River tubing in Virginia is the perfect way to cool down during the dog days of summer, while also exploring some of the state’s most beautiful rivers.
River Tubing in Virginia Guide
- New River Outdoor Adventures (Galax)
- New River Junction (Blacksburg)
- Clinch River Life (Duffield)
- Clinch River Adventures (Saint Paul)
- Twin River Outfitters (Buchanan)
- Riverside Outfitters (Richmond)
- Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (Purcellville)
- Shenandoah River Outfitters (Luray)
- Shenandoah River Adventures (Shenandoah)
- Virginia Outdoor Center (Fredericksburg)
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Staunton VA
Tubing on the New River
1. New River Outdoor Adventures
5785 Fries Road, Galax VA • (276) 237-8823
The New River is a very special place. Far from “new,” it’s actually the oldest river in North America, and the second oldest river in the world (after the Nile)!
This river is formed by two streams flowing down from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, ultimately converging four miles from the Virginia state border.
Notice anything strange about that description? The New River actually flows northward rather than southward, like most other major rivers in the Eastern USA.
Jackets and rope are included in the price of the river tube rental, and there’s an option to rent a cooler tube to keep your refreshments cold.
They also offer other outdoor activity options, including canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and camping.
2. New River Junction
2591 Big Falls Road, Blacksburg VA • (540) 639-6633
Located about 15 minutes from Blacksburg VA (and close to Virginia Tech), New River Junction is a perfect spot for family-oriented outdoor fun and camping in Virginia.
Near their office, the New River is almost 300 feet wide, shallow, and clear, so there’s lots of room for endless summer soaking and splashing.
Although the area can get unusually warm in summer (up to 85-90°F), the river itself is still really refreshing.
There’s a mile of peaceful, family-friendly river to float down, at the end of which a shuttle bus will pick you up at Big Falls Park.
After this pullout, there are 200 yards of white water rapids, which can be super fun in our experience, but are not for everyone.
Note that if you do choose to go through the rapids, you’ll have to get out at one of the beaches and walk back up to Big Falls Park in order to catch the shuttle bus.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Roanoke VA
Tubing on the Clinch River
3. Clinch River Life
15264 US-23 N, Duffield VA • (276) 690-9199
The Clinch River is beloved in Southwest Virginia, and played an integral role in the settlement of the area.
Clinch River Life guests are shuttled by bus around 2 miles upriver for a 90-minute to 3-hour (depending on water levels) float back to their parking area.
Once you get back, there are picnic tables and grills for customers to use. We recommend bringing a picnic lunch to enjoy after your fun-filled day of floating.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Bristol TN/VA
4. Clinch River Adventures
16642 E Riverside Dr, Saint Paul VA • (276) 275-4154
Your Southwest Virginia tubing trip with Clinch River Adventures will start and end at their iconic Red Caboose.
Guests can have their photos taken in front of the super-cool train car, then hop on the shuttle bus for the short ride upriver.
It’s easy to spot the vividly colorful caboose on your way back down the river, so there’s no need to worry about floating by and missing your stop.
Note that it is highly recommended that you make a reservation for river tubing the Clinch River in the summer months, as local outfitters are often fully booked days in advance.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Virginia Waterfalls for Hiking
Tubing on the James River
5. Twin River Outfitters
640 Lowe Street, Buchanan VA • (540) 254-8012
Beginning in the Appalachian Mountains and flowing east to the Chesapeake Bay, the James River is the longest river in Virginia.
With 348 miles of it to explore, there are a bunch of different outdoor adventure options to choose from. Twin River Outfitters is a great choice if you’re looking for fun stuff to do nearby.
You can enjoy up to 3 hours of tubing the Upper James River, which is close to the mountain town of Buchanan.
You should also stop at the Caverns at Natural Bridge for some underground fun!
6. Riverside Outfitters
325 S. 14th St, Richmond VA • (804) 560-0068
If you want to go tubing in Richmond, check out Riverside Outfitters.
These outfitters offer a “rent and ride” service, in which you’ll be shuttled to the put-in with your river tube in tow.
In our experience, the route that runs from the Huguenot Flatwater to Pont Pasture is super fun to take.
This 2- to 3-hour float ends with some relatively mild Class II white water rapid for you to enjoy.
But if that’s not your thing, there is a chance to avoid it at an earlier put-out.
Tubing on the Potomac & Shenandoah River
7. Harpers Ferry Adventure Center
37410 Adventure Center Lane, Purcellville VA • (540) 668-9007
Harpers Ferry Adventure Center is a great jumping-off point to enjoy both the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers.
The Potomac River offers a more rapid ride. If you’re looking for a more relaxing float trip, the Shenandoah River is for you.
Whichever adventure you choose, there’s a shuttle bus to take you to the put-ins, plus full guidance to ensure that you have a safe and pleasant trip.
8. Shenandoah River Outfitters
6502 S Page Valley Rd, Luray VA • (540) 743-4159
For more Shenandoah River float trip options, Shenandoah River Outfitters offers a variety of tubing tours in Luray VA.
When waters are high, you can float from Bealer’s Ferry to Fosters, where you’ll encounter some gentle white water.
If waters are low, you’ll be taken to a deeper section of the river, floating from Seakford to Burner’s Bottom. But you’ll get a chance to experience some mild rapids here, too.
We recommend visiting earlier in the day to avoid the blistering summer sun of the afternoon. You’ll be shown a safety video first, and all of the necessary equipment will be provided for you.
They also have a Shenandoah River map that shows you where all of the rapids are, and tips on how to navigate them.
9. Shenandoah River Adventures
415 Long Avenue, Shenandoah VA • (888) 309-7222
Located in the mountain town of Shenandoah VA, Shenandoah River Adventures offers yet another option for Shenandoah River tubing.
This outfitter is just a short drive away from many popular tourist attractions, including Shenandoah National Park, Luray Caverns, and the George Washington & Jefferson National Forest.
They have VA river tubing trips to suit all ages and levels of experience. If you get started early, there’s a chance of getting in two tubing runs before 2 pm (but there’s only one after that).
In short, this is a great place for multi-day adventure getaways!
READ MORE: The 10 Best Caves and Caverns in Virginia
Tubing on the Rappahannock River
10. Virginia Outdoor Center
3219 Fall Hill Ave, Fredericksburg VA • (
Now celebrating 50 years of wonderful water fun, the Virginia Outdoor Center is located in downtown Fredericksburg.
It’s a great jumping-off point for water sports such as paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing.
There’s a 1-mile stretch of the Rappahannock River that you can float down as many times as you wish until 4 pm. They have shuttle pickups every hour to take you back to the put-in for multiple river tubing trips.
The route offers flat and relaxing waters, as well as some light rapids to keep you on your toes.
Note that all food and drink must be kept in your vehicle, but there are plenty of places nearby for you to picnic after your fun day of tubing in Fredericksburg VA. –by Emma Gallagher; lead photo via Canva