Tubing on the Delaware River

On Tuesday, Maria, Kim, and I drove out to Point Pleasant, PA to go tubing on the Delaware River.  Never having tubed on the Delaware before, we (er, Kim) looked it up online and found Bucks County River Country.  (Warning: worst website of all time.  No, really.  Don’t go to the site.  If you do, by all means, do NOT click on the high-speed/DSL/Cable version.  Otherwise your nightmares will look like this, except that everything on the page will be sliding, spinning, falling, or flying, and there will be awful music blaring without so much as a warning.  Besides this one.)

Website aside, Bucks County River Country is a pretty nice operation.  You park in their parking lot ($5), pay for the tube ride/rental ($18), get on the bus, and they drive you a few miles upriver.  That whole process takes maybe 20 minutes, not counting the time it takes you to put on your sunblock.

You can choose to get off the bus at the 3 mile point, 4.5 mile point, or 6 mile point, which will make your tube trip 2, 3, or 4 hours long, respectively.  We got there relatively late in the day (around 3 PM) so our only options were the 2 and 3 hour trips.  I was thinking that 2 hours in a tube would be plenty of time, mainly because I thought that by 3 or 4 hours I would be starving to death and dehydrated, so we did the 2 hour trip.

Our 3-mile tubing trip actually turned out to only take 90 minutes though, probably because the river was about 2 feet high due to recent rainstorms.  They told us about the water level beforehand, but didn’t mention that it would make the river run significantly faster and therefore make our ride shorter.  In any case, the time went by quickly, and we all wanted to stay longer.

Tubing down the Delaware was tons of fun.  I say that as someone who loves rivers and lakes, though, and thinking about it, it kind of seems like it’d be really boring sitting there in a tube for hours.  But it totally wasn’t, and I can’t wait to do it again.

I had originally planned to get a mesh bag or a small net to stick a bottle of water and some zip-locked snacks into, to tie onto my tube so I wouldn’t die of thirst or starvation during the journey.  But their website says you can’t bring in food or beverages and you can’t take cans or bottles on the river.  So I was bummed about that, and as I said, that was part of the reason I wanted to do the shorter run.  But then when we got there, the girl told us "we’re not very strict", and in fact you can take that stuff with you.  They even sell bottled water and rope to secure stuff to your tube, both of which I bought.

Another thing the website tricks you about is reservations: it says they’re required.  But we called and they said we wouldn’t need them.  It apparently gets crowded on the weekends, but it was pretty sparse when we were there.  There were probably a few dozen people on the river with us, but we were spread out across 3 miles and the width of the river, so there were only a couple people anywhere close to us.

One of the guys at Bucks County River Country told me that there are no dams nor waterfalls between Point Pleasant and the Atlantic Ocean, which seems unlikely, but if true, it’d be cool to go all the way out there.  It’d take forever in a tube, but still.  And while the Pennsylvania side of the river is mostly private property around Point Pleasant, the New Jersey side is mostly public land, so if you brought your own raft you could put in wherever you wanted and go forever.  Just remember to take 2 cars and leave one at the endpoint.

Below is a map of our route.

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Posted by Anthony on 2 replies


01. Jul 31, 2008 at 09:45pm by Kev:

Dude! I totally went tubing in that exact spot! See on your map where it says "Treasure Island?" It’s a Boy Scout camp that I spent a week at each summer as a teenager. Good times there and on the neighboring Marshall Island.
Fun fact: each island in the Delaware alternates states. I believe Marshall Island is NJ, Treasure Island is PA.
Yeesh, I feel a bit old since that was back in the early 90s. Anyway, great memories. Canoeing on the Delaware in the same location is lots of fun too. I think we started in Frenchtown, NJ which is a few miles further upstream. See this map. Good times! Thanks for sharing the adventure.

02. Aug 1, 2008 at 01:48am by Kimberly:

Note that the website for the competing company, Delaware River Tubing (on the Jersey side), was also terrible. There must be some fierce competition, because the Bucks County River Country folks warned us several times about the pricey hot dogs from (and the likelihood that we would be harassed by) the "Famous River Hot Dog Man". Supposedly, if you tube with Delaware River Tubing, you get a free meal. The price, however, is $9.95 without the meal and $15.95 with the meal. Reminds me a little bit of the weekend special where I used to lifeguard: You could buy a hot dog for $.50 and a soda for $.50, but on the weekend, you could get both together for a dollar...

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