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So I’ve been to New Hampshire several times and I have to say I always love the drive. It’s gorgeous with rolling hills and woodlands. I’ve gone there during the fall and it’s mind-blowingly beautiful. The drive is long for where I live in Arlington Massachusetts about 3 hours, but it is not a horrible drive at all. I did have to leave at around 6 in the morning to get to the Saco River Tubing Center on time.
They have 3 different lengths of the river for you to try. The first stretch of river is a mile long, which is fun, but in my opinion pretty short given the time you’ve taken to drive down there. The next one, and the one I enjoyed was the three-mile length of river. This can take about four to five hours to go down since the river doesn’t move that fast and there are places to stop along the way for lunch, so for me, this was perfect and the one I would recommend most. The last one is a five-mile one which I hope to one day do, but only if I didn’t have to drive three hours back home afterward!
You definitely need to reserve your spot by either calling them or going on their website. The issue isn’t tube rentals as much as it is room on the shuttle that takes you from their offices to the start of your journey, and if you chose to go on the three or five-mile ride, then they will also be shuttling you back to your car. So be sure to go to the website and reserve a time slot. It would be horrible if you just drove three hours only to find out that there wasn’t any room for you. Once you reserve a spot with them, you will get an email to fill out to make your process signing in faster. If (like me) you have some difficulty filling out the form they send you, don’t worry, you can fill it out when you get there.
The Tubes themselves are super comfortable with a headrest as well, which is absolutely needed. You can rent several things besides just a tube, like water shoes (in case you have to get out and walk your tube through shallow parts), suntan lotion, and even a cooler float rental! I wasn’t told that the cooler rental was separate from my tube (in the picture above, I thought I was just getting the green float and left behind the blue float shown in the background), and I ended up floating the first mile in the float made for a cooler….leaving my actual tube behind. Thankfully at the first stop, they gave me a replacement tube, but it was a bit weird to have all these people looking at me like I was being weird and not knowing why!
Also, expect to see a lot of families on this trip. I had a couple of groups try to recruit me because it was just weird that I was by myself, but as a natural introvert I enjoyed my solitary float down the river, and I found that once I put some headphones in, people kind of left me alone. It was just nice to enjoy the atmosphere and the woods and I need moments in nature to recharge my creative batteries, and that is often drained when I’m with a crowd.
For breakfast, I stopped at a location across the street called Banner’s. They had a great breakfast platter and a really nice fresh-squeezed orange juice mimosa that I enjoyed. For lunch, I highly recommend bringing a small picnic! There aren’t any facilities along the way including places where you can buy food, but there are several small sandy banks where people often pull over and have some sandwiches and fun on rope swings. Beer is also allowed so long as it doesn’t come in a glass container. The reason is they want to make sure no one has to worry about getting cut while wadding down the river. I packed a sandwich, and some snacks to have along the way.
Also, don’t bring anything you don’t want to get wet. I left my purse at home in favor of just bringing a credit card, drivers license, my phone, and a book and my phone barely survived. After being dropped/plunged into the river after my tube flipped after hitting a rock, I really wished I had bought a waterproof case for my phone!
The truth is, this trip was really relaxing and extremely beautiful. If you decide to go please let me know either in the comments below or by tagging me on your social media. I LOVE seeing other people’s experiences. I wish you a wonderful time and a wonderful day!