The lazy days of summer are here and what better way to beat the heat and have a blast with your kids than by floating down a scenic river in an inner tube. Before you go, check in with the tubing company on the weather, water levels, river conditions and to confirm the rental includes life vests. Then grab plenty of waterproof sunscreen, water shoes and get set to go with the flow.
River Rat Rentals, Kam River, Thunder Bay
The Kaministiquia River flows down from the spectacular Kakabeka Falls into Lake Superior in Thunder Bay. Rent your tube from River Rat Rentals in Stanley, just west of the city. They’ll also arrange shuttle service to collect you at the end of the ride.
Where to stay: If your crew can’t get enough of splashing in the water, TownePlace Suites by Marriott in Thunder Bay would make a great family base with the indoor pool, fully equipped kitchens and complimentary breakfast.
Chillin’ N Tubing, Vermillion River, Chelmsford
The ultimate day of tubing and chillaxing awaits just northwest of Sudbury. Set out on a slow float down the Vermillion River for a couple of hours in innertubes that come equipped with built-in coolers for cold drinks and snacks!
Where to stay: You’ve got plenty of options for places to stay in Sudbury, not to mention great attractions like Science North and Dynamic Earth to round out a family road trip.
Elora Gorge Park, Grand River, Elora
One of Ontario’s prettiest little towns is also one of the province’s best places for river tubing. The gorge is a scenic set of rapids and cascades that are super fun to ride via inner tube. The park is open daily until September, just make sure to check water conditions and safety guidelines in advance.
Where to stay: The park offers both serviced and basic sites for camping plus a large splashpad so families can make it a multi-day, water-filled vacation.
Minden River Run, Gull River, Minden Hills
The Gull River flows languidly down from Haliburton through Minden Hills, where family-owned Minden River Run is ready to introduce you to your new favourite happy place – floating blissfully down this pretty waterway. Operating weekends only, you’re encouraged to pre-book your preferred float time.
Where to stay: Just north of Minden, Ogopogo Resort is a year-round lakeside cottage resort that’s perfectly designed for summer family fun. Or find another family-friendly resort nearby – this is the gateway to cottage country.
Tubing the Grand, Grand River, Cambridge
Reserve the 10am or 3pm departure time for the float-of-a-lifetime down one of Ontario’s Heritage Rivers. The two to three-hour trip starts at the launch site in the Village of Blair and the lazy current carries you along eight kilometres of scenic river through a protected Eagle Habitat and Nature Reserve to Old Galt in Cambridge. Consider a detour to Indulge for a giant gourmet ice cream waffle cone to top off a perfect summer day.
Where to stay: Bingemans in nearby Kitchener is ideal for families. Filled with an endless roster of entertainment options, camping at the resort varies from tent sites to rustic cabins and upcycled container cabins.
Saugeen Springs RV Park, Saugeen River, Hanover
Tubing ride times vary with the water levels, but basically you can alternate between the shorter 45-minute run or the two-hour run from the Saugeen Springs RV Park in Hanover. The park offers camping, RV rentals, cabins and cottages, but also provides tubing day packages for visitors during the weekdays. After riding your river donut, savour a tastier version. Schultz’s Gone Totally Baked is a local staple for delicious donuts and other baked goods in town.
For even more family summer fun ideas, on the water and on dry ground, visit ontariotravel.net.