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Salt River Tubing -- Mesa, Arizona

 Scenery along the Salt River, Arizona


Anyone who lives on the West Coast is only a few hours from a tubing experience so fun and so affordable, you’ll want to make weekly trips!  I’m talking about Salt River Tubing, located in Mesa, Arizona.  My husband and I were invited to experience the “floating picnic” and couldn’t resist making the trip and checking it out.  The area is so gorgeous!  As you float along the river, you’re surrounded by breathtaking views of the Arizona landscape.  Now add beer to the mix, and you’re in for a hell of a good time.


While you float along the river, you’ll be amazed at how beautiful the scenery is.  While the desert is hot and severe, there is also a lushness.  The gorgeous rock formations and shrubs take you to another place entirely.  I really did not know what to expect, but it was really breathtaking.  It almost feels like you are encapsulated in another world, as you look up from your tube and are completely surrounded by mountains on either side. The water is cold enough to keep you cool in the sweltering heat.  And the views while you laze down the river are extraordinary.


Here are some tips and tricks I picked up from our floating excursion. Get out there and experience the river, it’s a fantastic time!



  • If you are going to tie your tubes together, use quick-release knots. When you hit the small “rapids” this will help prevent your tube from flipping over!
  • Watch out for rocks! Keep your butt up in shallow water!
  • Use your head! See those branches coming up? Warn your friends and do your best to steer away from them.
  • Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Reapply as many times as necessary. Seriously, it was 108 when we were on the water!


  • Wear a swimsuit AND some type of cover-up. My sister in law typically goes with loose capris and a button up shirt. This greatly reduces your risk of sunburn! I did a tankini top and capris and was a happy camper the whole time.
  • Water shoes/dive booties. The river rocks are really slippery, you want to have some grip on your shoes. That means no flip flops! I saw several people slipping and hurting themselves who were wearing flops.
  • Wear a hat!

Food & Drink:

  • Bring a cooler that can fit into a large inner tube.
  • Easy snacks: chips, fruit, cookies, sandwiches.
  • Lots of water. It’s really important to stay hydrated, especially if you are drinking!
  • As far as alcohol goes, stay away from anything in a glass container, it is NOT allowed on the river and they do check your cooler! The hubs and I split a 6-pack of Shock Top in aluminum bottles which were recloseable. My brother-in-law opted for those premade alcoholic slushies, which by the way, he poured into a $2.79 travel mug for ease of consumption. Genius. We saw one guy gulping down Fireball Whiskey straight… Not genius, don’t be that guy! Be like me and drink cold beer!

Marga tubing down the Salt River, Arizona 

Extra Stuff:

  • Keep an extra bag handy for your trash. The river is beautiful, keep it that way.
  • You need 1 valid driver’s license per 3 tubes rented.  Each tube costs $17 for an all day rental and includes the shuttle bus from the rental place to the river, and back.
  • Sunglasses. Enough said.
  • Beach towels or old sheets to cover your tube. The tubes are made from black rubber and get pretty hot. Covering them keeps them much cooler.
  • Don’t take valuables! Leave as much as possible at home. I left my cellphone turned off in the glove compartment of the car so the thing wouldn’t melt. Yes, it’s THAT hot!


At the end of the day, we were tan, relaxed and happy. It was a super fun trip, and I would definitely make the five hour drive into Mesa to enjoy it again. Here is the link to the Salt River Tubing website so you can check it out yourself! It’s a cheap, fun way to have a river experience this summer!


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  • Scenery along the Salt River, Arizona
  • Marga tubing down the Salt River, Arizona

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Sounds like my kind of river cruise. It's fun in cooler climates, too: my experiences have been on the upper reaches of the Delaware, but the feeling of just "being there" must be similar!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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