Shenandoah National Park Tubing & Fun Activities (2023)

Tubing in the Shenandoah River

Settled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, somewhere between Washington, D.C. and Roanoke, you’ll find Shenandoah National Park. Shenandoah offers a wide array of recreational activities for its visitors. 

Tubing in Shenandoah is one of the most popular activities among visitors. It is the perfect way to take in the scenery of the Shenandoah River and stay cool on a hot summer day. In fact, Shenandoah was voted one of the Top 5 Tubing Rivers in America in USA Today’s Top 10 Poll. 

This article will cover tips on planning a tubing trip in Shenandoah National Park, other activities to participate in, and where to stay nearby. Let’s get started!

About Shenandoah National Park 

Entrance Sign along road to Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah is a national treasure that offers over 200,000 acres of preserved forest & Skyline Drive vistas. The park was established in 1935 and in 1976, Congress declared almost half of the park as protected wilderness. 

Shenandoah National Park has preserved a slice of the southern Appalachian trail history, which you can see in the wildlife, scenic waterfalls, walking trails, and mature nature surrounding the rivers. This makes it one of the best places along the east coast for the whole family to have some outdoor adventures! 

Visitors of the park can enjoy activities like hiking, tubing, kayaking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and more. The park even has live events such as live music, yoga, and wildness classes. 

Tubing at Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah River State Park provides a flat water tubing experience. Some call this a “lazy river ride” because of the relaxing experience. This is a great activity for adults, families, and large groups. The summer months are a great time to visit this park because you’ll be able to soak up the sun’s rays and immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery of the beautiful Shenandoah River while floating along! Below is a breakdown of information on rentals, requirements, and tips for tubing in Virginia’s rivers at Shenandoah National Park. 

Rentals and Reservations for Tubing:

Harper’s Ferry Adventure Center is one of the longest-operating river outfitters in the region. They provide reservations and tube rentals for all the gear you will need on your Shenandoah river adventure. There are a ton of different tubes to choose from, including the standard tube, deluxe tube, and the tube tracker. You can even rent cooler tubes to bring refreshments on your tubing adventure! 

  • Hours: Weekends: 9 am – 4 pm, Weekdays: 10 am – 3 pm
  • Flat Water Tubing Rates: Monday – Friday: $31.13 / person, Sat, Sun & Holidays: $40.57 / person

Rules, Requirements, and Tips for Tubing: 

  • Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult or reserve a guide.
  • Guests must weigh no more than 300 pounds.
  • Do not bring jewelry, valuables, or electronics (that means cell phones!) with you while tubing. 

What to Wear for Tubing: 

  • For safety reasons, flip-flops are not allowed for tubing. You must have shoes with an ankle strap. 
  • It is recommended to wear swimsuits or other clothing you don’t mind getting wet. Whatever you would be comfortable swimming in!
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses and hats for those mainly sunny days. 

To learn more information or make your reservations, click here!

Other Things to Do at Shenandoah National Park 

Mom and Daughter Hiking in Virginia

1. Hiking

With over 500 miles of trails to explore, you will have a hard time choosing which hiking trail to take within Shenandoah National Park. There are classic destinations and lesser-known paths. Either way, this is a great way to experience the diverse wildlife, dense forest, and beautiful views of the Virginia Appalachians. 

Here are the top 10 hikes to explore in Shenandoah National Park: 

  1. Browns Gap Waterfall Loop
  2. Furnace Mountain
  3. Loft Mountain Loop
  4. Stony Man Loop
  5. Rapidan Camp
  6. Whiteoak Canyon Falls
  7. Hawksbill
  8. Mary’s Rock
  9. Dickey Ridge Loop
  10. Old Rag

2. Horseback Riding 

Horseback riding at Shenandoah National Park is considered one of the best ways to experience the beauty of the park. 

Guided tours are available from June 3rd through October 30th. You can reserve your hose or pony ride at Skyland Stables. Prices vary on time and the type of horse chosen. 

3. Rock Climbing 

Rock climbing is another popular activity for the visitors of Shenandoah National Park. The park offers rock climbing and rappelling classes with mountain guides. This ensures climbers of all ability levels feel safe. 

Classes are available between April 19th and October 30th on Tuesdays and Thursdays and cost $160 per climber. 

4. Fishing

The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is a great place to fish. The South Fork Shenandoah River begins at the junction of the North River and South River near Port Republic. The river waters are made up of surface runoff of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Allegheny Mountains, Massanutten Mountain, and groundwater from the Shenandoah Valley and Page Valley.

This section of the river has a reputation for being one of the best places to catch smallmouth bass. In fact, the population of smallmouth bass is larger in this river than in any other in Virginia. Average catch rates can be up to 4 fish per hour! Additional fish you may find are largemouth bass, crappie, and sun fish. 

Where to Stay Near Shenandoah National Park

Woman and Dog on Cabin Porch in Hammock

1. Skyland

Lodging accommodations at Skyland range from premium rooms to detached small cabins, preferred and traditional rooms, suites, and pet-friendly rooms. 

The accommodations are scattered across 28 separate buildings along the ridge. This eco-friendly resort spans over 27 acres of Shenandoah National Park! 

For booking and more information, click here! 

2. Big Meadows Lodge 

Big Meadows Lodge is located at Mile 51 of Skyline Drive. Unlike Skyland which is along the ridge, Big Meadows is (you guessed it) along the meadow! This provides beautiful nighttime views for stargazers. 

Accommodations can be chosen from main lodge rooms, detached small cabins, preferred and traditional rooms, suites, and pet-friendly rooms.

For booking and more information, click here! 

3. Lewis Mountain Cabins 

Lewis Mountain Cabins provide the most authentic Shenandoah experience. There are no in-room phones or internet access, leaving you to connect with nature. Some consider this the best way to experience the mountain’s beauty! These historic cabins are settled within the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Accommodations include one and two bedroom cabins, as well as a hikers cabin and pet-friendly cabin. 

For booking and more information, click here! 

Summary to Shenandoah National Park Tubing & Other Activities

Shenandoah National Park is the treasure of the Virginia Appalachians. The park has been perfectly preserved for almost 50 years, allowing nature to flourish. It is a popular tourist destination for couples and families looking to experience the Virginia area wilderness at its finest. 

At Shenandoah, you won’t have to worry about boredom. Activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing hiking, and tubing will keep you busy. For an authentic outdoor experience, stay at one of Shenandoah’s eco-friendly lodges such as Skyland, Blue Meadow, or Lewis Mountain Cabins. If you want to explore more of Virginia, George Washington National Forest, Goshen Park, Luray Caverns, and Massanutten Mountain are all just a short drive away. 

Looking for more Southern vacation destinations? Travel south down the Blue Ridge Mountains to explore some of the quaintest cities in Georgia, or go coastal and visit the beaches in Johns Island, South Carolina. 

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