10 Canadian Rivers to Float Your Troubles Away

River tubing is the ultimate summer activity. There is something inside each of us that craves navigating a winding river under the hot sun, acting like we are children again. It is also one of the best ways to experience nature and surrounding wildlife. Whether you are looking for an exhilarating ride or the ultimate lazy river, Canada is the perfect country to find it. Here are 10 rivers to float down, inner tube style, from coast to coast.

10. Kettle River, B.C

One of the favorite ways to spend a sunny day for locals here is to grab an inner tube and float from the Kettle River Provincial Park to Rock Creek. The journey takes about three to four hours and you must ensure you have a car parked on either end as there are no river operators here to shuttle you back. This float experience is full of sandy beaches to stop at and many unique swimming holes. If you do head out late in the season, the water will be at its lowest and you can expect to walk some of the river. There are both rapids, snags and still water along the river and it is recommended you are a good swimmer, or wear a life jacket at all times.

Kettle River, B.C.

9. The Massawippi River, QB

In the tiny town of Lennoxville, Bishops University students flock to the Massawippi River for “the float”. This tradition of floating down the river on some sort of inflatable device has been a time honored tradition for years. Don’t expect any crazy rapids here, just a leisurely float down the waters. Students come in the hundreds to hit the river on a hot sunny day, with just a bit of a breeze that is needed to push them along. The float takes a couple hours to complete if you head to the drop-off point and float back into town. There is no shortage of inflatable rafts or tubes to buy in this tiny town, just head to one of the stores and have your pick. Or perhaps even stop by one of the frat houses and they may just lend you one. In a town of students, we ensure you that this float will be unforgettable, made more so by the people you will interact with.

Tubing River

8. Similkameen River, B.C

Folks here have been drifting along this river for generations, making it one of the most popular summer activities in the valley. There are no river outfitters here so you will have to bring your own tube or flotation device, as well as arrange pickup at your final destination. There are multiple routes to take here, ranging from two hours to five hours, depending on the water levels. The crystal clear river, ranch lands dotted with cattle and eagles taking flight are just a handful of the beautiful scenery. There are plenty of spots to stop along the way to have a picnic, splash in the shallow waters and meet up with other tubers. Just make sure to slather on the sunscreen and toss away all worries before you head on this relaxing float.

Similkameen River, B.C.

7. The Gaspereau River, NS

Every year hundreds of people flock to Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau River to enjoy a casual float. You don’t need to worry about having your own tube here as there are plenty of places near the entrance of the river that rent them. If you are looking for more of an inflatable boat though, you will have to bring your own. The river winds through a hidden, yet scenic valley that features both vineyards and farmlands and doesn’t take you much more than 30 minutes to complete. Water ranges from tranquil and clear to small rapids and is perfect for the entire family. Make sure you bring two vehicles with you though as the walk back is over 2.5 km. It is important to check out the water conditions before you head to the river though as water levels do fluctuate from day to day and are sometimes too low to tube.

Photo by: Gaspereau River Tubing
Photo by: Gaspereau River Tubing

6. Elora River, ON

Tubing down the Elora River in Ontario is a fun and exciting way to see the wonders of the Elora Gorge. It is a two kilometer stretch that is filled with white water rapids, incredible scenery and towering cliffs. The journey takes about an hour and you can either bring your own tube or rent equipment from the park, which offers a tube, life jacket and helmet; the helmet and life jacket are mandatory. You can tube the river as many times as you want as long as you pay once and we guarantee you will want to go a few times. Tubing this river will most likely result in you falling off your tube at some point, or hanging on for dear life as the rapids can toss you around. Therefore this is not recommended for young children and children must be over 42 inches tall. If you want thrills, this is the river for you.

Elora, ON

5. Shuswap River, B.C

Generations of people have floated along the Shuswap River, curling its way across the valley between Mabel and Mara Lakes. It is best known for its epic scenery of forested canyons, fields of green and gold and the occasional wandering herd of cattle. There are several distinct tubing routes to choose from along the river depending how much time you want to spend in the river. From one hour rides to seven hour rides, you can spend the whole day here or just your lunch break. Grab your life jacket, inflatable raft, sunscreen and adventurous spirit and head to the river. Keep your eyes peeled for River Ambassadors who are stationed at the hand-launch stations along the river. They will help you plan out your route depending on conditions, direct to you the hand-launches and the put-in and pull-out points along the way.

Shuswap River, B.C.

