That elusive ideal and state of being.
Utter relaxation and internal peace.
Everything 2020 is NOT.
Listen, we don’t have the cure for 2020 and we can’t promise everlasting bliss, but we do know of a place that is downright delightful and is a pretty fantastic way to pretend this summer is better than it feels for a couple of hours.
And for this year, you know what, that’ll have to do!
Zen Tubing is located in Asheville – they have two locations and both of those spots put you on the lovely French Broad River.
My gang and I headed to their South location to celebrate my birthday. (It’s easy peasy to reach this one – you don’t even head into any sort of Asheville traffic, you just veer left at the Long Shoals Road exit.)
Currently all locations require reservations – but that’s actually a pretty convenient feature.
You can gather just the folks that live in your house or you can plan to meet some friends there. You’ll be on the river, in the sunshine (hopefully!) and you can keep your distance in the water. The shuttle ride to the starting point has seats marked off for every other row and you’ll need to wear your masks on the shuttle itself, but not on the river.
Plus, you can connect your tubes together if you want your kids to stay a little closer by your side. Clips are attached to the sides of each tube.
Here’s how it works:
- Make your reservations by calling Zen Tubing or filling out their online form right here.
- Pay when you reserve your date. Tubes are $25 each. Group rates get you down to $20 per tuber. (You need 20 folks to equal that group rate.)
- You can cancel with a full refund up to 24 hours before hand.
- The day of your tubing adventure, come dressed for the river. You’ll need shoes and you’re going to want a hat and sunglasses too. (There are no rapids so you likely won’t lose either of these items unless you’re just prone to tossing your shades in the air. Or, if you forget you’re wearing them when you go for a swim off your tube. But that’s on you!)
- Print out a waiver and fill it it out before you arrive – makes everyone’s job easier.
- Head on over to Zen Tubing.
- Apply that sunscreen!
- Grab your life jacket. They are required for tubers 13 and under and are available for anyone else who wants them.
- You leave your car at the Zen Tubing parking lot and ride a shuttle up to the drop off point.
- You can take as long as you want on the river. There is a cute little island with a picnic table on it if you want to take a break, have a picnic or swim around for a while.
- Remember – this is ZEN tubing – it’s slow and relaxing.
- When you finish you’ll be right where your car is waiting for you!
And a few more details:
There are three sizes of tubes – small, medium and large. We went with the large because we wanted that dreamy headrest to support our lounging plans. And, what’s even more fun is that there are tubes designed just for your cooler. They’re only $5 per tube, they attach to your own floating tube and you can bring snacks and drinks. (Just leave the glass bottles at home, please. And, of course, pack in and pack out – we want that French Broad to stay as pretty as possible!)
After your first tube – which we’re betting you’re going to love – you can head over to their desk and request a little frequent tuber card. You’ll want to do this because after two tube trips, the third one is free. And – they never expire so even if you head up once per summer, your third summer is a free ride!
We had a fabulous tubing day. The weather was dreamy at first – and then we did “enjoy” a pretty aggressive rain shower at one point. However – we were all so happy to be on the river and together that the downpour was just part of the adventure.
It’s a short (and always beautiful) drive over the mountain to our North Carolina neighbors for an afternoon of fun outdoor adventure. Since you’re driving that direction anyway, you can stop for lunch in Flat Rock or in Hendersonville to eat any of their fantastic restaurant options too. (We’re personally partial to HenDough and Hubba Hubba, but you’ve got a lot of delicious options.)
Then head back home to TR – where all travelers come to rest!
Photos by Hannah Wickline