Hey! The summer's not quite over yet! And honestly, you can still do summer things after school starts as long as it's warm. But I wanted to share another summer activity that we've discovered. Tubing! I don't know why we've never done this before. You can do it with your kids or even without!
We went twice this year. The first time the kids sat in tubes with a hole in the middle. Although they were more "classic" tubing I wouldn't recommend that kind of tube unless it's in the 90s and the water is warm. The second time we brought this somewhat obscene inner tube that all the kids could sit in (see below) In case you're wondering I bought it on sale at Toysplash.com for only $35 with free shipping. For some reason it's back up to $54 now. But the kids loved it and it kept them from freezing in the icy cold creek.
If you live in Central Pennsylvania and are curious, we rode on the Yellow Breeches Creek starting at the covered bridge at Messiah College and going to the next stop 2.5 miles away at Simpson Park. To get 2.5 miles by innertube it takes about 2 hours. So if the water is cold you can imagine how uncomfortable that would be for a kid. That's why I recommend the closed hole tubes.
We adults sat in these tubes from 5 Below. For only $5 it was a pretty amazing tube! It had a back to rest our heads on and no center hole. The only thing I'd change was that it lacked was a cup holder. However, the second time we went out we brought this handy little cooler float which did have cup holders. I bought for only $10 from Walmart. And if you want the perfect sized cooler to fit inside I recommend this one from Amazon. It fit like a glove. The cooler would be great if you were doing an adult-only run and wanted somewhere to keep your beer and wine coolers cold.
You should choose a river or stream that has some decent current. You don't want to go half a mile in one hour. Also, a stream that has a few riffles and rapids keep things interesting. Check out our little adventure below.
The Yellow Breeches also has a rope swing. If you know of a place that's frequented by tubers you will often find nice little hidden gems like this. If you don't know of any good places I recommend checking out Swimming Holes.org It has official and unofficial swimming holes, creeks, rivers and etc listed by state.
One big tip that I can't emphasize enough is to all have water shoes. There are so many times that you have to get up and out of your float for one reason or another and the bottom of a creek or river is an awful place for bare feet. They sell water shoes at Walamart and 5 below for only $5.
Another big tip if you have kids is to bring a rope. I really can't imagine going tubing without a rope, especially if you have kids. If someone is about to run into a tree branch or if someone is floating a lot faster than everyone else it's nice to be able to reel them in without having to get out of your tube. Sometimes a creek can be chest deep even for an adult.
One more tip is to maybe bring a paddle. I say maybe because you can certainly do tubing without one. We didn't use a paddle the first time and made it. Plus it's kind of cumbersome. But the second time we took one and it did help a lot.
If you'd like to try tubing too plan out your trip beforehand. Remember you'll have to take two cars. One at the end of the trip and one to get to the beginning. And DON'T forget your keys for your car at the end of the trip or you'll be calling a cab to get back to your car at the beginning of the trip.
Another thing you might not think about is getting the tubes there and bringing them back. If you have two trucks and can toss them in the back then it's a no-brainer but who has two trucks? If you have two minivans or SUVs that can also work but only if you are transporting no more than four people and can fit all your inflated tubes in the back. If you don't have a vehicle that can fit inflated tubes and passengers at the same time it's a double problem because you need something to blow them up when you get there and then something to deflate them on your way back. I recommend bringing an electric pump and either finding a spot with electricity to inflate and deflate your tubes or buying an AC/DC converter for your car and plugging in your pump that way.
Lastly, if you're in deeper water and you have kids of course have them wear a life vest. The first time we went out I had Molly wear one. The second time I didn't. The Yellow Breeches ended up never being more than waist deep and we were always only a couple feet away from them. That being said, an adult tubing solo on the Yellow Breeches did drown a few years ago so even if you know how to swim and the water isn't deep anything can happen so it's always best to go with a friend or better yet....FRIEND"S" plural;-)