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Escape the Summer Heat Tubing on an SC River

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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In South Carolina, hot summer days were meant for river tubing. There’s nothing more refreshing—and relaxing—than drifting along in a rubber tube with your toes dipping in the water.

With the abundance of slow-moving rivers across the state, you won’t have any trouble finding a scenic, gently winding stream to enjoy this summertime pleasure. Some rivers even feature fun Class I and II rapids for those who prefer to rev things up.

Whatever river you choose, be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and some form of hydration. If your float plan includes playing in the water or lingering on sandbars, you might want to rent a separate inflatable to carry a cooler with lunch and drinks.

Here are five outfitters offering tubing trips in South Carolina:

Edisto River Adventures – Ridgeville
The Lowcountry’s only river tubing experience, this outfitter offers tubing excursions on the Edisto, the longest free-flowing blackwater river in North America. Starting at Givhans Ferry State Park, the 2-mile float trip takes you through wooded corridors of the ACE Basin, a pristine bottomland forest of hardwoods, tupelo and old-growth bald cypress. The adventure ends at the Edisto River Adventures outpost, located 35 miles from Charleston.

Saluda Outdoor Center – Easley
Rising from the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Upper Saluda is the longest river flowing through the South Carolina Upstate. The tubing trip through a section of the river near downtown Greenville generally takes a couple of hours. Tubes, life vests and transportation are provided.

Rockin’ River Adventures – Rock Hill
This float trip will take you down the Catawba River in the South Carolina piedmont from the Lake Wylie Dam in Fort Mill to Riverwalk in Rock Hill. With its picturesque wooded banks and rocky shoals, the Catawba was designated a State Scenic River in 2008. Rent a floating cooler and pack a lunch for a picnic on the shoals in the middle of the river.

Saluda Shoals Park – Columbia
Far from its origins in the Appalachian Mountains, the Lower Saluda is released from the bottom of Lake Murray, offering welcome relief in the dog days of summer with its cool 60-degree waters. It’s a relaxing trip down this stretch of the scenic river as it winds along forested banks with little development. Tube rentals include shuttle service.

Palmetto Outdoors – Columbia
Farther down the Lower Saluda near the Capital City’s downtown, the piedmont river turns playful with a series of Class I and II rapids. Prepare to get wet! Palmetto Outdoors offers three tubing options, including Grab n’Go which allows you to choose the length and route of your trip.

River Island Adventures – Myrtle Beach
This is the only South Carolina outfitter located on the Waccamaw River. The outpost is just 7 miles from downtown North Myrtle Beach but seems a world away with its beautiful natural setting. Like the Edisto, the Waccamaw is a blackwater river that gets its distinctive tea color from the tannins released by decomposing plants and trees along its banks.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.