It's the classic carefree summer activity - tubing down a lazy river. Cradled in a rubber ring with a cooler of cold drinks at your side, you've got everything you need to chill in the water on a hot day.
Edisto River Adventures offers this slice of summertime fun in the beautiful setting of the ACE Basin, one of the largest natural areas remaining on the East Coast. Located in the South Carolina Lowcountry, the rich, pristine ecosystem is named after three rivers: the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto.
The largest of the three and the longest free-flowing blackwater river in North America, the Edisto winds through a bottomland forest thick with hardwoods, tupelo and old-growth bald cypress. The wetland habitat is home to an amazing array of wildlife, including the red-cockaded woodpecker, southern bald eagle and wood stork.
Tubing trips run through a two-mile section of the scenic river, starting at Givhans Ferry State Park and ending at the Edisto River Adventures outpost in Ridgeland, located 35 miles from downtown Charleston. With the current pushing you along at 1-2 mph, it takes about two to three hours to complete the journey. A higher water level can crank up the speed to 3 mph.
But there's no rush making it down river. There are plenty of shallow spots along the way where you can stop and soak in the refreshing water, throw around a ball or engage in a friendly water fight. Of course, you can jump off your tube anytime during your float trip and take a swim.
At just $20 a tube, it's an inexpensive outing the whole family will enjoy. You can even bring your own cooler filled with drinks and snacks. Inflatables for carrying coolers are an additional $10.
The standard tube is designed so you sit in the water with your legs and arms draped over the sides. If you want to cool off, you can hang in the center with your upper body resting on the tube. For those who prefer to stay dry, opt for a deluxe tube that comes with a covered bottom and backrest. Ropes with clips are provided to keep tubes together.
Upon returning to the riverfront outpost, guests are welcome to hang out on the sandy beach or play an outdoor game. The offerings include volleyball, corn hole and an oversized Jenga. On weekends, hot dogs are usually cooking in the pavilion for guests to enjoy.
In addition to tubing, Edisto River Adventures offers guided and self-guided kayak trips on the Edisto. Half-day paddles start at Mars Oldfield Landing and cover eight miles of the river. A full-day trip is about 15 miles.
Find more information on Edisto River Adventures here.