Updated December 27, 2022. Careening down a frozen slick lane in an inflatable tube is an exhilarating winter experience. It’s no surprise then that it’s also a popular one, especially since it’s more affordable than skiing, accessible to practically any age or skill level, and doesn’t require much in the way of fancy equipment. If you’re looking to get some easy thrills this winter, head to these spots to go snow tubing. Wheeeee!
The popular Virginia resort two hours west of Northern Virginia offers 90-minute sessions at its tubing park (pictured above), which has 16 lanes that are 900 feet in length with a drop of 120 vertical feet, and two moving walkway-style conveyor lifts to take you back to the top. At night the park glows with neon lights and pumps out energetic music for its Northern Lights Tubing, and guests are encouraged to bring glow sticks to add to the ambience. Participation is limited to guests 36-inches and taller. 4620 Massanutten Dr., Massanutten
The Plunge is Virginia’s largest tubing park, 10-stories high and longer than three football fields, where riders can hit speeds that top out at 30 mph. Not surprisingly, that means tickets for the 75-minute sessions sell out quickly. Currently tickets are available online only; every Monday at noon they are released for the following Thursday through Sunday. They are closed Monday through Wednesday except on holidays. Tubing here is recommended for those age 6 and up, and the minimum height requirement is 42 inches. One person per tube is allowed, though you may hook up tubes depending on conditions. Route 664, Wintergreen
The Coca-Cola Tube Park is a six-story, eight-lane hill with a tow-rope to help you back to the top. They also offer “Galactic Tubing” at night, with LED lights and music and an observation deck with heaters, fire pits, and comfortable seating. Two-hour sessions must be booked in advance online. The park is open daily; check the website for times. 10 Snowshoe Dr., Snowshoe, West Virginia
Those age 5 years and up can hit up to 15 lanes at Boulder Ridge, with a carpeted conveyor belt to carry you back to the top. The younger set (age 2 to 4) can have fun at Pebble Ridge, which is designed just for them. Tickets must be purchased online in advance for the two-hour sessions. The park is open Thursday through Sunday, as well as holidays. 78 Country Club Trail, Carroll Valley, Pennsylvania
Two-hour sessions for the 16 tubing lanes are sold online. All riders must be 5 years of age to ride the large runs; a special kiddie tubing run is available for children 2 to 4 years of age. The tubing park is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 13805 Blairs Valley Rd., Mercersberg, Pennsylvania
The Virginia resort is selling a maximum of 40 tickets every half-hour for 90-minute sessions on its three 800-foot tubing lanes. Children must be at least 4 years of age and 36-inches tall. You can add on ice skating for an additional $10 per person. 1982 Fairway Dr., Basye, Virginia
The York, Pennsylvania golf resort offers snow tubing through AvalancheXpress, with several lanes available via a day pass, night pass, or season pass and discounted passes for groups of 20 or more. Passes must be booked in advance and an online waiver completed. 2700 Mount Rose Ave., York, Pennsylvania
The classic resort’s Penguin Slides Tubing Park features well-groomed lanes and a conveyor to take guests back to the top. Sessions are one-hour each, reservations are required, and you must be five years old and at least 42-inches to ride. 7969 Sam Snead Hwy., Hot Springs
There are 12 tube shoots that are 750-feet long at this Maryland resort, with two “Conveyor Carpets” to take you back up to the fun. Two-hour sessions must be booked online, and children must be at least 4 years old and 42-inches tall to participate. You can add on a ride to the Mountain Coaster for $24 for a single rider. 296 Marsh Hill Rd., McHenry, Maryland
Featuring up to 10 large tubing lanes that are 800-feet long, the park is for ages 5 and older and is serviced by a covered magic carpet lift. The Pennsylvania resort also has a special kiddie tubing area for those 4 and under that’s not serviced by a lift but walkable. The tubing park is open Wednesday–Sunday, and holidays. 925 Roundtop Rd., Lewisberry, Pennsylvania
For the Sake of Journalistic Rigor, Here’s How to Snow Tube
Snow tubing is not complicated — but it can be a little intimidating, maybe, for newbies. In any case, if you’ve never tried it, you might not know what to expect, and our mission is first and foremost to inform our readers. Kenny Hess, director of sports and risk management at Massanutten Resort, shares some tips and advice for first-timers.
Wear the proper attire to be comfortable spending a few hours outside.
Think back to your days of sledding as a kid, Hess says. Dress in layers with water-repellent clothing on the outside, consider hand and foot warmers, and obviously warm gloves and a hat. If your tubing session is at night, it will obviously be chillier.
Be mindful of the needs of small kids.
Parks have a minimum height (and sometimes age) requirement for kids; at Massanutten that requirement is 36 inches, no matter the age. Every rider must have a tube (and you can’t bring your own), so this means smaller kids who don’t meet the requirement can’t just ride in a parent’s tube. A moving walkway with a non-slip rubberized surface usually takes riders to the top of the run, and once you arrive, kids can drag their tubes to the back of the line. However, at the bottom, they must lift it and carry it to the conveyor belt — this can be frustrating and heavy for younger kids, so parents may need to assist them.
Conditions can change the tubing experience.
Depending on the weather, staff at Massanutten make the call as to whether or not to allow members of a family or friend group to tether their tubes together or require them to go down separately; the slicker the surface, the fewer people allowed to ride together, since doing so picks up a lot of speed. At the bottom of the runs, additional rubber mats are placed to help slow riders down. Be prepared to be flexible, and remind kids (and nervous riders) that they might have to go it alone.
“You’re outside, you’re not cramped in a car and you are out enjoying the fresh air,” Hess says. “Anyone can do it — it’s 90 minutes of pure fun!”
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