Bring sunscreen, bottled water, snacks in waterproof wrappers, sun hats, river shoes, bathing suits and cover-ups for each member of your group. Consider investing in a "dry bag"--a heavy-duty plastic storage bag with a waterproof seal. Use it for valuables, such as your wallet and camera.
Park a car at the point where you want to exit the river, so you can shuttle back into town. Alternatively, arrange transportation and river tubes through a local outdoor company. If you are not familiar with the area, go to the local visitors center for tubing and transportation information.
Classic River Tubing on the West Coast
In Northern California, try the Truckee River between Tahoe City and Alpine Meadows. The river follows State Highway 89, so you can shuttle your own cars. If you are looking for an adventure closer to the coast, explore the Lower American River as it flows through Sacramento.
Classic River Tubing in the Rockies
In Colorado, a great choice is the Yampa River from the Fifth Street Bridge in Steamboat Springs to the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge outside of town. The float takes about an hour and local outdoor companies, including Backdoor Sports, 9th and Yampa Avenue, are happy to outfit and transport rafters. Boulder Creek and the St. Vrain River provide great tubing options in Boulder, Colo. Contact Whitewater Tube Co., at 1717 15th St. (720-379-6055), for more information.
Classic River Tubing on the East Coast
In the New York-New Jersey area, the Delaware River offers several scenic tubing stretches. One of the most easily accessible starting points is in Frenchtown, N.J. Contact the Delaware River Tubing Company for more information at 908-996-5386. Maine offers beautiful river tubing as well. Explore the Kennebec River with a variety of tubing companies, such as Bullfrog Adventures (207-672-9298).