North of Grand Rapids, in western Michigan, the winding rivers of Newaygo County provide an idyllic spot for fun outdoor summertime traditions like river tubing. While more than half of the county is situated in the Manistee National Forest, the other half boasts similarly wooded land, luscious forests and other natural wonders. The White River and Muskegon River, which wind their way through Newaygo County, attract visitors who are looking to spend a day splashing in the water and enjoying the beauty of Michigan nature while floating down the river.
While Newaygo County boasts a number of rivers and streams, the Muskegon River is a hub for many company organized tubing trips. The Muskegon River, Michigan's second longest river, provides tubing adventurers with lovely views as it winds its way through thick forests and areas with high banks. Guests often also observe wildlife, such as birds or fish in the clear, crisp water below. The river's current is strong enough to pull the tubes along, yet gentle enough to make it safe for adventurers of all skill levels.
Planning a tubing trip can be challenging, especially when it comes to figuring out the details of returning to a car parked upstream. A number of companies in Newaygo County rent tubes and handle the transportation. Wisner's in Newaygo (wisnercanoes.com), Salmon Run Campground, paired with Vic's Canoes in Grant (salmonrunmi.com), River Rat Canoe Rental in Grant (riverratcanoerental.com), Croton Dam Float Trips in Newaygo (wwofn.tripod.com) all rent tubes, along with other river-friendly transportation, such as canoes and kayak, and provide transportation for the adventurers to get upstream.
Rental companies bus visitors up-river, where they embark on their tubing trip. After floating downstream for about two to five hours, depending on the length of the route and the strength of the current, adventurers eventually reach the end point, where they exit the water, return their rental tubes and head back to their cars. Tube rentals cost about $15 to $16. Adventurers who own tubes, but wish to use a company's trip services, are often charged about $10 a person. Many companies also rent cooler tubes: these flat-bottomed tubes come with a rope to help secure the visitors' coolers so they can enjoy some food or beverages during their day of tubing.
Tips and Suggestions
There are many items that make a tubing journey safer and more enjoyable. Children or inexperienced river swimmers should wear a life jacket to keep them safe. Protect feet from sharp rocks by wearing water shoes. Sunscreen and sunglasses with a strap shield adventurers from the sun's harmful UV rays. While its best to keep expensive or water-sensitive belongings, like jewelry or electronics, at home, tether necessary objects like car keys or glasses with clips or straps.
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