A Day Out{side} Zen Tubing In Asheville, N.C.

Zen Tubing is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a large, round float that comfortably carries you along a river’s natural flow.

By Jessalyn Adams
Explore Ambassador

Zen Tubing is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a large, round float that comfortably carries you along a river’s natural flow. There’s no rush or major paddling. There may be a few small rapids or shoals, but nothing you won’t glide across fairly easily. The scenery is gorgeous and it’s very, very relaxing.

(Photo: Jessalyn Adams)

I went with a large group for my best friend’s bachelorette party. There were about 18 of us in the group, and the trip down the French Broad River went smoothly. We met up at the Zen Tubing Midtown/River Arts District location, got our rafts and gear and took off.

A bus takes you from the parking location to where the float begins. The float lasts around two to three hours. We wanted to make sure our group stayed together, so it was nice to find tethers on all the rafts to easily connect us. Entry into the water is accessible to most. You walk down a large wooden staircase to push off and start the float.

(Photo: Jessalyn Adams)

The water is gentle enough and shallow enough in most places to hop off your float to swim or cool off. My favorite part though had to be the rope swing. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re in good health, able to hold yourself on a rope and willing to take the risk, it’s definitely an adrenaline rush. The swing is set up so you drop in one of the deeper sections of the river. Just make sure you tether your float to the bank so you don’t lose it.

Further along the float, you’re guaranteed to meet some friendly ducks. Our group saw several geese and ducks, and they were obviously used to floaters because we were able to get very close to them without them taking off. You’ll want to leave them alone, but definitely enjoy the fact they’ll graze by your float.

The float ends at the parking location. Zen Tubing attendants help you exit at another large wooden staircase up the bank and take your floats for you.

A few key things to know: You must plan ahead and purchase tickets in advance. There are limited spots available daily, so you have to reserve your time and enough spaces for your entire group. You also need to fill out the online waiver before going. There are two locations to start the float, and the other location’s float lasts a little longer.

Like just about every activity on the water, you’ll want to make sure you have water shoes, sunscreen, a towel, hat or visor and plenty of water to drink. However, since this float ends where you arrive, you don’t need to take your towel with you.

(Photo: Jessalyn Adams)

I’m a fan of having a dry bag and a waterproof phone case for any water activity. It keeps my phone dry and protected so I can take photos and videos on the water, and even shoot underwater. The dry bag keeps towels, clothes, a picnic blanket and other personal belongings dry, and, depending on which one you buy, it will float and have hooks on it so it can attach to your float without taking up space in it.

Even though it was overcast for our trip, it was still hot. Bring water with you. Depending on how long your float will last, you may want to throw snacks in the cooler.

(Photo: Jessalyn Adams)

You can rent a cooler float from Zen Tubing for $5 to keep your water and snacks nearby during the day. If you like to tube a lot, there are some great floating coolers on the market like this one. Geaux Saints.

(Photo: Jessalyn Adams)

The trip costs $20 if you bring your own tube and $25 if you decide to use one of theirs. They also offer season passes and frequent floater options. Since this was just a day outside for a weekend trip, our group went with the day float.

This was one of the best adventures I’ve been on, and if you plan on taking a trip to North Carolina anytime soon, I definitely recommend kicking back and relaxing down the river with Zen Tubing.

Related Articles

Always be ready to go with the Go Out{side} Email Newsletter

Don’t miss out on new Go Out{side} news, tips and tricks.