The 10 Best Places for River Tubing in Virginia

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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.

From the Shenandoah to the New River, there are endless opportunities for folks of all ages and experience levels to get into the water and float with friends and family.
White water tubing in Virginia is also a great option for those seeking more of an adrenaline rush.
For those who prioritize R&R over adventure, the state of Virginia has plenty of flatwater river tubing runs that offer laid-back ways to laze away a summer day. 
These historic VA rivers are great places for meditation and meandering along pristine waterways surrounded by beautiful butterflies, birds, and wildflowers.
So pack your picnic, floats, swimsuits, and sunscreen, and read on for our in-depth guide to the best places to go river tubing in VA!

River Tubing in Virginia Guide

  1. New River Outdoor Adventures (Galax)
  2. New River Junction (Blacksburg)
  3. Clinch River Life (Duffield)
  4. Clinch River Adventures (Saint Paul)
  5. Twin River Outfitters (Buchanan)
  6. Riverside Outfitters (Richmond)
  7. Harpers Ferry Adventure Center (Purcellville)
  8. Shenandoah River Outfitters (Luray)
  9. Shenandoah River Adventures (Shenandoah)
  10. Virginia Outdoor Center (Fredericksburg)

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Staunton VA


Tubing on the New River

VA Tubing - New River Outdoor Adventures
Photo courtesy of New River Outdoor Adventures

1. New River Outdoor Adventures

5785 Fries Road, Galax VA • (276) 237-8823

Official Website

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. 

Located in Galax VA, just 12.8 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, New River Outdoor Adventures is one of our favorite places for New River tubing in VA.

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

READ MORE: The 15 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hotels & Cabin Rentals in NC & VA

Tubing the New River Junction
Photo courtesy of New River Junction

2. New River Junction

2591 Big Falls Road, Blacksburg VA • (540) 639-6633

Official Website

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

Virginia Tubing - Clinch River Life
Photo courtesy of Clinch River Life

3. Clinch River Life

15264 US-23 N, Duffield VA • (276) 690-9199

Official Website

The Clinch River is beloved in Southwest Virginia, and played an integral role in the settlement of the area.

Famous Appalachian explorer/pioneer Daniel Boone once walked the banks and rode the currents of this challenging river on his journey to the Cumberland Gap. 

The river flows 135 southwest from the town of Tazewell VA before moving on into Tennessee. Tubing the Clinch River is a great way to dip your toes in this historic waterway. 

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

Virginia River Tubing -Clinch River Adventure
Photo courtesy of Clinch River Adventure

4. Clinch River Adventures

16642 E Riverside Dr, Saint Paul VA • (276) 275-4154

Official Website

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

James River Tubing in VA - Twin River Outfitters
Photo courtesy of Twin River Outfitters

5. Twin River Outfitters

640 Lowe Street, Buchanan VA • (540) 254-8012

Official Website

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. 

Once you’ve had your fill of tubing, the famous stone arch of Natural Bridge State Park is a 15-minute drive away. We highly recommend exploring the natural attractions and restaurants.

You should also stop at the Caverns at Natural Bridge for some underground fun!

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Lexington VA & Natural Bridge VA

Tubing in Richmond VA - Riverside Outfitters
Photo courtesy of Riverside Outfitters

6. Riverside Outfitters

325 S. 14th St, Richmond VA • (804) 560-0068 

Official Website

If you want to go tubing in Richmond, check out Riverside Outfitters.

In addition to kayaking and boat rentals, Virginia tubing ranks pretty high on the list of fun things to do in the area. 

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.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Historic & Covered Bridges in Virginia


Tubing on the Potomac & Shenandoah River

Harpers Ferry Tubing
Photo courtesy of Harpers Ferry Adventure Center

7. Harpers Ferry Adventure Center

37410 Adventure Center Lane, Purcellville VA • (540) 668-9007

Official Website

Harpers Ferry Adventure Center is a great jumping-off point to enjoy both the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers.

There are perfect tubing runs for laid-back family fun, as well as more bracing white water options. 

The Potomac River offers a more rapid ride. If you’re looking for a more relaxing float trip, the Shenandoah River is for you. 

Harpers Ferry tubing also offers package trips where you can spend the day tubing and ziplining, tubing and rafting, or even tubing and rock climbing. 

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. 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Civil War Battlefields in Virginia to Visit

Shenandoah River Tubing - Shenandoah River Outfitters
Photo courtesy of Shenandoah River Outfitters

8. Shenandoah River Outfitters

6502 S Page Valley Rd, Luray VA • (540) 743-4159 

Official Website

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. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Luray VA (Gateway to Shenandoah)

Shenandoah River float trips
Photo courtesy of Shenandoah River Adventures

9. Shenandoah River Adventures

415 Long Avenue, Shenandoah VA • (888) 309-7222 

Official Website

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). 

SAR also has options for camping, riverside campfires, and picnic tables, with several restaurants just a short drive away.

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

Tubing in Fredericksburg VA
Photo courtesy of Virginia Outdoor Center

10. Virginia Outdoor Center

3219 Fall Hill Ave, Fredericksburg VA • (540) 371-5085 

Official Website

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


Leave No Trace logo

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

Born in Britain, writer/photographer Emma Gallagher lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC on a permaculture homestead with her husband, Jonathon. While traveling the world for 13 years, she fell in love with the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge region when she lived at an artist retreat in Burnsville NC before moving to Brevard. Today Emma lives near Stone Mountain State Park and Doughton Park volunteers at the Surry County Fiddlers Convention, and cares for the gardens at the Reeves Downtown School of Music in Elkin. She's also a volunteer for the Elkin Valley Trails Association, which maintains segment 6 of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.