Tips for a Tubing on the Platte River

I love any excuse to be on the water. A tubing trip on the Platte River was the perfect way to spend a few hours during our “girlfriend getaway” near Traverse City, Michigan.

I’m sharing tips to help you have the best tubing experience on the Platte River in Michigan.

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Pick Your Tube

We got our rental tubes from Riverside Canoes. You have the option of tubes with or without a bottom.

I’m glad that we chose the types with a bottom. You can also rent kayaks, rafts, canoes, and Stand Up Paddleboards from them too.

Riverside Canoe 4

You can pick up any last-minute items you need for your trip or souvenirs at their store.

Riverside Canoe

After you fill out your paperwork, you follow the guide into the state park. You will need a $10 Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park Pass but it will last you all weekend.

One person from your group will drive to the ending point and the rest of your group can ride in the bus. The bus drives to the parking lot and everyone on the bus is dropped off by a trail to the water.

Trail to Platte River

We walked for about 10 minutes on the trail to the water. When we got on the bus we were given a plastic bag to put our clothes in. That came in handy along with a string to tie our tubes together.

During our float trip, we found that it was easiest to tie our tubes together to move down the river. It was fun to see how large the groups floating by us got.

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The Float Trip on Platte River Experience

The float trip was REALLY relaxing!

You can get a great tan, enjoy the clear water, and observe the gorgeous scenery around you. Everyone on the river that day was extremely friendly.

I think it would be hard to be in a bad mood in such a laid-back environment.

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How Long is Float Trip?

We were on the river for about 3.5 hours. Our trip was supposed to be 2-2.5 hours but the wind was blowing against us. The wind caused us to walk in the water with our tube toward the end of our trip.

Our float trip ended a little before the Platte River meets Lake Michigan.

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Pick up for Riverside tube rentals was on the right side of the river. It was easy to spot the workers from Riverside Canoe collecting rental tubes.

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It’s worth walking over to take in the views of the Dunes in the distance after you drop off your tube.

Tubing Platte River to Lake Michigan
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Here are a few tips before your tubing trip on the Platte River

1. Wear some form of water shoe

I wore Tevas which were perfect because they had a strap. You do walk for about 10 minutes on a trail to the area where you put a tube in and you don’t want to be barefoot.

2. If you don’t want to be cold, ask for a tube with a bottom

You can always jump in the water if you get too warm. Your stuff will stay dryer with a tube with a bottom. I found it really comfortable too.

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3. Lather up the Sunscreen

Put it on before you go and bring some with you. You can still burn on a cloudy or windy day and you are not in the shade.

4. Bring a waterproof case for your phone

If you want pictures during your trip, don’t risk it without a waterproof case. I loved being able to still take pictures while we were tubing.

5. Have towels ready in your vehicle

Don’t bother to bring them with you.

6. The plastic bag that you get for your clothes can still get them wet

Don’t rely on the bag for anything valuable. Leave your wallet and valuables in the car.

7. Your keys stay on you. I would suggest tieing your key to your swimsuit strap or getting a waterproof pouch to hold it in

Also, make sure that you tether anything loose to your tube handle.

8. Wear minimal clothing over your suit if possible

During our float trip, I wore a coverup over my swimsuit and it got wet in my bag. I would suggest bringing something else to slip on overtop in case your coverup gets wet if you don’t want to change it right away.

9. Bring drinks!

We noticed that a lot of people even had their own mini tubes for a cooler. You will get thirsty while you are out there. You might want to bring a snack too.

10. Ask how fast the river is running that day

That is REALLY important information if you are on a tight schedule.

Our tour was supposed to be 2-2.5 hours but it took 3.5 because the wind was blowing against us.

11. Try to make sure that you don’t lose your rental agreement so that you get back your deposit

My rental agreement came back wet but they seemed pretty used to that.

12. Link up your tubes with the strings they provide if you want to stay connected with your friends

13. Don’t forget to purchase your Sleeping Bear Dunes National Parking Pass for your vehicle

14. Take time to enjoy the view

Along the way down the river, you can stop and swim when you feel like it. Watch out for tree stumps in the water if you are walking your tube in the water.

Can you bring your dog to the Platte River?

People do take dogs in their Canoes and kayaks. Pets must be leashed and taken to their vehicle at the end of the trip because pets are not allowed at the beach.

There is a vet nearby Platte Lake Veterinary Clinic that has a kennel. You can inquire if they take pets for just the day.

Book Your Next Adventure

You can find out more about planning your adventure with Riverside Canoe from their website.

Where is Riverside Canoe Located?

Riverside Canoe is located at 5042 N Scenic Hwy, Honor, MI 49640.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tubes for review purposes. All opinions are my own. 

Tips for floating on the Platte River in Northern Michigan

7 thoughts on “Tips for a Tubing on the Platte River”

  1. You should definitely be fine with those ages. It’s a relaxed tubing ride and the water doesn’t get super deep.

  2. My kids are 15 and 21. They are not strong swimmers and are really nervous about the 4 of us tubing the Platte River. Everything I’ve read says its shallow and good for all ages. Do you have any suggestions? I will certainly tie the tubes together.

  3. I just talked to the company and they said that people bring their dogs on the canoes and kayaks. I also included a vet you can check with about a kennel.

  4. Typically tubing rivers are not super intense. I would just make sure that you have everything secure.

  5. Tomorrow, my friends and I will be renting some tubes and taking them down a river, but I am pretty nervous as this is something that I have never done before. However, I really appreciate your 14 tips about how to go about doing it. We won’t be going to the same river as you did, but I do think that you still have some valuable points, such as taking a mini tube with a cooler for drinks. I definitely think that my friends would be up for taking some cream sodas or juice boxes out on the river and having a lot of fun. However, how do you think that the mini tube would hold up if we were to hit any white water?

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