Lazy Summer: The Best Rivers To Float Down With Friends (And A Beer Cooler)
What can defy the sweltering heat of a long summer day better than a cold beer, warm friends, and a lazy river? Absolutely nothing. So pack up the cooler, slap on your favorite swimsuit and get ready for perfection with 10 of the best rivers for your summertime float. If you hit it just right, you may even attain summer’s quintessential buzz and find yourself floating on cloud nine as the words “row, row, row your boat” come drifting into view. Because after all, life is but a dream — why not make it a good one?
Photo: Cavan Images (Getty Images)
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Russian River, California
Sonoma County is home to some of the greatest countryside on earth...and one of summer's perfect rivers. While there are a few good breweries in and around Guerneville to get your motor purring, take advantage of the local wine scene and enjoy a nice cabernet as you float your way toward bliss.
Photo: Sonoma Tourism (TravelChannel.com)
French Broad River, North Carolina
With over 60 breweries packed into the charming mountain town of Asheville, North Carolina, the French Broad River may be the best place to stuff a cooler full of beer and float for the day. One of the oldest rivers in the world will give you one legendary hangover.
Photo: Explore Asheville
Chattahoochee River, Georgia
Lazier than a retired senator from Alaska, the Chattahoochee runs right through the great southern city of Atlanta. Hooch up that sweet tea with a little gin and watch as all your cares float away like bubbles in a brook.
Photo: John E. McDonald (Atlanta Magazine)
Shenandoah River, Virginia
Nothing exciting has ever happened on the Shenandoah River, and that's exactly why it's the ideal place for your do-nothing-but drink-all-day bob-along. Don't take our word for it, book a 3- to 5-hour float with Shenandoah River Outfitters and see for yourself.
Photo: Cameron Davidon (Getty Images)
Frio River, Texas
This Texas town just outside San Antonio has not one but two lazy rivers to dip your toes in. Escape the dry Lone Star State heat with a ride down the Frio, a gorgeous, slow-moving sidewinder that will surely become your second summer home.
Photo: Texas Hill County River Region (TravelChannel.com)
Root River, Minnesota
Ironically, in the Land of 10,000 Lakes runs one of the laziest rivers in the country. We say "runs," but it's really more like a toddler-with-a-sprained-ankle-stroll through 80 miles of southeast Minnesota. Cedar Valley Resort in Lanesboro will rent you a tube and shuttle your ass back to the start so you can be epically lazy all summer long. (Splurge for the tube with the headrest.)
Merced River, California
Perhaps the most glorious float of your lazy summer will happen on the idyllic Merced River as it meanders its way through Yosemite Valley. Views of Half Dome may be pretty hard to score, however. With over 4 million visitors to the valley each summer, the creek is surely gonna rise.
Photo: Yosemite Hospitality
Snake River, Idaho
Avoid rattlesnake pits by fording Idaho via the Snake River. It may not be the laziest river out there (bring a paddle and don't get too drunk) but the memory of standing beneath the majestic spray of Shoshone Falls will be worth every toe cramp you get in the middle of the night after your long days journey. Simply gorge(ous).
Photo: Idaho Tourism (TravelChannel.com)
Snake River, Wyoming
The Snake River begins its 1,000 mile journey in the rugged arms of Wyoming, where the ride is both grander and more languorous. Enjoy cracking beer-tinged jokes about the Grand Tetons as you wend your way through one of America's greatest wilderness parks. Definitely BYOB.
Yakima River, Washington
Washington prides itself on being one of the rainiest places on earth, so what could be more awkward than a river valley located deep in the PNW claiming to have 300 days of sun? How about falling backward into a garbage can as you wave hello to your dream crush across a crowded bar?
Why not get out of town for a while and take a float down one of America's lazy rivers for the summer's perfect refresh on love, life, and everything holy?