4. South Thompson River, B.C

One of the most popular ways to spend a hot Kamloops day is to join the hundreds of people who are tubing down the South Thompson River. The Thompson River is the largest tributary of the Fraser River and has two major branches, the South portion flowing approximately 55 km. Park one vehicle at Pioneer Park and head out in the other to the Valleyview boat launch. It is here where you will start your tubing adventure and it is essential you have your own floating devices with you as there is nowhere to rent them. Many floaters on this river even bring along an extra cargo boat in which you can load up your supplies such as snacks and beverages for the four hour float. Along the way you will find a number of sandy beaches, perfect for picnics and swims and plenty of other friendly floaters to chat with.

Photo by: Alan Levine via Flickr
Photo by: Alan Levine via Flickr

3. Cowichan River, B.C

It might just be the number one way to spend a hot summer day, tubing down the Cowichan River on Vancouver Island. Think of crystal clear waters and stunning scenery, a float that takes you just a few hours to complete. You can either bring your own tube or rent one from The Tube Shack, the same company that will provide you with a ride back to your car for just $5. Depending on the river conditions floaters can expect the first portion of the river to be calm and serene while the second half does pick up and offer a few small rapids. Many tubers recommended bringing a paddle and if you have kids, you will want to tie your tubes to theirs. The locals here have even put floating refuse containers in the middle of the river to help keep the littering to none, make sure you use them!

Cowichan River, B.C.

2. Pembina River, AB

The best way to see this beautiful river is to float down it with the gentle current. Most people choose to use Pembina River Company as they can supply you with an inner tube, life jacket, tube ties to tie a number of tubes together and a shuttle to and from the river. You can also bring your own tube and life jacket and they will charge you just for the shuttle. Floaters should expect breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery, plenty of wildlife and a lot of laughs as they float through small rapids, navigate around rocks and sometimes bump into shore. It is recommended you bring plenty of water to drink and lather up that sunscreen as when the river is low the float can take a total of four hours. This activity isn’t just for adults though; kids are welcome to accompany their adult chaperon’s as long as they are over five years old.

Photo by: Pembina River Tubing Ltd.
Photo by: Pembina River Tubing Ltd.

1. Okanagan River Channel, B.C

On hot summer days there is no better way to relax than to lie back on a floating apparatus and let the river carry you away. This 7 km channel is free to float down; all you need is a flotation device, which is available to rent at the launch site. It will take you about three to four hours to drift down the river, so make sure you pack a few snacks and something to sip on. Coyote Cruises is the company that operates the bus and tube rentals and it is important to note that they only offer tube rentals to the halfway point; therefore we suggest bringing your own. Expect to see plenty of kids with snorkels and masks in the water, following the many fish while their parents relax on their tubes. This awesome, family-friendly activity is a favorite among locals and visitors.

Photo by: naturalflow via Flickr
Photo by: naturalflow via Flickr

Canada’s Top 15 Best Value Cities to Visit in 2015

A recent study by the popular hotel booking site Trivago, released the top 15 best value cities in all of Canada to visit in 2015. The study took the average price of a hotel room, combined it with the satisfaction of hotel guests and looked at everything there was to do in that city. What they found was 15 cities that boasted incredible value, amazing hotels and plenty of things to do whether you are looking for romance, family vacation or just an escape to a new city.

15. Toronto, ON

With the Pam Am games making its way to Toronto this summer, we were actually surprised to see this city still end up on the list as hotel prices in the city jumped. Luckily it seems that Toronto is home to enough hotels, rentals and other accommodations that the prices don’t seem as astronomical as one might think. With access to professional sports fields, the CN Tower, the new Ripley’s Aquarium, the five-star restaurants and festivals throughout the city; there is certainly no shortage of things to do. Public transportation got a facelift for the Pan Am games and getting around the city is cheap and easy. The average accommodation price per night in the city is $179 with lots of deals to be found online, making Toronto a perfect place to visit this year.

Toronto

14. Vancouver, BC

Vancouver is one of the most expensive places to live in Canada, but quite affordable if you just want to visit for a few days. With an average hotel price of $179, this city is a prime spot for tourists from all over the world. Summertime brings visitors who walk along the seawall, dine on delicious seafood and explore the nearby towns. One of the best times to head here is in the fall, when the hotel prices drop significantly, the leaves start changing color and the weather is still nice enough to enjoy the outdoors. Vancouver transit makes it easy to get around the city at a reasonable price and there are plenty of free activities for everyone to enjoy, including Stanley Park, walking the beaches, visiting the many art galleries and visiting Granville Island.

