Grab some friends, a cooler full of beer, and a ton of sunscreen and spend the day floating down the river! Tubing the Chattahoochee River is a popular summer activity for Atlanta‘s locals and tourists alike, earning it’s own rhyming nickname: Shoot the Hooch. And there’s no better way to cool off than an ice cold dip in the Chattahoochee.
Are you looking for the perfect outdoor adventure in Atlanta? Tubing on the Chattahoochee River is an exhilarating escapade that is sure to offer up a spectacular day of beauty and fun.
Experience this unique Atlanta summer activity as you drift along the cool and calm waters of the Chattahoochee.
Learn how to plan the ultimate tubing trip with this article, which will provide you with the information you need about where and when to Shoot the Hooch, what equipment you will need, and tips for having a safe and enjoyable trip down the river.
Know the Hooch
The name Chattahoochee comes from the Muskogean meaning marked or painted rocks. The name refers to the colorful granite outcroppings along the northeast-to-southwest segment of the river that runs through the Brevard fault zone. To Georgia locals, the Chattanooga River is known as the Hooch.
Shoot the Hooch
You have two options for shooting the Hooch: you can do it yourself, or you can book a spot with an outfitter.
Shooting the Hooch with an Outfitter
If you don’t want to launch yourself, there are plenty of outfitters to choose from who will rent out tubes, life jackets, and coolers and will bus you to a launch point on the river.
This Chattahoochee River Tubing Experience with Nantahala Outdoor Center is a great option that launches from just outside the I-285 Perimeter. You can take a 2 hour or a 4 hour trip down the river over gentle currents. It’s the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area’s only on-site outfitter.
Shooting the Hooch Yourself
I highly recommend launching yourself, however. Especially if you’re a local and plan on tubing multiple times throughout the summer. All you really need are tubes, life vests, and a couple cars. If you want to really make the experience, though, you can find everything you need to shoot the hooch yourself here.
Once you’ve gotten everything you need, all you have to do is find a place to launch. There are a lot of places you can start, like from the parking lot of the Cochran Shoals Trail. We typically launch from Don White Memorial Park and float to Chattahoochee River Park.
When you launch yourself, you’ll need two cars. It can take a lot of logistics and planning to get everyone where they need to be for launching and take-out, but it saves a lot of money if you plan on tubing all summer long.
Our drop-off method typically goes like this: Drop off the tubes and most of our party at the launch point; inflate the tubes using car pumps; the two drivers take both cars to the take-out point; they leave one car and both ride back to the launch point in the other; then we float down the river to the take-out point; the two drivers take the car back to the launch point; finally, they bring both cars back to the take-out point to load everything up.
On the River
The Chattahoochee River is very cold. The water is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit when it comes out of the dam. The rest of the day, the river is typically 65-68 degrees. The worst part is first stepping into the river, trying to get into deep enough water to float and trying to corral your fleet of tubes together.
The best thing to do is to tie all your tubes together (but not with the life vests that you’re required to have handy) so your group doesn’t get separated. Once you’re all pulled together with your cooler floating between you and your butt has gone numb from the coldness of the water, you’re free to relax and drink and tan as you drift down the river.
At the end point, you’ll have to again corral your tube fleet to the side of the river and dip your feet back into the ice cold water to exit, but by then you’re usually numb to the cold!
Don’t forget to check out my complete Shoot the Hooch Packing Guide so you don’t forget anything important on the river!
More Summer Fun in Atlanta
Find even more fun summer activities in and around Atlanta, Georgia! Check out these posts for your summer inspiration:
- Top Things To Do During Summer in Atlanta, Georgia
- The Best Rooftop Bars in Atlanta, Georgia
- Georgia Hikes: Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail
Ready to Shoot the Hooch in Atlanta, Georgia? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book Your Flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Atlanta using Hotels.com.
- Save on Attractions: Save 40% on admission to Atlanta’s top attractions using the Atlanta CityPASS.
Have you gone tubing on the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, Georgia? Let me know in the comments!