As far as smooth tubing goes, the Russian River is by far one of the most relaxed rivers on the West Coast. Average stream speed in the summer: a half-mile per hour, making it the perfect spot for an easy introduction to tubing and sipping. In addition to floating through the Redwood Forest, you can set up a private campsite along the river (if you’re feeling earthy), or enjoy a candlelit dinner at one of the countless restaurants in the area (if you’re feeling fancy).
Situated between Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, Stonycreek River is the ideal hidden gem for when you need to get away from the cramped cities for a long weekend. Twenty dollars covers your parking, the shuttle from the river, and your pick from a large selection of tubes to fit every mood and style. This is a great pace to enjoy nature and tube for miles down the steel heart of the country.
Frio River, Texas
If you’re a true Texan, you’re either watching, playing, or talking about football -- which means you may not have much tubing practice. Thankfully, the Frio River is the best place to get your feet wet for your first time. You can skip out on the overcrowded waters of Guadalupe and actually enjoy your time tubing. And if you and your friends want to toast to a successful floating experience, make sure you BYOB because this river is surrounded by “dry” areas.
Saco River, New Hampshire
If you’re looking to avoid the preppy college kids and hair-ripping traffic of Cape Cod -- and would rather soak up the sun with sand between your toes -- the Saco River in New Hampshire is the place to be. The one-mile float takes about 2.5 hours and the water is only 3ft deep, so it’s no biggie if you fall in. There are plenty of perks along the river, too: sandy beaches, giant rope swings, and a campsite to make a summer s’more.