When it comes to sunny, pleasant year-round weather, very few states can rival what Florida has to offer. After all, there is a reason why the area is nicknamed the Sunshine state. Even at its coldest, Florida temperatures clock in at 65F. For reference, New Hampshire enjoys the low 60s only during its short summer season! This kind of heat is best defeated through water activities like visiting a water park, swimming, or even going tubing in Florida!
Florida is one of the best summer destinations in the United States with its beautiful weather and proximity to beaches and springs. Aside from the chance to enjoy the sun, surf, and sea, the state offers a lot of recreational activities for the whole family to enjoy outside the theme parks!
Here’s what you need to know about where you can go tubing in Florida from resorts to nature, as well as some tips to keep you safe and enjoy yourself!
Cool off With Water Activities in Florida
During the peak of summer, it can get scorching and quite humid all around Florida. When we say hot, we do mean hot. Thankfully, Florida is blessed with close proximity to beaches, rivers, springs, and oh so many stunning resort properties that are perfect for locals and vacationers!
Beyond just laying in the sun on some of the best Florida beaches or taking a dip in a swimming pool, Florida is a great place to go jet-skiing, parasailing, wakeboarding, paddleboarding, and there’s even some great snorkeling in Florida! The other major perk of being in Florida is that it’s a vacationer’s paradise. So there are a ton of water parks you can enjoy plus a number of hotels and resorts that you can visit which offer incredible pools for guests.
But one of our favorite ways to enjoy both the sunny weather and cool water is to float our cares away on a tube!
Where Can You Go Tubing in Florida?
In case you are unfamiliar, tubing is a type of water activity that entails riding atop a runner tube. Sometimes called donuts or biscuits, certain styles of these tubes can be used both in the water and on snow. However, we’re talking about tubing in the water…not snow tubing.
Although, snow tubing actually exists in Florida! But that’s a whole different topic altogether…
Tubing on the water in Florida is a popular recreational activity for residents and tourists because of the sheer number of options available.
Picture this: you on a day off, floating on a tube in one of Florida’s natural rivers, listening to the sound of birds chirping and taking in as much of the warm sun on your skin. Paradise! Truly, Florida tubing is a popular option for individuals who want to relax either in the calming surroundings of nature, or at a luxury resort!
So let’s break down the article here into 3 types of tubing:
- Natural Rivers and Springs for Tubing
- Resorts With Lazy Rivers
- Water Parks With Lazy Rivers
Best Natural Rivers and Springs in Florida for Tubing
The state of Florida is very generous to residents and tourists that love their time outdoors. For those interested in river tubing in Florida, the state has several natural bodies of water for you to choose from, including some gorgeous crystal clear natural springs! Below are four places where you can enjoy your tube in nature that are atop of our list!
Ginnie Springs is home to seven clear springs ready for tubing year-round! It is one of the best river tubing in Florida because of the number of options for your entire family to enjoy! Tube rentals are available through the state park, and the prices start from $7 for the whole of the day!
Rainbow Springs State Park
Unlike the other rivers in this list, Rainbow Springs isn’t a wild river. You can expect a few houses during your float in this state park. Nevertheless, it is an aquatic reserve that is teeming with wildlife!
There are four locations within the Rainbow Springs State Park you can start your journey from. You can float anywhere from two to four hours in this river.
Blue Springs State Park
Tubing in Florida wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Blue Springs State Park. This location is perfect for those who want to tube at a leisurely pace because of the wide nature of the river. It is the shortest tubing option in this list, but it is arguably one of the most enjoyable since you can almost guarantee a manatee sighting, during certain times of the year!
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Ichetucknee Springs is one of the best tubing locations not only in Florida but throughout the continental US. Several things make this destination a must-see. Aside from its sheer natural cypress-lined beauty, the spring water in the area remains relatively clear as it runs through the entirety of the state park.
If you are jumping off from the northern end, you can expect to float through the park for three to four hours. Those who are more interested in a shorter trip can jump off from the middle point of the water.
Safety & Tips for Natural River & Springs Tubing in Florida
Tubing in these major Florida’s state parks and natural springs is generally considered quite safe. However, as with everything in nature, there are certain things that you simply cannot anticipate. At the end of the day, especially where your family is concerned, it is always best to err on the side of safety.
After deciding where you and your family wish to go tubing, here are some precautions you should take to ensure everyone’s safety:
1. Check the Weather Conditions
Weather can change rapidly, especially in the tropical climate of Florida. The last thing you want your summer vacation is to be stuck in the middle of a river waiting out torrential rain or caught in a lightning storm! Before making the trip, check online for thunder storm warnings in the area you are visiting. Likewise, once you are at your location, it is a good idea to stay on top of weather warnings with your smartphone and using a weather app.
2. Protect Your Phone & Valuables
We understand that you will probably want to take photos of your tubing experience and also, your phone is a lifeline in case of emergencies! But it’s important to be prepared to protect it because you never know what could happen. We highly recommend bringing a dry bag with you. We have a few of them and they are fantastic and not very expensive.
