What kind of trip is right for me and my family?
There are lots of ways to enjoy the French Broad River in Henderson County with Lazy Otter! We are lucky to be located along one of the prettiest stretches of the river anywhere, and we offer a variety of ways to see it. You may already know your favorite, but if you don't, here are some tips about what to expect. More details about our boats and tubes are available here.
The classic way to beat the summer heat! No special skills are required, but Adventure Tubing on the Horse Shoe Bend is a bit different than on some other parts of the French Broad. For one thing, it's much more peaceful and natural! You can see what we mean on this Google Earth tour. But it is also more remote and rugged, which means you'll be floating away from all roads and buildings and while there are no rapids, there are obstructions you'll have to put some effort in to avoid. In normal or high water you will not be able to stand up and walk away if you get stuck, and in low water there is a better chance you'll pop your tube. Each group will have a spare tube with them, but it's possible you'll end up swimming. That's not too hard and can even be fun - the tube's safety chamber and inflated back rest will still give you something to float with, and the water temperature is usually comfortable - but if that would ruin your day you should probably take a rigid boat instead. The potential for such challenges is the reason we are limiting our tube trips to those over the age of 13, with an adult over the age of 18 accompanying all trips with minors. Groups that include senior citizens should call us to discuss the physical requirements. Adults with limited upper body strength who might have trouble paddling from a tube or swimming in a current should also not take this trip. You may be asked to demonstrate that you can get into and out of a tube unassisted while on land before the trip.
Taking command of your own kayak is fun, and you don't need to be an expert, as this video shows. You will need to maneuver around obstacles in the river, though, so we encourage beginners to paddle with a more experienced friend who will show them the basic strokes and how to get where they're going safely! We offer two kinds of solo kayaks, the Nomad and the Juntos. Both are sit-on-top and have a comfortable clip-in seat, but the Juntos is a little longer and wider so is better for those people who are heavier or taller, or who would like a little extra stability. Cushier upgraded seats are available for both.
Canoes and Tandem Kayaks
These boats built for two or three are great for families or to introduce a newcomer to the fun of paddling. Children as young as 6 can ride in tandem kayaks and canoes as long as they have an adult with them and know how to swim. Canoes can feel a bit less stable than tandem kayaks, so especially if there are kids aboard it's best to have some experience. The tandem kayaks hold two people, and the canoes hold three thanks to a comfy middle seat. Cushier seat upgrades are available for the tandem kayaks and the canoes.
Stand-up Paddle Boards
Stand-up Paddle Boards or SUPs are a fun way to float the river that Lazy Otter is pleased to provide. However, we highly recommend that you learn the skills and techniques involved on a lake rather than here on the French Broad. That's because the depth of the river varies and hazards beneath the surface aren't always visible, so falling from a SUP on the river can hurt! Our SUPs are "hybrids", meaning they have foot wells on the surface that help you stabilize the board if you decide to sit down and paddle it like a kayak.