This post may contain compensated links. Refer to my disclaimer for more info.
Unforgettable memories. Outside activities with the family in wide-open spaces. Yes, please! That’s why I took a chance on river tubing in North Georgia even though I’m the least adventurous of my thrill-seeking family! It’s seriously one of the best things to do in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Several years ago, our family had the pleasure of Helen tubing where we leisurely floated down the Chattahoochee River. I’m sharing the details of how to make the most of your experience AND the details of the beautiful Blue Ridge cabin rental we chose and why. Don’t miss the video and important links at the end!
This time we’re experiencing Toccoa River tubing with small rapids as part of our Blue Ridge Mountains vacation. To provide an adventurous Day #3 for the family in the great outdoors, I searched for a kayaking or tubing activity close to Blue Ridge. There were only two river tubing choices that I found. Toccoa River Campground is the one I chose and is just a few miles from Blue Ridge, Georgia’s historic downtown, in the heart of the North Georgia mountains.
TOCCOA RIVER TUBING FAQS
Besides the tube, you will need sunscreen, extra clothes for after the excursion (to be left behind in-vehicle or tubing business), and water shoes (trust me on the water shoes!). If you want to take photos, only bring a waterproof camera. If you bring the GoPro, be sure to use a floatable Waterproof GoPro Handheld Underwater Sport Selfie Stick Monopod Pole Floating Hand Grip
The Toccoa River begins in Union County, Blairsville, and extends for thirty miles until it reaches the Tennessee line. Did you know that the Toccoa River and Ocoee River are essentially the same body of water? The Toccoa flows northward through Georgia, and once it reaches the state line of at Copperhill Tennessee, it immediately becomes the Ocoee River.
Since it’s unlawful to tube, canoe, or fish on private property, I suggest sticking to companies that provide a great place. To my knowledge, there are only two tubing companies in the Blue Ridge area and I’m reviewing the one we’ve personally experienced, Tocca Valley Campground.
TOCCOA RIVER THINGS TO DO
Why did Toccoa River Valley Campground win my vote?
The site of the Toccoa River we chose is located inside a campground. There is a cute little building in the back where they also offer kayaking, rafting, and tubing. I’d heard story after story about how professional and kind this family-owned company was and many more attributes that we found out for ourselves:
- Friendly folks
- Family-owned for over 50 years
- No alcohol allowed on the premises
- Extremely clean facilities (bathroom/changing rooms)
- Inexpensive price & great value
- Hi-quality equipment
- Fun place to camp & tube
- Closed on Sundays
To provide a clean and safe family environment for our guests to make lasting memories in North Georgia and to promote Christian Values.-Toccoa River Campground’s Mission Statement
The tubing season is typically May through Labor Day. You have the option to use your own equipment at $10 a vessel. We chose to rent tubes at $10 a person. Both options cover the cost of a standard or jumbo tube with bottoms and handles, a life jacket, and a shuttle back to the property after completing their private six-mile route. The trip typically lasts for about two hours depending on the water levels of the river.
Insider tips: Wear water shoes! The river rocks are slippery (you never know when you might need to get out of your tube). The rocks could also cut you. I love flip flops, but they are not a wise option for river tubing.
WHAT “NOT” TO DO ON THE RIVER [the REST of the “rapids” story]
The staff warned us before we hit the water that the river was low and that it would take longer to complete our adventure.
We didn’t mind.
What we didn’t realize was how powerful some of the currents over the rocks could be. The rapids are small and navigable but toward the end, there are a few doozies (especially when the water level is low).
As you’ll see in the video below, our older kid’s tube flipped as we went over one of the last little rapids. She went under the water forcefully and the tube was over her head when she tried to come up.
We instinctively jumped out of our tubes to help, and I couldn’t believe how powerful the rapids were around my legs and feet. It was tough to fight the current to get to her and then to stand still when we got to her.
She popped up and once she could stand and breath, she started laughing. Oh. my. word!
She would have been fine without us, I’m sure, but it was a scary few moments. They may say I’m overreacting, but I want other Moms to know!
We learned in retrospect that when the river levels are higher, the rapids aren’t as noticeable. The staff warned us but we didn’t fully understand. A life vest is definitely essential in deeper waters as well.
Wear life vests no matter how old you are!
Other than those scary few seconds, our experience was amazing!
Insider Tips: They accepted cash only! Call ahead to check the river level conditions before you go. The blue & red life jackets are comfier than the bulky orange ones. Consider wearing a hat and sunscreen
BLUE RIDGE CABIN RENTAL
If you are like us, a rustic cabin in the mountains sounds so dreamy. The “Adventure Cabin” we rented through Airbnb is located in the North Georgia mountains between Blue Ridge and Blairsville, Georgia. It was close to Ellijay, Georgia as well.
How to Choose a Cabin #1: We learned that it’s best to choose a cabin’s location based on how much exploring vs. cabin relaxing you plan to do. We loved how the cabin we chose was centrally located between the three main towns we wanted to visit, it would have been a great cabin just for chilling in the woods!
How to Choose a Cabin #2: Unless you have a rugged 4×4 truck, make sure that the driveway of your cabin is not too steep. Pay attention to the descriptions and reviews for mentions of this.
How to Choose a Cabin #3: Unless you stay in town, be prepared to not have much cell service in this area of the mountains. Even in town, the Wi-Fi was spotty and frustrating. Make sure your cabin has a landline for emergency calls and enjoy an unplugged vacation!
We loved the look of the cabin on the inside and out with knotty pine throughout and beautifully pitched ceilings. Decor and furnishings were adorable in every room and brought many smiles to our faces. The cabin was spotless and tucked away in the woods (there was one neighbor in a cabin several feet away but it was hidden by trees.
Our favorite activity there was sitting on the huge porch in the morning and evenings. Although we didn’t cook while there, the kitchen was heavily stocked with kitchenware and food seasonings.
Insider Tip: Pick an extra day or two that you don’t plan to explore so you can stay in the cabin and enjoy it! Because it’s a bit remote, plan your trips to the towns accordingly.
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
The blue ridge mountains are truly a wonderful family travel destination both in the fall AND in the summer. Don’t miss this hidden gem to discover with kids!
Tocca River Valley Campground: 11481 Aska Rd, Blue Ridge, GA
Our Blue Ridge Cabin: Morganton, Georgia
Blue Ridge Scenic Railway: 241 Depot St, Blue Ridge, GA
You may need
Check out these similar posts
North Georgia Mercier Orchards
Best Things to Do in Beaufort SC
St Simons Island Getaway for Families