Are you wondering where to go river tubing? Columbia, SC brings that famously hot (and humid!) South Carolina summer that’s perfect for a refreshing float down a river. Sounds great, but now you may be wondering, where are the places to go tubing near me? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some river tubing spots in Columbia, SC!
River Tubing is a Fun and Relaxing Way to Beat the Heat!
We do our best to stay relaxed and cooled off this time of year, which is no easy feat. One great way to beat the heat this summer is by taking a dip in one of the many rivers running through Columbia. And what better way to experience the river than floating down it in a tube?
River tubing has been a popular pastime in our city for a long time and for good reason! It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with friends and family while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Best Way to Go River Tubing: Columbia, SC
Columbia has several options for river-tubing. Whether you’re an experienced tuber, or looking for your first adventure, here are a couple of the best ways to go river tubing in Columbia, SC:
Tubing at Saluda Shoals Park
Saluda Shoals Park offers one of the best options for a beginner! This is my family’s favorite spot for a quick river outing. It’s such a convenient location with parking right near the launch ramp.
You enter Saluda Shoals at the main entrance and follow the signs for the boat ramp/river. When you arrive, there’s a small shack in the parking lot where you can rent tubes and pay for a shuttle service from the staff. The tube rental is $15 and it includes shuttle service. The shuttle service will follow you to the exit of the river in your car, and then shuttle you back to the launch ramp. That way when you exit the river your car is ready and waiting for you!
There’s usually a decent amount of people enjoying the river on a nice day so if you’re unsure of where to go just follow the crowd! It can take about 1 – 1.5 hours to float from the entrance to the exit, and if you’re lucky you’ll spot some adorable river otters on the way!
Here’s our Kidding Around Review of Saluda Shoals with more information about all the fun things this Columbia park offers.
Tubing at Palmetto Outdoors
If you’re looking for a more adventurous tubing experience, Palmetto Outdoors might be the choice for you!
Palmetto Outdoors offers a really great river tubing trip for different size groups, down the Lower Saluda River. They have an online scheduling service as well as a cash-only walk-up reservation! They make it super simple and fun to make a day of being on the river.
The 3-hour-long excursion ranges from the Riverbanks Zoo to the Gervais Street Bridge. This portion of the Saluda does contain class II rapids so children under 10 are not permitted.
Shuttle times are offered 7 days a week during their open season at the top of every hour from 10 am – 4 pm on Saturdays and 12 pm – 4 pm all other days. They meet you at the West Columbia Riverwalk with equipment ready to go.
The standard tube rental is $20 per person and this includes the shuttle service. There are several rental options so check out their website for more details!
Grab and Go Tube Rentals
Have another place you want to float on a tube? Palmetto Outdoors offers a grab-and-go option for $15. There’s no shuttle with this option, but you can take the tube wherever you’d like as long as you have it back by 7 pm.
Lake Murray is a popular spot to bring the tubes.
Canoe and Kayak
Palmetto Outfitters also offers kayak and guided tours! Paddle Congaree National Park with them or try a guided kayak trip to see Spider Lilies.
Plan Your Next River Tubing Adventure
River tubing is such a fun and unique way to discover the beauty of Columbia’s waterways. With multiple options for renting tubes and exploring the rivers, you’re sure to find an experience that works for you and your family!
If not, check out these tubing options in the Upstate and WNC area. These will make a totally awesome summer day trip.
No matter which option you choose, you can’t go wrong with spending some time outdoors getting some Vitamin D, and floating your worries away in a refreshingly cool river.
Do’s and Don’ts for River Tubing
- Do wear a life jacket. Most places include life jacket rentals but ask just in case. Don’t skip a life jacket, even if you’re a good swimmer.
- Do bring sunscreen and a hat.
- Do bring water shoes, bottled water, and snacks. Don’t bring things can’t lose, like jewelry, car keys, and cell phones.
- Do take along a long stick to use to maneuver the tube.
- Don’t bring alcohol – most places don’t allow it anyways.
- If a waiver is required, Do download and sign it in advance. This will save you time!
- Do read all the rules and regulations of whatever place you choose. They are all different.
- Do bring a towel and change of clothes that you can use after your trip.
Looking for more places to beat the heat? Here’s our giant list of places to splash and swim in Columbia, SC.