants a faster trip down a scenic river, read more about White Water Rafting in North Georgia.
Hopefully, you’ve found a good option for your group to try tubing / floating on one of the scenic rivers in the North Georgia mountains. It is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend the afternoon on a hot summer day, as it is relaxing, refreshing, and most of all, a whole lot of fun!
Actually, my favorite thing is to travel. I love to travel around waterfalls and rivers. Because you can definitely take a bath and play water sports. I have traveled a lot in connection with the river. But I haven’t been to Georgia yet. But Georgia is a must go place. There are very beautiful rivers. Also, I love these Ellijay river outfitters. I will bookmark this post. Keep posting like this.
Hi Pasindu, It’s the perfect time of year to visit North Georgia for river tubing! Enjoy your float down the river!!
I am ready for vacation to start! I took a look through your site and found the information very helpful for planning my trip to North Georgia this summer. I think we’re going to stay in a cabin but I do want to go to Helen and tube through town on the Chattahoochee. Thank you for the Georgia tubing info!
Hi Will, The river float through Helen on the Chattahoochee is a relaxing trip through the small mountain town. Enjoy!!
North Georgia has some amazing places to visit. i would love to have a go on one of those tubes and surf the river rapids. Unfortunatel though, im on the other side of the pond at the moment, so its a little bit far for me this summer. But Georgia mtns are definitely on my Must Visit list so hopefully ill be there next year!
I think it’s great that you’re doing so much advance planning for your visit! Enjoy your summer!
This looks like such a cool and relaxing activity. Just floating down a river. Are no paddles needed? I would love to do this, just to unwind. I also like that some of these places allow dogs. In some photos I can see that there are lots of people floating on some rivers. Doesn’t such a high amount of river tubing cause collissions even if such collissions can’t really do much damage but still, I was wondering about it. That’s probably why alcohol isn’t allowed 😉
Hi Christine, On busy days and especially in the smaller sections of the rivers, there will definitely be some natural bumping into other rafts along your float. These are gentle and the rafts can easily handle them. A paddle or a stick can come in handy to provide help with steering and navigation, but they are usually an optional choice for these easy river floats.
River tubing is something my children especially have enjoyed. It can be a lot of fun in a slow-moving river especially. Northern GA is a beautiful mountainous area with many beautiful places to tube. I live right across the border in TN and am familiar with some of the places you describe.
Some of these excursions go through more rapid water that probably would not be for me – I am past the age of adventure and more the slow river type!
I am amazed at all the information on this website – there are so many places it would be difficult to know which to pick!
Hi Dave, Most of these North Georgia “river tubing” trips are for those who prefer a slower trip in more gentle waters. The rivers just across the border in TN and NC are where you’ll find the bigger rapids and white water rafting options.
As far as which one to choose — I think you would enjoy any of the trips and it might be helpful to pick whichever one is located closest to other places you are visiting or where you will be staying.
You spelt it out, there is a need for the right gear for a wonderful tubing experience. Although rentals will provide the basic like float tube and life jacket. But you must ensure that you have the right gear. Also I love your emphasizes on quick dry cloth. Not just any thing but what is useful and that ensures comfort
River tubing is such a great way to have fun on the water, but it’s amazing how a few key pieces of the right equipment can make you feel like a total pro!
Another great article and even more great ideas for a full day on the river! I have gone tubing in the winter more often than the summer and this year I would love to try tubing in the summer! With this current pandemic going on, the best thing to do is to be outdoor in nature, with the correct precautions, of course.
Again, I would love to visit Georgia one day but I am going to look for options here in Ontario where I live to see where I could plan a trip on the river. You have some great options listed with awesome tips as well. Thank you!
Hi Sasha, Thank you so much! Most locals here will find the water and the temperature outside too cold for tubing in the Winter, but how fun that Canadians are tough enough to enjoy those extremes and go tubing in cold weather!!
I hope you find some good local options until you can visit North Georgia and experience an easy trip on the river in the warmth of the summer sun.
River tubing is so much fun and reading this post brought back so many memories of going down the river in a vehicle tyre on a family property when I was a teenager and early adulthood. You have listed so many fabulous opportunities of tubing in the Georgia mountains, that it will be hard to choose just one.
Tubing down a river is also a great way to see an area that you might not see when hiking or driving. Great tp to make sure that you have transport back to where you started.
River tubing is definitely a classic summertime activity in the south! It’s wonderful to have a wide variety of choices of smaller, slower rivers and some with larger flows too!
Any idea where you can self-serve tube?
What a fantastic option to explore when choosing a safe river to do tubing. In any river we are to use, it is advisable to wear life jacket,water shoes and other saftey wears to prevent one from unforseen accident. All these rivers in the Georgia Mountains are eye catching and great. It used to be fun when I go tubing with many people. It used to be a great experience. I like the fact that children are also given access to enter some of the rivers. Coosawatte river turbing might seem expensive than the rest , but I want to explore this section of Georgia Mountains. Thanks for this collection.
The prices can be quite different, but it’s good to know that there is an option for only $5 all day (Chestatee River Adventures near Dahlonega, GA). Enjoy your trip!
I have fallen in love with the Georgia mountain already that I just keep coming for more information about this place. So much fun activities thay can be done at really cheap bills. My daughter loves tubing alot especially with a balanced tide, not fast nor slow. She would certainly have a good time doing this. I just want to keep learning more about this place.
The best way to learn more about the Georgia mountains (and tubing in the rivers) is to experience it firsthand! 🙂 Hope you all are able to visit again soon!!
Thanks for a great article about tubing in the Georgia Mountains. You explain here very well about tubing in the rivers, especially whoever never have any tubing before they will get all those knowledge. Not only that they can get resources and ideas (by your recommendation) which they needed for tubing . My younger brother loves to go tubing. Whenever I got any mew your idea I always shared with him. I think this time when he gets this he will be amazed.
Thanks so much for sharing!
Hello alyce. Thank you so much for bringing up so much ideas on what to do in the Georgia mountains. Honestly this summer would’ve been really bad if it weren’t for you. I definitely will try tubing before I leave although its going to be my first time I’m happy you have added all the gears I’ll be needing and tips too. Thanks again.
Hi Henderson, It’s easy to find fun things to do in the Georgia mountains. I’m happy that I was able to help connect you with some of them!!
I cannot seem to remember the last time I went on an adventurous activity such as tubing. Though it surely is a very fun experience but when work comes calling, one has to neglect all but thankfully, I and my wife would be heading back to Georgia this October for the oktoberfest (not sure the name), we might as well book a half day adventure to enjoy the tubing experience. Thanks
You all will definitely have a great time at Oktoberfest, and there are a few places that still offer tubing on the weekends after the summer season (ends Labor Day).
Thank you so much for this amazing post. We have a business trip coming up in Atlanta and I think we are going to add on some extra time and check out some of these tubing adventures. We’ve already have all the right gear because tubing is popular in our home area. The prices you’ve found are really good and there’s some really gorgeous looking places to explore and experience here. Looking forward to exploring some of the Georgia Mountains! Cheers.
Atlanta is very close to the mountains — only about an hour drive away from Dahlonega and the Chestatee River tubing options. Visiting the mountains is definitely a nice retreat after spending time in the city. Have a great trip!!