A Totally "Tube"-ular Time in Asheville
799 words (4 min read)
July is a hot month in Asheville, and with all the heat, we’re lucky our rivers and mountains offer unique opportunities to chill out - literally and figuratively.One of the most popular summertime activities in Western North Carolina is tubing on the river. It’s the perfect pastime for relaxing on vacation, and it’s especially fun for families.
The tubing companies in town often offer kayaking, rafting, and other watersports, as well. All of them encourage and offer life jackets, and a few even offer cooler floats so you can bring snacks and drinks and make a whole day of it. Read on to learn about our favorite tubing companies.
With two locations in Asheville, you get your pick of where to park and enter the French Broad River: From South Asheville or the River Arts District. The South Asheville location offers free parking, with a shuttle that takes you 4 miles to the tubing start point. The lazy river float is 2 - 3 hours long, and along the way you’ll find islands, swimming areas, a picnic spot, and more. Shoes are required, and they recommend loading up on sunscreen, drinks, sunglasses, and a change of clothes to leave in the car for after the float. Children are welcome, as long as they’re at least 4 years old. Reservations are necessary, and can be made on the website.
Tube 3 miles on the French Broad River with family and friends, departing from the River Arts District location. Parking is free, and a shuttle will take you to the starting point. Cooler floats are available, and each tube has a cup holder for the 2-3 hour float. Make your reservation on the website, or show up if you hope to get lucky as a walk-up.
They also offer a 6-mile Biltmore Estate kayaking trip, where you can see the house and estate from the perspective of the river. Several other trips through the city by kayak or canoe are also available.
Sky Tubing is another local company that offers a leisurely ride down the French Broad. The average floating time is an hour-and-a-half to three hours, depending on the water level. A changing area and lodge with shaded picnic tables make it easy to spend an entire day by the river. Plus, their bright pink tubes are hard to miss on the water. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and reservations are strongly suggested by visiting the website.
Another weekend spot is Beer City Tubing. It’s great for a spur-of-the-moment trip, since this company does not accept reservations. They also don’t have cooler floats, but their floats do have a mesh bottom large enough to bring your cooler with you. They do prohibit glass or styrofoam, if you bring drinks and food. Although they don’t have lockers or a changing area, they do sell dry bags to keep all the stuff you don’t want to get wet. Expect a 2-3 hour trip, and bring friends, since they do offer carabiners to hook up groups.
A great resource to check before you go is the U.S. Geological Survey website. The USGS provides updated information about the quality of the water in the French Broad. For an easier-to-read and quick look at the specific location of your float, check out the Swim Guide website.
More July Fun
Fish For Free
The July 4th holiday marks Free Fishing Day in North Carolina. That means anybody can fish in any public body of water in the entire state without a license. Plus, the daily fishing fee in many locations is waived for the day. With so many choices around the mountains, it’s a good idea to pinpoint your new favorite fishing hole by searching the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s Fishing Access Guide. Search either by “Mountains” or refine it to Buncombe (the county Asheville is in), Henderson (the county just to the south), or Jackson (a county to the north of us with abundant fishing areas) counties.
Fourth of July Fireworks
A scaled-down July 4th celebration will take place in downtown Asheville at Pack Square Park. There will be music, portable bathrooms, water-bottle filling stations, and first aid stations, but no food or drink vendors. Bring your own blanket or chairs to watch the show.
Fireworks are not limited to Asheville, though. There are many displays in surrounding cities and locations this year. A helpful list can be found here.
Take a Dip
Still hot?? Take a dip in our pool! We keep it opened from dawn until dusk, and if you get too chilly, you can always switch to the hot tub or sit around the fire pit. Better yet, warm up by the fireplace in your suite.