Frequently Asked Questions


How long are the river tubing trips?

Tubing trip lengths are greatly affected by several factors such as river levels and the size of your group.  Generally trips are about 3 hours in duration and 2.5 miles in distance.  Please plan accordingly as this time length is just an estimation and may change.

Are there age limits for children?

Yes there are age limits for children for our tubing trips.  Children must be at least 10 years of age to participate, due to the whitewater rapids on this stretch of river.  For children younger than 10, we suggest renting a tube and floating along Riverwalk where there is calm water.

Are coolers allowed on river trips?

Yes, coolers are allowed on river trips, with the exception of NO STYROFOAM COOLERS and NO GLASS BOTTLES.  Palmetto Outdoors will not allow any styrofoam coolers on the river due to their fragile nature.  It is recommended to rent an additional Deluxe tube for your cooler to sit in and bring rope to tie it to other tubes.

When does equipment need to be returned by?

All equipment (tubes, kayaks, life jackets, paddles, etc) must be returned to Palmetto Outdoors by 7:00 PM the same day as rented.  A late fee will be issued to EACH piece of equipment that is returned after 7:00 PM.

What is the average temperature on the Broad River?

The temperature of the Broad River varies throughout the year but during the months of April, May, June, July, August and September the river will reach its warmest.  During these months the water temperature will average between 80 and 90 degrees due to miles of unrestricted watershed that has ample time to warm up considerably.

What is the average temperature on the Lower Saluda River?

The temperature of the Saluda River varies throughout the year but during the months of May, June, July and August the river will reach its warmest.  During these months the water temperature will average between 65 and 75 degrees which is dependent on the volume of water being released from the Dreher Shoals Dam that supports Lake Murray.  

What is the temperature of the Congaree River?

The temperature of the Congaree River varies throughout the year but during the months of May, June, July, August and September when the river will reach its warmest.  During these months the water temperature will average 75 degrees depending on that day's water releases from the Dreher Shoals Dam which supports bothLake Murray and the Lower Saluda River. Inflow from the Saluda River can drastically effect river temperatures due to the strong currents and swift rapids, making it difficult to forecast river conditions downstream on the Congaree.  Typically a river user takes USGS readings from the Broad (02162035) and Saluda (02169000) gage towers, located north and northwest of Columbia, just before meeting at The Three Rivers confluence.  By averaging out the data for both upstream tributaries, a river user will have a much better sense of the temperature in surrounding waterways.

What is the general range for water levels on the Broad, Saluda and Congaree rivers?

Previous Years Streamflow Data for May through August

 USGS Gage   River Name   Lower Level   Higher Level   Average Level   Flood Stage 
02162035

Broad

 200 cfs 

 2,000 cfs  900-1,000 cfs   100k cfs 
02169000

Saluda

 600 cfs   2,000 cfs  800-950 cfs   18k cfs 
02169500

Congaree

 800 cfs   4,000 cfs  1,400 cfs   150k cfs 

* United States Geologic Survey (USGS) real-time streamflow database for South Carolina waterways

If we have our own tubes, can we ride the shuttle?

Palmetto Outdoors offers shuttle services for guests who have their own tubes or kayaks.  There is a fee per person and per piece of equipment.  For specific prices, check under the "Shuttle" tab.

There is no public river access at the Riverbanks Zoo.  All people who want to use the Zoo's river access must do so through an outfitter.

Are military discounts offered?

Palmetto Outdoors offers discounts for active military. 

A service member may upgrade from a Standard tube to a Deluxe tube for no extra charge (valid per military ID).

or

A service member may receive one free Deluxe cooler tube for their entire group.

 

Are group rates available?

Group rates are not offered on weekends (Saturday/Sunday).

The specific date and time affect the possibilites of group rates.  Call for additional details.

What types of rapids are on my trip?

The Lower Saluda River has generally calm water, with sections of Class I and Class II rapids.  A Class II rapid consists of waves 1 foot to 1.5 feet tall, with small whitewater crests on top of the wave.

The Congaree River has calm water for the entire length of the trip.  We oftentimes run this section of river when the water on the Saluda River is too high.

If you'd like to learn more about the classifications of rapids, click on this link for the American Whitewater Organization https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Wiki/safety:class1benchmarkrapids?

Do I have to wear my life jacked during my river trip?

Palmetto Outdoors suggest that all guests wear a life jacket at all times.  People who are not wearing their life jacket, or do not have a life jacket with them, are subject to a fine issued by DNR.

What if there is bad weather on the day I planned my river trip?

There is no charge for cancelling a trip*.  Just let us know beforehand that you will not be coming for your trip.

If conditions are still safe, Palmetto Outdoors will generally still offer shuttles even if it is raining.

If you are unsure of weather conditions, it's always a good idea to call and confirm that shuttles are being offered.

Is there storage for my personal belongings during my river trip?

Palmetto Outdoors can hold on to car keys, using our key check system.

All other items should be stored in your vehicle.

What items should not be brought on river trips?

Do not bring anything that you are not okay getting wet or possibly lost.  This includes phones, keys, wallets, etc.

Styrofoam coolers and glass bottles are also not allowed on any river trips.

Palmetto Outdoors is not responsible for lost or damaged items.

What items should I bring for a tubing or kayaking trip with Palmetto Outdoors?

-We suggest wearing anyting you're comfortable getting wet (bathing suit, shorts, t shirt) as well as protective footwear.  It is important to have some type of foot protection for enterting and exiting the river (sandals, crocs, water shoes, flip flops).

-Some type of sun protection is also important, such as sunscreen or a hat.

-Many groups will also bring a cooler with lunch or drinks.  These groups should either bring their own tube to float the cooler down, or rent an extra Deluxe tube to use as a cooler tube.    Palmetto Outdoors does not allow styrofoam coolers or glass bottles on any trips.

Where does my group meet Palmetto Outdoors prior to starting our trip?

Unless otherwise specified, all trips begin at the West Columbia Riverwalk and Amphitheater.  The address is:

131 Alexander Road West Columbia SC 29169 

The West Columbia Riverwalk and Amphitheater is located just off of Gervais Street Bridge (Highway 1), on the West Columbia side of the river.

When are shuttle services offered?

Palmetto Outdoors offers regularly scheduled shuttle services from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  During these dates, shuttle times are as follows:

Monday- Friday: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM, shuttle leaves* at the top of the hour

Saturday: 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM, shuttle leaves* at the top of the hour

Sunday: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM, shuttle leaves* at the top of the hour

 

For shuttle services before Memorial Day or after Labor Day, please call and check on availability.

 

*= Shuttles leave at the top of the hour and cannot be held for late guests.  Guests who have not completed the necessary sign up information before the top of the hour will be asked to wait for the next shuttle.  Unfortunately, there are no exceptions.

 

Which trips include a shuttle service?

Shuttle services are offered on multiple trips.  Standard tube, deluxe tube, Saluda kayak, and Congaree kayak trips all include a shuttle service.