This is a guest post and photos by Jenni Hilton from Forsyth for Families, a blog about free and cheap kid friendly things to do in and around Forsyth County,Georgia.
Thanks to Field Trips with Sue and Appalachian Outfitters, I won a family tubing in North Georgia trip for four on the Chestatee River in Dahlonega, GA. We went on a Saturday morning and stopped at Publix on Exit 17 at GA400 on the way to pick up a picnic lunch. To prepare for the tubing trip, we packed towels, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. We kept our load light and left our picnic lunch in a cooler in the car for after the tubing adventure. Appalachian Outfitters recommends that you wear a bathing suit or old t-shirt and shorts and swim shoes, sandals or old sneakers for the tubing.
The drive was only about a thirty-five minute trip from our home off of Exit 16 at GA 400. Directions were easy – drive up 400 North for 18.5 miles and turn left at SR 60. Appalachian Outfitters was about 3.5 miles on the left. The signs were well marked and the main Tubing entrance was just over a bridge and on the left.
When we arrived, we were greeted by two friendly employees. I presented our certificate and we filled out one liability form for our family (it is also available online). Once that was filled out, we picked out the kids’ life jackets as children 12 and under must wear them. The minimum age for tubing is four years old.
We gave them our car keys to hold so we wouldn’t lose them. We packed our tubes and ropes in a van and off we went. Appalachian Outfitters will drop you off about ½ mile up the road where you can easily enter the river with the tubes.
We ventured down to the river and started our adventure. We had ropes so we could tie each of our daughter’s tubes to the handles of our tubes so they wouldn’t drift off. The girls’ tubes were for kids and they could sit in it the tube easily and not slide out. Our tubes were a little larger and had the typical hole in the bottom.
It was calm and relaxing floating down the river. It was nice to unplug from the world for awhile and catch up with our girls. We reached one shallow area where my husband and I got up and walked the girls in their tubes for about 100 feet. Then it was deeper water once again and we floated down the current. There were a few fun spots where there were dips and
little tiny rapid areas and the girls shouted WEEEE!
We ended up floating in water up to 4-5′ feet at times and watching birds and turtles while singing “Zip A Dee Doo Dah”. My husband, who usually is very active, finally relaxed!
There is a sign on the left side of the river that says Tubing Trail where you can get out and walk back on a trail about a short ten minute walk to tube again which is nice for families that want more tubing fun.
Further on down on the right side there is an orange sign for the tubing exit point. We simply stood up, picked up our tubes, (dumped the water out of my four year old’s – she created a floating baby pool which was cool) and walked up the steps back at the Appalachian Outfitters headquarters.
We hung up the life vests, returned the rafts and changed into dry clothes. They have dressing rooms and a porta potty for customers. Once we were changed, we went to the car and got our picnic lunch. They have a few picnic tables and it is a great, shady area under the trees. We enjoyed our lunch and talked about our new adventure. Kids at a nearby table ran by as someone was having a birthday party. We will definitely return. They also offer kayaking which we are interested in once the girls are a little bit older.
The tubing is also only about a mile from the Dahlonega square so you could make a day of it touring and even mining for gold with Dahlonega’s Gold Tour.
Thanks again Sue and Appalachian Outfitters! What a great memory for the end of our family summer.