Tubing the French Broad River
As recently as 10 years ago, you would have been hard pressed to find much recreational activity on the French Broad River in Asheville. City planning had not accounted for best and highest use of river front properties, leaving it less than scenic for river goers who may have wanted to canoe, paddle board, or tube.
Organizations such as River Link and River Keepers, as well as active community members, have worked hard to change that, and one of the results is hundreds of tubers enjoying a leisurely float down the river with the first signs of summer. Now, you can even stop along the way to grab some local beer or snack from a food truck.
There are many options for river “sports,” and I’ll use that term loosely as I’ll be focusing on tubing, which requires limited athletic ability or even energy. Rather, it’s a simple and relaxing way to enjoy a sunny day with family or friends.
Whether you choose a DIY option, go through an outfitter, or something in between, you’ll find you have many options.
There are multiple local outfitters offering a range or services from tube rental, shuttles, changing rooms and more. There are also numerous locations available for putting in and taking out your tube depending on how long you’d like to spend floating and where you’d like to end your trip.
Putting in at Hominy Creek and taking out at Amboy Road River Park typically lasts 2+ hours. For a longer float with a beer or food option, you’ll need to go a bit further to reach Wedge Brewing or The Bywater. Of course, the length of your float depends on the flow of the river at that time. For an accurate read on the current, visit American Whitewater and search for the French Broad. Don’t forget to check the water temperature while you’re there!
Some outfitters you may want to consider are French Broad Outfitters, Asheville Outdoor Center, and Zen Tubing. Prices range from $12 for a half day, walk, and tube to $20 which includes a shuttle and an extra raft for your cooler. For a thrifty but less convenient option, you can grab your own tube and either walk back to your starting point, grab a $5 shuttle, or leave a 2nd car at your final destination.
Some things you’ll want to have handy are river shoes, sun screen, a floating cooler with drinks (no glass), a sun visor or hat, a few bucks for beer or snacks, and towel and change of clothes at your stopping point. If you’re doing it on your own, don’t forget to account for your car key! I always bring a few ziplocks for keys and money and tuck them in a secure pocket.
However you choose to do it, just do it. There are few better ways to spend a hot summer day so get out and #movesmarter!
Written by Bethany Behrmann, Broker, REALTOR. Bethany had her first tubing adventure on the French Broad at age 10 and has logged dozens of trips since with family, friends, neighbors and countless exchange students. Whether you seek more recommendations for enjoying Asheville summers or information on riverfront property, Bethany can be reached by email at [email protected]