knoxville news
knoxville news knoxville advertising entertainment knoxville obituaries rss linkedin twitter facebook contact smoky mountains knoxville legal notices knoxville classifieds travel knoxville sports business lifestyle knoxville daily sun

‘Shoot the Hooch’ for a summertime break in Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains
By Tom Adkinson

(Editor’s note: This is one in a series of travel stories spotlighting activities logical for Americans as they venture out in a time of coronavirus.)

chattahoochee for fishermen
Chattahoochee for fishermen; image by Tom Adkinson.

HELEN, Georgia – Trout fishermen hate them. Fun-seekers love them. Non-outdoorsy people marvel at them. And aliens probably wonder whether the circular fluorescent pink, blinding yellow and lime green rings floating down a waterway are birthing humanoids in swimming suits. “They,” of course, are recreational inner tubes dotting generally gently flowing streams, such as the upper reaches of the Chattahoochee River through the Bavarian-themed town of Helen in the Blue Ridge Mountains north of Atlanta.

Chattahoochee for tubers
Chattahoochee for tubers; image by Tom Adkinson.

Love them or hate them, tubes are a summer fact of life in Helen, where two tubing companies put approximately 300,000 people in the river every year, according to the Alpine Helen/White County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The float trips, lasting a couple of hours, take you away from your electronic devices while providing some chilly memories and perhaps a bit of sunburn. While the companies will transport you between the put-in and take-out locations, they are candid that in a COVID-19 world, you are prudent to arrange your own shuttle for the longer of two trips or walk the 1.2 miles between the start and end of the shorter trip.

Trip Planning Resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

Published July 24, 2020

knoxville daily sun

Knoxville Daily Sun
2020 Image Builders
User Agreement | Privacy Policy