The 2015 Parker Tube Float is just around the corner. It’s a giant, annual floating party on the river south of Lake Havasu, and is now in its 38th year! Here are Parker Live’s top ten tips for mastering the event and getting the most out of it.
1. Decide whether you feel like winning or just floating.
The Tube Float used to be much more competitive. Back in the day, it was a race to see who’d get there first. But the people voted with their floats, and the vast majority of people just want to hang out and float for a few hours with 10,000 of their friends. Pro tip: If you really want to get to the finish line quickly, attach a lightweight bucket to a rope under your float and let the current pull you.
2. Get your group together to go. The bigger the better!
You can show up with 2 of your buddies or with 200. It doesn’t matter, but things get crazier and more fun the more people you know. Alternatively, you can always make friends at the Float! Pro tip: Bring ropes to tie your inner tubes together so you don’t spend all day hanging onto each other. ‘C’ clamps are even better for quick release. To help the assist vessels, attach less than 20 people together.
3. Get accommodations for the weekend.
Hotel and motel rooms, RV spaces at parks, vacation and rental homes can book out quickly on Tube Float weekend. Check parkeraz.org for listings or call (928) 669-2174. Try some of the options, and if not, there’s always booking a room in a nearby city. Pro tip: bunk in with someone who has a home in Parker – many couches and floors are packed on Tube Float weekend. Make reservations now for next year!
4. Get there early.
The event officially begins at 8:30am at La Paz County Park on Riverside Drive a few miles north of the town of Parker, AZ. But you’ll want to be there in plenty of time to park, get organized and take advantage of the help at the Float. Organizations are typically present to help provide things like ice and air to blow up your tubes. Pro tip: get there by 7am for the best parking and to beat the crowd.
5. Register for the event.
Registering costs just $10 and allows the Tube Float to happen every year, so it’s super important. It also puts you in the drawings for some great door prizes at the finish line. Other prizes include $500 for Best Float, $100 for Best Life Jacket and $25 for Best Hat. You can also pre-register at parkerfun.com. Insider tip: the insurance policy for the event mandates registration so you’ll be covered by the event in case something happens. If your float is pretty slow and you find yourself wanting a tow, assist vessels will be prioritizing those with wristbands who registered. If you don’t register, you could be left behind!
6. Bring sunscreen and water.
So here’s the deal: Without sunscreen applied from the beginning of the day, you will be exposed to dangerous levels of sun and you’ll burn like a crisp. We’ve seen this happen to some people every single year, and all of a sudden what you thought was going to be the perfect, sexy tan turns out horribly, blisteringly bad. So don’t be that person! Enjoy the event and wear sunscreen (Parker Live recommends at least SPF 30 with re-applications throughout the day). Similarly, you’ll need to stay hydrated. Remember, if you’re going to drink alcohol too, that will have the opposite effect and actually help de-hydrate you. So, bring alcohol if you want (no glass!), but bring lots of water too. Pro tip: Dedicate one inner tube to carrying your stuff, including a cooler.
7. Some other things to consider bringing with you:
Water guns. Beach balls. Frisbees. Extra bottled water. Nerf torpedos. Water mats. Waterproof phone cases. Cheap sunglasses. Music. Snacks. Hats. Pasties. Extra sunscreen. GoPros. Drones. Trash bags. Pro tip: Some people build really elaborate floats. You can be one of them. Or just make friends with them. If you’re female, this could be slightly easier. (Homemade floats must be approved: call 928-669-2174. No 55-gallon barrels.)
8. Have a plan for how to get back afterwards.
The Float begins at La Paz County Park and ends at BlueWater Resort & Casino. While no official transportation back to the Park is provided by the event organizers, there are shuttle buses operating from the Casino for a small fee. Pro tip: If you’d like to avoid waiting for a long time to get back, have some of your group leave their cars at BlueWater’s north parking lot.
9. Prepare to party afterwards.
The event finishes with a party at BlueWater Beach. There’ll be music, prizes, food and lots of people in a good mood. Then, at night, area bars up and down the river will be extending the party as long as you can stay awake. Please take your trash with you! Pro tip: Float your group to the beach and turn in your wristbands by 3pm to be in with a chance of winning.
10. Post your crazy photos and video footage.
Use the hashtag #parkertubefloat to post your favorite Tube Float moments on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and elsewhere. And if we don’t see at least a couple of Periscope live feeds, we’ll be very disappointed!
To pre-register for this year’s event, CLICK HERE. See you at the Tube Float!