Shootin’ the Hooch is kind of a rite of passage for anyone living in Atlanta. Growing up, we had done it with tubing and kayaking companies, but then soon realized you could easily buy your own tube and go whenever you want! You just need to buy a few things for yourself, know where to enter and exit, and you can head anytime you want.
HOW TO SHOOT THE HOOCH – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Most companies charge anywhere between $20-25 per person for rentals, parking fees, and shuttle rides, but you can get your own gear for practically the same price. If you go more than once, you’ll definitely save money!
You can go with a simple classic tube or go fancy! I always have a nagging feeling that something’s going to come up out of the water and bite my butt, so I prefer one with a mesh center. Since Esther and I always go together, we opted for this awesome double tube that even has a built-in cooler for your drinks. And no one shoots the hooch without their beer. You can also buy a separate floating cooler. It helps to have a pump to fill your tube quickly too.
The other important thing you need to buy is a life jacket. It’s the law and they sometimes patrol the river giving tickets to anyone that doesn’t have one. Anyone over 13 doesn’t have to wear them but you still need to have it with you. Most of us just tie them to our tube.
ENTRY AND EXIT POINTS
If it’s your first time, you may feel like finding the entry and exit points is confusing, but it’s a lot easier than you think! There are a bunch of options but the important thing is to remember to bring two cars. Drop off one car at the endpoint then drive everyone to the starting spot.
If you only have one car, you can consider using Uber, but you need to be sure to have a set of dry clothes for the car ride and you’ll want to tell the driver you’re coming from the river to make sure they are okay with it.
The great thing about doing it on your own is that you can pick your entry and exit points and make your float as long or short as you want. Here are a few route options:
Don White Memorial Park to Memorial Park
Distance: 1.5 miles
Time: 2-4 hours
This is the most popular route and therefore the most crowded. If you’re nervous about figuring out where to exit, this is a good option since you’ll most likely run into others.
Island Ford to Azalea Park
Distance: 3.5 miles
Time: 4-6 hours
If you’re looking for a longer route, start at Island Ford and end at Azalea Park.
Powers Island to Paces Mill
Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 3-5 hours
This is our favorite route and the one that we always do because it it less crowded.
Johnson Ferry to Paces Mill
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 5-7 hours
For a really long ride, you can hop in at Johnson Ferry and ride all the way down to Paces Mill.
Island Ford Unit – Chattahoochee River NRA ($3 Parking)
1978 Island Ford Pkwy Sandy Springs, GA 30350
Don White Memorial Park (Free Parking)
925(B) Riverside Road Roswell, GA 30075
Azalea Park (Free Parking)
203 Azalea Dr Roswell, GA 30075
Johnson Ferry South – Chattahoochee River NRA ($3 Parking)
4630 Columns Dr SE Marietta, GA 30067
Powers Island Unit – Chattahoochee River NRA ($3 Parking)
Interstate N Pkwy Atlanta, GA 30339
Paces Mill Unit – Chattahoochee River NRA ($3 Parking)
3444 Cobb Pkwy Atlanta, GA 30339
WHAT TO PACK
- Tube (single or double) + Pump
- Life Jackets (one per person – it’s the law!)
- Rope (to tie yourself to other tubers)
- Bathing Suit
- Sunglasses / Hat
- Extra Set of Clothes
- Water Shoes / Flip Flops
- Beverages (no glass or Styrofoam is allowed)
- ID if you’re drinking alcohol
- Plastic Bag for Trash
PRO TIPS FOR FIRST TIMERS
- Take TWO cars so you have one at the end point and the starting point. Parking is $3/car or pick up an annual pass.
- Make sure you leave all your towels and dry clothes in the car at the end point.
- Don’t forget to bring the key to the end point car! We’ve done this before and someone had to run/walk to the starting point.
- If there was recently heavy rain, you should stay out of the water. Pollutant levels usually go up. Check for the twice-weekly bacteria level and for e-coli levels.
- Check and double check the weather. Summer storms are a common occurrence so it’s good to know it’s coming before you’re trying to hide from lightning.
- Be mindful of your exit point. If you get too relaxed you might miss it. We’ve had some friends miss it and they floated further down the river and needed to be “rescued”.
- Be courteous! You share the water with rafters, kayakers, fisherman, and animals.
- Pack out what you pack in! It’s unbelievable how many people leave trash, which ruins the environment and experience for everyone else.
- The water level can change based on when they release water from the dams upstream. Call 1-855-DAM-FLOW to check first.
- No matter what time of year, water temps are chilly, usually between 55 and 65 degrees. This makes for a great way to cool down in the summer and keep your drinks cold in the water.
- Keep in mind that the river is lined with private homes and apartment complexes. If you’re trying to get out early, be sure you’re not trespassing.
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Have you ever tried shooting the hooch? Or tubing in general?