How to have the best tubing experience:
Looking for an easy group water activity? Tube the Catawba River with your own tube on your own time! We recently had friends in town and instead of hitting the breweries, we hit the water. We bought our tubes from Academy Sports (don't forget one for your cooler!) and rope to connect them, then headed down to the water. We dropped in at the Lake Wylie Dam but before you do that, you will need to park one car at Riverwalk Carolinas so that when you "land" you have a ride back up to your car at the Dam.
Floating from the Dam to Riverwalk Carolinas is about 3.5 hours depending on the river that day, so lather up the sunscreen! You will need to paddle every now and then to avoid fallen trees or stumps, so bring your sense of humor and water shoes in case you need to hop out – there’s usually one brave soul who does!
After a tubing adventure, we typically head to a nearby establishment for some grub such as Brass Tap for beer lovers, Grapevine for vino friends, Legal Remedy Riverwalk or the Pump House if you clean up well after a day on the river.
Items we recommend bringing: tubes, rope, water shoes, waterproof cover for your phone (Ziploc bag works), drinks, koozies, snacks, waterproof speaker, sunscreen, change of clothes, towels, hat and friends!
Safety Tips from the Tega Cay Fire Dept:
- ALWAYS wear a life jacket - South Carolina law requires ALL children under the age of 12 to wear a life jacket on vessels under 16ft in length
- Make sure that you have the correct type of life jacket for your trip - find the best one for your age/height/weight here
- If you're bringing a pet with you, make sure that they also have a life jacket - even if they can swim!
- NEVER tie your floats/tubes together - if one device pops or gets stuck, this will then impact all other devices that it is tied to
- Pool floats ARE NOT considered a water vessel or safe for river use
Planning Your Float
- Map out your route - be prepared by bringing enough water and snacks, a flashlight in case it gets dark outside, and a way to call for help
- ALWAYS let someone know where you're going and about how long it'll take you
- Have a plan for pickup at your end destination
- Have a plan in place in the event of an emergency - whether you're stranded, get separated from your group, etc.
- Lake Wylie Dam to Riverwalk : 3.5 miles = approximately 2 to 3 hours to float
- Riverwalk to Catawba Nation : 10.5 miles = approx. 5 to 9 hours to float
- Catawba Nation to Landsford Canal : 9.7 miles = approximately 5 to 8 hours to float
- Riverwalk to River Park : 2.9 Miles = 2 to 3 hours to float