Feeling cool mountain water rush over feet as you jump into a giant tube in the Green River is a refreshing feeling. Floating down the river and experiencing some small rapids is relaxing and fun, an awesome way to spend a hot summer day with your family or friends.
Because my kids and I love tubing and are determined to try as many places as possible in our region, here’s what happened during our fun trip down the Green River during a hot summer day and what you need to know if you want to go!
The Green River
I mistakenly thought I’d be tubing down the Saluda River since the town where the Green River tubing companies is in Saluda, North Carolina. But I wasn’t disappointed in the least.
One of the best parts about tubing the Green River is that it’s only an hour from Greenville, a straight shot up I-85 to 26 North. The exit is just before Hendersonville. Once you get off the exit, you’ll have to slowly manuever a few miles down the mountain on a switchback road. It’s a tight squeeze in some parts and watch out for bikers – but you’ll be rewarded with lots of places to go tubing down at the river.
The Green River runs through the Green River Game Lands, a vast and beautiful forest with hiking trails, waterfalls, and swimming holes. Green River Adventures would be happy to book your waterfall rappelling trip, kayak trip, or whitewater adventure.
We also saw tons of fishermen in the river and along its banks catching trout. You can learn more here about NC fishing licenses.
Tubing Down the River
Once you get down to the river on Green River Cove Road, you have several options for choosing a tubing company. We originally wanted to use Green River Cove Tubing but there was a huge line so we went across the street to Living Waters Tubing with no line. It only took us five minutes to sign the waiver, pay (they take credit or cash), and pick out our tubes. They have a porta potty on site and changing rooms if you need.
The owners warned us there would be some Class I & II rapids and that life jackets were recommended. Class I & II are pretty small (Class V are the most dangerous – or fun – rapids for reference) but for little kids, could be a little scary. I brought our own life jackets and we used those but the tubing place had life jackets available for no additional costs.
Every tubing place that I saw on the Green River required kids to be at least 42″ tall. My five-year-old is 45″ to give you an idea of the age of a kid that tall. But if you’re thinking of going, be sure to measure your kids ahead of time so you aren’t turned away when you get there.
No alcohol is allowed at all on the river but you can rent a cooler to tie to your tube if you want to bring drinks or food. Also, wear some kind of shoes that aren’t flip-flops. You may need to get out to get a tube off a rock or swim over to a sandbank and you just don’t know what’s on the bottom that could potentially hurt your feet. And we saw a lot of people using sticks as paddles, which I did try with varying success.
There was a place in the river where you could jump from a rope swing as well. Lots of people did this and we watched, which was fun.
Tubing trips are around an hour and 45 minutes up to three hours or so. We stopped at the Living Waters beach but they told us we could tube for another hour down the river and they’d pick us up.
When tubing with smaller kids, it’s a good idea to tether them to your tube since the current can take them a good distance away from you. We saw some adults flip their tubes on the rapids and we got bumped around a bit so it’s better to keep your smaller kids close to you and within arms reach.
The water was chilly but it felt great on a hot day. There are plenty of spots to pull over and swim around but again, wear water shoes or old sneakers.
Watch for fishermen during your trip and since tubes are basically impossible to steer, yell out if you’re behind a fisherman so they can get out of the way.
You’re outside in a wild area so you’re going to encounter some kind of wildlife. We saw some turtles and heard of someone seeing a snake. Watch the branches of low-hanging trees over the river and try to use your arms to steer away from them as snakes like those places or the sunny logs on the banks of the river. Most will probably leave you alone but it’s good to know your surroundings.
Wear bug spray, sunscreen, and a hat. Some parts of the river are shadier than others and getting burned and bitten up are not fun. Also bring towels and a change of clothes.
Don’t bring stuff you could lose like jewelry, cell phones not in a waterproof case, and keys. Most tubing places will hold onto your keys for you.
And lastly, check the website of your preferred tubing place or call them before you go to make sure they are open, especially if it has been raining for a few days. Rivers generally aren’t safe for tubing when the waters rise too much.
Cost of Tubing
Most of the places we saw are $10/person for around two hours of tubing. If you want to go longer, expect to pay around $15/person. Living Waters would also transport you and your kayak or tube for $5/person, which was good to know since we did see a bunch of people with kayaks and canoes.
At Living Waters Tubing, they had a small little beach area with hammocks and a fire pit for relaxing after your trip. You could also purchase BBQ, hot dogs, and ice cream (the cotton candy ice cream was delicious).
Here are the places we found to tube along the Green River:
5153 Green River Cove Road, Saluda
Children must be 42 inches tall to tube.
$10/pp for 1.5-3 hours and includes transportation. Life jackets are available.
5200 Green River Cove Road, Saluda
Children must be 42 inches tall to tube.
$10/pp for three miles, $15/pp for six miles and includes transportation. Some life jackets are available.
3772 Green River Cove Road, Saluda
Trips start at $10/person and include tube, shuttle, and life jacket.
Kids must be 42” tall to tube.
5373 Green River Cove Road, Saluda
$10/person; reservations are suggested for groups of 10+ people
For other places to go tubing in SC, NC, GA, and TN, see our big list here.
Have you been tubing on the Green River?