Grab your tubes, cottagers! The hot weather is here, and there’s no better way to stay cool than to float down a lazy river. Whether you’ve got your own tube or looking for an experience with rental equipment, there are lots of options for a float. Go for a leisurely ride on a natural river, or paddle along in a turbo tube and go at your own pace. No matter your adventure style, these are the 10 best places to go lazy river tubing so you can slow down, take in the scenery, and enjoy summer on the water.
Black River Wilderness Park in Washago, Ont.
Though primarily a family campground, Black River Wilderness Park also offers day visits to explore the area for a small fee, so pack your tubes and head to the park for a float down the Black River. If you have the time, stay a little longer and go for a hike through the many nature trails on the property. Owned and operated by the Chippewas of Rama First Nation, Black River Wilderness Park also offers educational activities centring around Indigenous culture, such as Indigenous history sessions and Medicine Walks.
Elora Gorge Conservation Area in Elora, Ont.
For a slightly more exhilarating “lazy” river tubing experience, head to Elora Gorge Conservation Area and coast the Grand River. Visitors must wear lifejackets and helmets at all times while tubing due to the rocky and rapid nature of the river. Equipment can be rented at the site for a cost, or you can bring your own—either way, all equipment must be approved before you are allowed to go tubing. A visit to the conservation area with tubing and equipment rental costs about $50 per adult. Keep in mind that the conservation area does not provide shuttle bus service, so you’ll have to walk back to the top of the river after you end your ride.
Tubing the Grand in Cambridge, Ont.
If you don’t have your own tube and are looking for an experience where you can rent equipment, Tubing the Grand offers single-person turbo tubes and paddles for $38 per person. Float down the Grand River starting at Moyer’s Blair Landing and emerge in the village of Old Galt. The eight-kilometre route takes approximately two hours, but your rental lasts four hours, giving you time to swim and enjoy the river at your own pace. Your entrance fee here covers a pre-paid taxi voucher that will take you back to your car at the end of the trip, so you can take some time to explore the nearby village.
Chillin’ N Tubing in Chelmsford, Ont.
Located just outside Sudbury, Ont., Chillin’ N Tubing offers a lazy river tubing route on the Vermilion River that lasts between two and four hours, fluctuating with wind and water conditions. For $28 per adult tube (it’s cash only!), the company includes bus service up to the entry point, and the float takes you back down near the parking area to exit. Note that Chillin’ N Tubing requires guests to bring their own lifejackets, which are mandatory.
Saugeen River in Bruce County, Ont.
If you’re looking for public river access where you can bring your own tube to float, the Saugeen River is the spot for you. With around 15 public access points between Hanover and Southampton, there are many places to enter and exit the river during your float. Want more of an adventure? Stay over at Saugeen Riverbank Campground, located just outside of Walkerton. They run their own river tubing experiences on the Saugeen for guests with tube rentals and shuttle service.
Big Creek in Port Rowan, Ont.
Grand River Rafting has various options for watersports west of Hamilton, but their Big Creek tubing trip is a standout option for river-tubing enthusiasts. The route is nine kilometres and takes around four or five hours, depending on how much you paddle. Turbo tubes are $42 per person and include safety kits and personal flotation devices. Grand River Rafting provides shuttle service to the entry point and back to the parking lot once you exit the river, all included in the cost.
Burnt River near Kinmount, Ont.
Already have a tube and lifejacket, but need a nice quiet area to float? The Burnt River near Kinmount, Ont., offers a gentle current with shallow areas that are good for a short lazy river ride. Head to Somerville Centennial Park for a sandy beach where you can float and swim to your heart’s content. This hidden gem is a great place to launch your tube, kayak, or canoe for a paddle. If you want to spend the afternoon, stay a while and have a picnic.
Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park near Mattawa, Ont.
Floating down the rapids is a popular pastime for campers at Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park. With a swift yet gentle current, going lazy river tubing here is a must, so make sure to pack your favourite floaty when you visit. Many people suggest bringing water shoes to protect your feet during the ride. And, of course, be prepared to walk back to your site after exiting the rapids.
Gull River in Minden, Ont.
Floating down the Gull River from Rotary Park into downtown Minden is a favourite summer activity for locals of the area. Just bring your tubes, lifejackets, and bathing suits, and you’re good to go. Have a picnic in the park before you float to make a day of it. There are also many places in Minden to check out before or after your float—get a double-scoop at the Kawartha Dairy ice cream shop, grab a bite from the Minden River Cone, and grab some fresh produce at the Minden Farmers’ Market (open on Saturdays).
Pinawa Channel in Pinawa, Man.
If you’re looking for something to do on a sunny day in Manitoba, head to the Pinawa Channel for a relaxing float. It takes two to three hours to get down the river, and you’ll love every minute of it. Parking is available at the entry and exit points and costs $10. If you need to rent tubes or equipment, there are multiple options available through local companies such as Pinawa Float and Paddle or Pinawa Unplugged Eco Tours. Camping is available nearby, and there is a golf course beside the river if you’re looking to pack more activities into your day. Be sure to check out the Pinawa Suspension Bridge, located at the end of the float.