You can put your towel and other valuables in them and secure them in the waterproof bag. Then just hook the bag on you or your tube and it will essentially float the river with you! Another option is to buy a smartphone plastic pouch that you can wear around your neck like a necklace. These are sold at many beach shops around Florida and are a great option for keeping your phone safe and dry!
3. Refrain from Drinking Alcohol
There are very few river tubing destinations in Florida that allow alcoholic beverages while floating, mostly because a lot of these places are located in state parks and other designated recreation areas. This rule is probably for the best since nature can be a fickle mistress. You’ll want to have complete control of your faculties in case something goes awry out on the water.
4. Watch Out for Wildlife
For the most part, wildlife sightings are a welcome part of tubing in Florida. However, it is still better to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife that might strike at any moment. This includes, but is not limited, to alligators!
Yes, alligators are all over Florida. While alligators tend to avoid crowds of people, you never know and should always be aware. Many people enjoy water activities such as tubing in Florida and are perfectly safe. However, we always say in Florida that anytime there is water you should be prepared to see a gator.
5. Avoid Tubing With Open Wounds / New Tattoos
River water is safe – unless you have an open wound. The water is teeming with bacteria that can enter your body through tiny wounds in the skin. It is best to postpone a tubing trip after getting a tattoo or if you have any kind of recent open wound. Four weeks is the ideal time to wait it out. There are very few things that put a damper on tubing in Florida vacation than an infection.
6. Beware of No Lifeguards
Keep in mind that some of these rivers and state parks may not have lifeguards around you at all times. So it’s important that you and your friends / family are good swimmers and that you wear the appropriate lifejackets to ensure everyone stays safe. Some parts of the water can get deep, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
7. Wear Bug Repellent
Being out in nature means that you are REALLY out in nature! And nature in Florida means mosquitos and other possible bugs!!! So it’s advisable that you wear bug repellent to help keep the bugs from ruining your trip down the river.
Best Resorts in Florida With Lazy Rivers for Tubing
If you prefer not to chance your day on the water with encountering an alligator, then you might prefer the safety of going tubing at a water park or resort. For most people, these destinations can be a calming retreat and there is some comfort knowing that you are in a safe environment and have lifeguards around.
Below are a few of the BEST resorts around Florida that are known to have some awesome lazy rivers for tubing!
Hammock Beach Resort
Are you visiting the Palm Coast? The Hammock Beach Resort is a must-see for those looking to float their troubles away! This resort boasts 91,000 square feet of water features. There truly is something for the whole family at Hammock Beach Resort! In fact, they have one of the most popular lazy river areas of any of the resorts listed here, it’s truly awesome!
Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort
Located in Orlando, this resort is an excellent destination for those who want more than a tubing excursion. Wyndham has world-class hotel rooms. It’s luxury at its finest! But what makes the experience even better is that they have a massive pool area with multiple lazy rivers to choose from. It’s always nice to have options when you want nothing more than relaxing on your tube!
Omni Orlando Resort
Arguably one of the most popular tubing options in the state, Omni Orlando Resort would make you feel like you are a kid again – excited to spend some fun time in the water. Aside from the 850-feet tubing areas, this resort also has a waterslide and a new wave pool! For a resort hotel, they offer a pretty great area for all the water-fun you want to have!
Four Seasons Resort
When it comes to Orlando tubing, the lazy river at the Four Seasons resort is the one to beat! This lazy river winds throughout the entire resort. It is safe enough for both kids and adults to enjoy!
Best Water Parks in Florida With Lazy Rivers for Tubing
Orlando, Florida, is known to be the theme park capital of the world. It isn’t surprising that most of the theme parks located in the area are decked with lazy rivers for the entire family! Below are three that offer a wide array of tubing activities ranging from serene to intense!
Blizzard Beach Water Park Lazy River
As far as we are concerned, Disney can do no wrong. And Blizzard Beach is no exception! In fact, this is one of our favorite waterparks in all of Orlando. Aside from the water amenities (and the super fun racing slides), this park has a great lazy river that meanders its way around the park, including multiple tunnels that are great for cooling off in the shade.
Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park Lazy River
Inspired by the natural beauty of the South Pacific, Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Park is home to 18 attractions! This is one of the newest water parks in the Orlando area and also one of the most popular. They have an awesome lazy river that’s perfect for relaxing after coming off one of those hair-raising slides!
Adventure Island Rambling Bayou Lazy River
Adventure Island’s lazy tubing experience is calm and relaxing. This half-mile tube strip takes you through a colorful artificial forest that features lush landscapes, tropical rainforest, and even mist and fog! It is excellent if you want to take a break from going through slides and rafting through other rough water attractions.
Have Fun & Don’t Forget the Sunblock!
Whether you are a resident of Florida or just visiting for a vacation, after a year of isolation and lockdowns many of us are aching to get out there and have some fun in the sun…and in the water! We hope these tubing options in Florida give you some ideas of how you can stay cool and have some fun at the same time. Lastly, don’t forget that sunblock! And re-apply kids…seriously…Florida sun is no joke and it sneaks up on you!