Vancouver from the Water

13. Ottawa, ON

The capital of Canada makes this list with an average price of accommodation being just $155 a night, a bargain considering more than 80% of travelers are happy with their hotel stays. Visiting Canada’s capital is something everyone should do as the city of Ottawa is full of history, excitement and spectacular architecture. The summer is the absolute best time to head here as the warm weather and festivities make the city feel alive and buzzing with excitement. It also happens to be when hotel prices are at its highest though. It is a good thing then that the city offers incredible value. Tour the parliament buildings for free, head over to the RCMP stables for a chance to look around and perhaps a musical performance if you are lucky or spend an afternoon at one of the city’s beaches. Ottawa is teeming with markets, bike paths, picturesque picnic areas and outdoor art throughout the city for you to enjoy.

Ottawa, Ontario

12. Calgary, AB

It is one of the most expensive places to live on this list but visiting here gets you good bang for your buck and promises an unforgettable vacation, minutes from the beautiful mountains. A hotel room in this city goes for an average of $172 a night and many travelers choose to make Calgary their home base while they explore the city and the surrounding mountains. Plan your vacation around one of the many free summer festivals and you won’t have to reach deep into your pockets to explore all this city has to offer. Besides festivals, visiting the numerous attractions here cost little to nothing, including one of the world’s largest indoor botanical gardens, the plethora of art galleries, shops and the free entertainment during the stampede. Ride a portion of the CTrain for free, grab an inflatable tube and float down the Bow River or simply explore the downtown area and all its charm.

Calgary, AB

11. Niagara Falls, ON

Niagara Falls is home to the most inexpensive average hotel room on this list, coming in at $112 a night. If you have never been to the Canadian side of the falls, there is no better time to visit than 2015. Besides getting an incredible deal on hotels, Niagara Falls is packed full of activities, many of which can be done at little cost. Cruise the streets down by the falls which are packed with wacky fun houses, arcades and rides that are lit up with flashing lights and sounds. Visit one of the casinos and try your luck at one of the many games or slots. Walking along the falls and watching the spectacular firework show that happens in the summer won’t cost you anything either. Surrounding this area also happens to be a large number of wineries that you can tour for free, with tastings only costing a few dollars.

Niagara Falls 1

10. Montréal, QC

The city of Montreal is a perfect getaway, whether you are looking for a romantic escape or heading there for the slew of incredible music festivals and culture. With an average nightly price for accommodation being $172, one can enjoy this city while not breaking the bank. Exploring the city is best done on foot, whether you are traversing the streets of Old Montreal, taking the Golden Square Mile tour or curbing your hunger in many of the city’s most appetizing attractions. Montreal is also loaded with opportunities to try something new for free, including outdoor yoga classes and ballroom dancing. The city teems with rooftop patios and sidewalk cafes; perfect for people watching and relaxing. Take in one of the many free concerts and performances that happen throughout the city year round and enjoy one of the finest cities in all of Canada.

Montreal Canada

9. Edmonton, AB

It may not be the first place you think of when you think vacation in Canada, but Edmonton has a lot to offer and at the average price of just $151 a night, you can’t go wrong heading to this city. If you are looking to explore the outdoors, Edmonton might be just right for you. The city is famous for its North Saskatchewan River Valley, which offers over 100 kilometers of recreational trails, wildlife viewing, city views and Canada’s largest historical park, Fort Edmonton Park. One thing to splurge on when visiting here is the West Edmonton Mall. It is the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America complete with amusement park, artificial beach, indoor wave pool, casino, movie theatres and an indoor lake. If you happen to visit here in the winter, head outside the city away from the lights and look for the Northern Lights. They are often visible from December to March.

Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com
Ronnie Chua / Shutterstock.com

8. Québec-City, QC

It is one of the most romantic cities to visit in all of Canada and with an average room price of $161 a night; many couples choose to visit Quebec City anytime of the year. In the winter the city comes alive with Christmas lights, turning the historic part of the city into a true winter wonderland. In the summer, the cobblestone streets are full of tourists, outdoor cafes and festivals. There are many historic churches that boast incredible architecture, an impressive number of parks and green space and a plethora of boutiques and shops to discover. The cuisine in the city is incredible, the people are friendly and strolling through the walled city of Old Quebec anytime of the year promises to be absolutely charming. For free entertainment, one should head down to the boardwalk along the St. Lawrence that is always full of buskers and entertainers during the summers.

Quebec City

7. Victoria, BC

It is one of the most beautiful cities on this list if you are into stunning mountain views, ocean harbors, colorful houses and natural beauty. It also happens to be a bargain when you look at the average nightly price of accommodations only being $143. The city is full of things to do and see, whether you want to splurge and visit the famous Butchart Garden or the Royal BC Museum, or whether you are looking to stick within a budget. Strolling the causeway, home to breathtaking views of the water, parliament and skyline is a popular activity for both locals and tourists. It is here when you can snag a seat on the Harbour Ferry and discover floating restaurants, historic homes, classic yachts and shipyards during the 45-minute narrated tour. Between the parks, mountains, beaches and art; there is no shortage of things to discover in this city.

