There are endless outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy while staying in Helen, Georgia. Nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains, this alpine village offers a landing spot with nearby access to plenty of rivers, lakes, and mountain trails.
The most popular outdoor activity to enjoy during the warm months in the North Georgia mountains is a tubing trip. With the Chattahoochee River close to our Blue Creek cabins and running straight through Helen, you will spot plenty of tubers looking to “shoot the ‘Hooch” on any given day.
How do you “shoot the ‘Hooch”, you ask? You’ll need a tube, the Chattahoochee River, and a big dose of chill! Floating the Chattahoochee is a quintessential activity that defines the North Georgian lifestyle defined by relaxation with a sprinkle of adventure and the outdoors.
If you hope to do some tube floating during your visit to Helen, we’ve put together the ultimate adventurer’s guide to maximizing your river time!
Plan Your Stay in Tubing Season
Photo Credit: William McKeehan via Flickr CC2.0
So you’ve decided you want to go on a tubing adventure! Good choice. The first step is to plan your Helen stay during the tubing season.
Tubing season officially begins on Memorial Day weekend and lasts until Labor Day. The summer season is when the water is most enjoyable for tubing, as it can be pretty cold outside of these months.
You’ll find that the weekends are packed with tubers during the summer months, so plan to tube on a weekday if you prefer less crowds. Early risers will enjoy fewer crowds, while it gets busier as the day goes on.
You’ll also want to check the water level during your stay, as excessive rain before your trip can make the tubing more tumultuous! Tubing companies will have the most up-to-date information on water conditions on their website and will determine if it's safe to go tubing that day.
Choose Your Tubing Company
While you can certainly hop right into the Chattahoochee River at any public access point on your own, we recommend visitors utilize a local tubing company as they provide all of the basics to ensure a safe and enjoyable float.
Several companies in the Helen area offer tubing trip excursions with personalization. Some offer independent rentals by the hour, while others are more hands-on with full-day guided adventures. Here are a few of the best operators in Helen.
Cool River Tubing
- Address: 590 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen, GA
- Website: coolrivertubing.com
Cool River Tubing is one of the most popular options in Helen. They offer a short ride (1 to 1.5 hours) or a longer ride (2 to 2.5 hours). Both trips are the same price: around $14 on weekdays and $18 on weekends. They are the only tubing company in Helen that offers the short ride option.
The price includes a shuttle service, tube, life jacket, and tie straps to connect your tube to your group. They are pet-friendly, too, so you can bring your furry friend to “shoot the ‘Hooch” with you! The long tubing trip starts at Headwaters Outpost and takes you down the Chattahoochee River through Helen and into the North Georgia mountains.
Helen Tubing & Waterpark
- Address: 222 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen, GA
- Website: helenwaterpark.com
Another popular option is Helen Tubing & Waterpark. They are known for their pink tubes, which you can easily spot down the Chattahoochee River on any summer day.
The Helen Tubing & Waterpark offers two-hour tubing trips for $14 on the weekdays and $18 on the weekends. They also offer a luxury version of the classic tubing equipment with tubes fitted with headrests. The beginning and ending locations offer public restrooms, changing rooms, and picnic areas for tubers.
Beyond tubing, Helen Tubing & Waterpark offers a full-service water park with plenty of activities outside tubing. Complete with a lazy river and waterslides; it’s the perfect family-friendly activity to enjoy before or after your tubing trip.
Pack Your Tubing Essentials
While the tubing company you choose will provide your basic needs, it’s important to pack the essentials for an epic tubing adventure.
What to Wear Tubing
- Water shoes or tennis shoes
- Swimsuit or wetsuit
- Sunhat or sunglasses
- A wrist key ring
- Waterproof neck pouch for valuables
What to Bring Tubing
- Water: Be sure to pack plenty of water to stay hydrated, as you will be in periods of direct sun for hours.
- Push-off sticks: These are tubing tools to keep yourself and your group moving down the river. They are also useful to keep you from hitting rocks or the shore. You can buy these or purchase them at a tubing company before your trip.
- Water-proof sunscreen: You will want to apply this before your trip and bring some as needed.
- A towel: Even if you rent a tube with a bottom, we promise you will get wet by the end of your tubing trip! Definitely bring a towel to leave on shore.
What NOT to Bring Tubing
- A cooler: If you go with a tubing company, most do not allow coolers or alcohol.
- Electronics: We do not recommend taking your cell phone or camera with you on the trip, as there is a huge chance they can get wet. Each tubing company offers lockers to keep your personal belongings safe. If you choose to bring your cell phone along for the ride, protect it with a waterproof case!
- Young children: Cool River Tubing does not allow children under three years old on tubing trips; Helen Tubing & Waterpark does not allow children two and under. Check their website before purchasing tickets with young children, as these rules could change.
Embark on Your Tubing Adventure
Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org
You’ve made it this far! You’ve picked the best time to go tubing, purchased your tickets, and packed all the essentials for the ultimate tubing trip. Now, it’s time to “shoot the ‘Hooch”!
Park and Meet Your Tour Guide
Make your way to the “end” destination of the tubing company of your choice, where you will find free parking to park your vehicle. Both Cool River Tubing and Helen Tubing & Waterpark offer free shuttle service from the end destination to the beginning destination, where you will start your float.
Once you’re in the water, you can “tether” your tube to each other. Helen Tubing & Waterpark only allows two tubes to be tethered together. They sell tube ties for $3. Cool River Tubing offers free ties and recommends no more than three tubes tied together simultaneously.
Relax and Float
Now, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the peaceful float along the Chattahoochee River. Make sure to use your push-off sticks to stay moving along the river. Along the way, you’ll spot waterfalls, mountain landscapes, and even pass a waterfront restaurant or two! Enjoy all of the diverse scenery of Alpine Helen as you make your way down the Chattahoochee River.
Enjoy the Amenities
Once your trip is done, you will arrive at the ending destination of your tubing company. Here, you’ll return your rented equipment and enjoy amenities like picnic areas, public restrooms, and plenty of additional activities.
Grab a Bite
There are plenty of excellent dining options around Helen, or you can let your tubing operator show you a good time instead! Helen Tubing & Waterpark’s tubing trip ends at Wild Hog BBQ, a popular restaurant where floaters can enjoy delicious grub after their tubing trip.
Cool River Tubing provides picnic areas and grills to tubing customers on a first-come, first-serve basis. They even have zip lines if you’re eager to enjoy another outdoor adventure!
A Helen Georgia Tubing Experience to Remember
There is no better way to spend the day adventuring from you Blue Creek Cabin like floating the river. Grab your sunscreen and let the Chathoochee lead the way!