Imagine a trip where it’s just you and a couple of close friends or family members a few necessities (think sunscreen and a beverage) a tube and a gin-clear Florida waterway. Yes the classic tube trip is as memorable as ever — perhaps even more so in today’s world where there’s a constant stream of distractions. Unplug unwind and make a lasting memory on one of these timeless tubing adventures — you’ll thank me for it.
Blackwater River State Forest/Coldwater Creek Milton
Tucked way up in the top corner of northwest Florida is the Blackwater River and one of its tributaries Coldwater Creek. The Blackwater River’s reputation as an outstanding tubing destination is known throughout the Southeast. The area draws a huge number of visitors looking to beat the summer heat. You won’t find a tube trip like this anywhere else. It’s a beautiful sand bottom river with white sandy beaches. For tube trips and shuttles check out Adventures Unlimited or Bob's Canoes — both can get you on the water in minutes. Like most places trips vary in length and duration; plan for three to five hours on the water.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park Fort White
You’ve heard of it; now it’s time to experience it. A tube trip on the Ichetucknee River is legendary — 212 million gallons of 72-degree water flow from the Ichetucknee Springs group daily pushing tubers along on trips lasting up to three hours. Several options are available depending on your put-in location with the longest trip starting at the north entrance of Ichetucknee Springs State Park. For the protection of the waterway no food or beverages or tobacco products are allowed. Tube rentals are available at several locations just outside the park entrances. As for all summer tube trips arrive early in case the park reaches capacity which it often does.
Rainbow River Dunnellon
Another tuber’s paradise is the Rainbow River where you’ll find a few different options for trips. At K.P. Hole County Park you can rent tubes and float for four hours downriver to the S.R. 484 bridge take-out location. Be warned — you’ll need to self-shuttle for this float so invite several friends along with an extra vehicle.
Visitors who want to float the upper part of the Rainbow River can rent tubes at the Rainbow Springs State Park tube entrance at 10930 SW 180th Avenue Road. This is a two-hour float with tram services that take you to the entrance point. Your admission fee also allows for access to the headsprings entrance of Rainbow Springs State Park.
If You Go:
Remember you’ll be on the water for several hours so make sure to bring along proper sun protection — sunscreen and a hat are your best friends on a tube trip. Pack your cell phone camera and other essential items such as medication in a small dry-bag which can be found at most outfitters and outdoor stores. In the summer months thunderstorms are common so make sure to check the weather forecast before beginning your float.
Blackwater River/Coldwater Creek:
Ichetucknee Springs State Park:
K.P Hole County Park