Victoria coast line

6. Mississauga, ON

If you want to be close to the city of Toronto but don’t want to shell out the money, Mississauga is the absolute perfect place to stay. With an average room price of just $123 a night, spending less on a hotel means more spending money in your pockets. Many vacationers choose to make Mississauga their home base and travel into the city to explore the many activities and sights that Toronto offers. If you are looking for things to do in Mississauga though; why not head to the parks in Port Credit or feel like a kid again at Playdium Arcade. Mississauga is also home to a wealth of restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world and it pays to check them out heading into Toronto for a great meal. Whether you are staying here for the city itself or looking to spread your budget by staying outside of Toronto, Mississauga is a great value city.

Atomazul / Shutterstock.com
Atomazul / Shutterstock.com

5. Kelowna, BC

Kelowna’s location along the eastern shoreline of Okanagan Lake creates a diverse landscape where outdoor recreation thrives and people from all over the world flock to this incredibly beautiful city. The lake itself draws many tourists interested in boating, kayaking and swimming while the rolling terrain is great for hikers, golfers and bikers. In the wintertime skiers and snowboarders head to Big White Mountain. The plethora of outdoor sports is what makes this city so affordable to visit. Pack a picnic, grab your kayak rental and head out for the day. Perhaps strap on a pair of snowshoes and explore the region. Head out and visit the wineries where they offer free tours and cheap tastings. With an average nightly room price of just $140, Kelowna is the perfect natural outdoor getaway.

Kelowna BC

4. Winnipeg, MB

Winnipeg is a diverse city that combines breathtaking architecture with ample green space to create this unique backdrop for a vibrant city. Visitors here will find warehouses that have been converted to restaurants and shops, outdoor festivals and concerts and an abundance of art and culture. The city is home to over 1,100 restaurants and is known for its top notch food scene that is well-priced. One of the most popular things to do in this city is head to The Forks, a downtown area where the two rivers meet that is home to the market, artisan shops and interactive fun. With an average room price of $141 a night, this cultural melting pot beckons visitors from all over the globe. It is recommended you head here in the summertime because the winter here can be downright freezing cold!

Winnipeg, MB

3. Mont-Tremblant, QC

This city located in the Laurentian Mountains is most famously known for its ski resort located at the foot of Mont Tremblant Mountains. Winter sports enthusiasts flock here to downhill ski, snowboard, snowshoe, dog-sled and cross-country ski in some of the best snow in the country. But winter isn’t the only season that flourishes here. Summertime brings eco-adventures, hiking, canoeing, cycling and fishing with Lac Tremblant at the centre of most of these. An average room price in this city will run you $189 a night, keeping in mind that winters are the most expensive. Many of the hotels offer discounts if you book early in the season and work with the ski resort to combine lift tickets with hotel prices. Book early, pay once and enjoy this awesome destination, summer or winter.

Mount Tremblant

2. Kamloops, BC

Kamloops is a hidden treasure amongst the West coast of Canada and with a highly affordable average nightly room rate of just $119; it won’t stay hidden for long. Home to the 5th best golf course in Canada, one of BC’s biggest ski hills and an abundance of outdoors to explore; visiting Kamloops and sticking on budget is easy. Many of the activities and restaurants are lower priced than the surrounding areas such as Vancouver or Kelowna, making this city incredibly budget friendly. Popular activities include a visit to the BC Wildlife Park, a hike to the waterfall, a visit to the farmers market and taking in the largest cowboy festival in Canada. There are endless possibilities for winter or summer, making this the number two valued city in all of Canada.

Kamloops
Philip Bird LRPS CPAGB / Shutterstock.com

1. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

It is the city with the most expensive average accommodation on this list at $203 a night, but seeing as Niagara-on-the-Lake is known as one of the prettiest towns in all of Canada; it comes as no surprise that it can be pricey. You won’t find high rise hotels here either; instead you will find historic homes, charming B&B’s and beautiful cottages that offer luxury amenities. This 19th-century village is home to award-winning restaurants and wineries and world-class theatre. Strolling the charming streets, touring the wineries and walking along the river won’t set you back anything. This romantic getaway is often visited by those looking for an intimate experience, complete with fine dining, great wines and cozy accommodations; which are exactly what they will find in the charming town.

Niagara On The Lake