River Rafting in Helen, Georgia

By Karen Cohen, publisher of Macaroni Kid Alpharetta-Roswell-Milton July 19, 2020

We were adventurous. We ventured out of Alpharetta, Roswell, Milton and headed north. We needed to change up the usual routine and take a day trip. We gathered a few mom friends and kids and headed to Helen, GA. It is an easy drive up GA 400 North. 

It was a hot day, so the idea of a cool river rafting trip sounded refreshing. Four moms and 11 kids... it may not be relaxing, but it would be fun. 

Below are some tips if you are planning a river rafting trip in Helen!


We went with the Cool River Tubing outfitter for our trip. There are three outposts you can launch and purchase your tickets. We chose to purchase tickets at the Chattahoochee Outpost. This outpost shuttles you to your river launch starting point, so you end your trip back at your car. 

There is a building to purchase your tickets. 

Tickets are $12 a person (weekdays) $16 weekends and $5 per push stick. You will want the stick!

There is an option for a long trip (estimated two hours) or a short trip (estimated one hour). We opted for the longer trip and I am glad we did. It took us less than two hours. Last year, we did the one hour trip, plus the water slide -- but the water slide is closed this year. One hour would have likely been about 40 minutes for us and that would have been too short for our crew.

Anyone 12 and under is required to wear a life jacket on the river - it is provided to you.


Parking and purchasing tickets at the Chattahoochee Outpost required us to be shuttled to our rafting starting point. Your rafts are loaded on the back of the shuttle. 


After the shuttle dropped us off at our launching point, we received our rafts. We were easily able to put our rafts in the river and set sail down the Chattahoochee! The kid ages in our group ranged from six to 13. The six-year-old and her mom attached their tubes together. 

The kids stayed in small groups together, but it was hard to stay together as a full group of 15. Everyone rafted at their own pace. Some were racing. Some were getting out trying to fish. And some of us moms were just floating and taking in the beautiful scenery around us.

The water is not deep. The rapids are very mild. You will get stuck on rocks and need to use your stick to help push and guide you along. 

The kids had a blast. It was a favorite outing from last summer, so it has turned into an annual summer tradition with friends.


There are picnic tables around to have lunch after your rafting trip. The kids enjoyed eating while running and playing outside. There is plenty of outdoor space.


Rafting and a picnic was a long enough day for me, but Helen is a very cute town with many other outdoor adventures. There are mini golf courses, a mountain coaster and hiking to enjoy:


  • You can leave your keys with the Cool River Tubing staff or rent a locker for $3. Anything on your raft will get wet. I had a waterproof bag and phone case, but managed to lose my sunglasses in a rapid. We left our lunches in the car.
  • Wear shoes. You will get stuck on rocks and need to push yourself off. Wear water shoes or if you don't have any, I just wore old running shoes. 
  • Buy the push sticks and consider saving them -- you may come back another time!
  • Get there early. We arrived at 10:00 AM and did not encounter a wait time for the shuttle or over crowding on the river. But, I have heard it gets busier later in the day. 

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