Tubing: Summer in the South

It’s that time again! The almost annual Cousin Float is upon us. Since I was young, my family has made a tradition of renting tubes and floating down a creek or river. There are many benefits to tubing, if you’ve never had the pleasure.

It’s a good way to cool off in the heat of summer. That water is cold, hence the name Coldwater Creek, so it has to be hot outside to endure the water temperature. In the photo above, that’s me on the left with the chattering teeth. If you get overheated, just dip you head back or hop off your tube and go for a swim.


Tubing is a good way to get Vitamin D. Since we start floating early in the day, the sunscreen is applied early and often for those of us who are fair haired and fair skinned. The cousins with the strongest Cherokee genes will be a nice brown by the time we take the tubes out of the water. I usually get home to find one burned place I missed with the SPF— top of one foot, bend of a knee, top of an ear. A dab of gel from the aloe vera plant fixes me right up.



It’s a social event that will be talked about until the next year and beyond. One of the most often heard questions at my family gatherings is: “You remember that time…?” Tubing with a group of family or friends is a great way to make memories. How well you remember, might depend upon what beverage you have sitting on ice in your cooler. You have to rent an extra tube for the cooler but it’s necessary if you plan to spend the day floating, so you don’t get dehydrated. It’s also great to have snacks but remember to take your trash with you. There’s no sense in dirtying up the waterscape or the landscape.


Finally, tubing is fun without requiring much effort. You sit your butt in a tube and let the current carry you downstream. Sometimes, you drift in one direction and bump into another tube. You tie up or hold on in order to float along with that tuber until it’s time to let go. If someone passes you and gets farther downstream, either they have to stop and wait (plenty of shoreline to take a break) or you have to paddle with your hands to catch up. I can assure you there is more stopping than paddling. Everyone is there to relax on the lazy river.


Tubing is one way we enjoy summer in the south. How do you stay cool in the summer heat?