Last week was the first time in 10 years I had gone tubing! We were coming from Green Cove in Virginia but opted to go tubing in Boone so a high school friend could join us. We went to Wahoo Adventures which is actually in Todd and had a great time. Pro tip: Don’t plan on having cell service there!
We didn’t make reservations and just showed up on a Thursday. They had space for us, but I would recommend making a reservation as they could easily sell out, especially on a weekend or holiday. If you find yourself in this situation, try River Girl Fishing right down the road.
Whether you reserve your spot or not, expect the check in process to be lengthy. There was a big group in front of us and the liability waiver and payment processes were inefficient and slow. It was probably 45 minutes from our time of arrival to when we actually climbed onto the shuttle. Just know that every adult participating has to fill in the form completely in front of the staff. They would not allow me to fill in a form for my husband and have him come just to sign it.
The wait wasn’t a problem for us since we could wade in the river directly in front of our cars. The river there is beautiful, calm, and there isn’t much traffic going by.
Pricing as of July 2017 is:
- Standard tube single run – $20
- Standard tube all day – $25
- Premium tube single run – $25
- Premium tube all day – $30
- All day cooler tube – $10
- Shuttle (bring your own tube) – $10
The premium tubes have a back, cupholder, and floor. They are ideal for older tubers who need more support and for small children who want to sit in the tube without getting wet. We booked 2 premium tubes for the grandmas in the group, but one of them was quickly commandeered by my 2-year-old son.
We booked a standard tube each for everyone else in the family. This was overkill and we ended up abandoning one of them before we even got in the water. Neither of my kids (2 and 3) could use a standard tube on their own. You’re better off either ordering them a premium or planning to share.
We also booked a cooler tube which worked great. We tied it to one of the other tubes and enjoyed a lovely picnic mid-way through our float.
The shuttle driver had plenty of rope and happily tied the tubes together in whatever combinations we wanted.
Last time I went tubing, we started in the river by the store and ended up catching the shuttle back to our cars. Wahoo Adventures is set up so you take the shuttle first and end up back at the parking lot. This is definitely the way to go since you’ll get any waiting out of the way while you’re still dry.
Before we got underway the guide gave us instructions on what to do if we fell out. His instructions were to stand up. The New River doesn’t get deep enough in this area to cover a standing adult and there are no undercurrents. The children all wore lifejackets, but it was about as safe as floating in a pool, and a whole lot more fun!
My daughter immediately jumped out of the float and “swam” back and forth between various floats before wearing herself out and climbing soaking wet onto my lap. My son dipped his toes in a couple times but never worked up the nerve to actually jump in!
The whole trip back to the parking lot took about 3 hours. We quickly lost the people who had taken the shuttle with us and had the river to ourselves for most of the float.
The river in this area has a minor road running by it, but the only cars we saw were infrequent and mostly carrying groups of tubers!
The hardest section is a low bridge where you have to float under on your back along the right bank. If the water level was higher we may have had to get out and walk around it! It was very easy to navigate and I wouldn’t let it discourage anyone thinking about tubing here.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to go tubing with young children, it definitely is! We had a 15-month-old, a 2.5-year-old, and an almost 4-year-old. They all had a blast! The best part is they were naturally contained so the grownups got to have full conversations without pausing to run after anyone. My daughter did swim between tubes some, but she had a life jacket, and we were always within diving distance, so we didn’t worry about actually keeping our hands on her at all times.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it to go through a company versus bringing your own tubes, that’s something more to think about. Personally, I think having the shuttle drop us off was worth the money. If you live in the Boone area though, you may want to invest your $20 in a new tube and figure out the logistics of drop off and pick up. It’s definitely an instance where you are only paying for the convenience.
Have you been tubing in Boone? Any recommendations on places to go in Northern California? I have the bug now!