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One summer activity you can’t afford to miss is tubing down the river. Why pay a water park entrance fee when you can enjoy an all-natural lazy river ride down the Otter Tail River? Bring your own beverages and check out the amazing wildlife that gathers along the river banks as you float along in a large, comfortable inner tube, hanging out with friends and family without the hassle and noisiness of a water park.

Two water tubing places in Detroit Lakes have all your needs covered: K&K Tubing and Charlie’s Ottertail Tubing. Both places can accommodate groups of any size, whether you want to ride alone or bring the whole family along, with large group discounts for groups of 25 or more. The Otter Tail River is also safe for riders of any age and 90% of it is waist-deep for adults. Roger Klemm of K&K Tubing said, “Anybody can do it, we’ve had 2-year-olds going down with their mothers and 67-year-olds having fun going down there, too. It’s just a nice hour and a half, two hour joyful ride going down the river.”

“It’s just a nice, enjoyable ride,” adds Cathy Pihlaja of Charlie’s Ottertail Tubing. “There’s enough rapids to keep it interesting, nothing too serious.” If you’re concerned, though, both locations offer life jackets upon request.

The path of the river takes you through the trees and prairies of Detroit Lakes. “It’s a very curvy river, you see all kinds of scenery,” says Klemm. “You see the eagles having nests down through there, raising little ones, and there’s deer coming down to the water, all kinds of animals are next to the river.”

“People have seen deer and bears, fish, eagles, all kinds of birds,” says Pihlaja.

Charlie’s Ottertail Tubing offers the classic black rubber tube, while K&K Tubing has vinyl tubes, rubber tubes and cloth-covered tubes for children. Groups can have their tubes tied together or float on their own, and there are tubes to accommodate coolers. Charlie’s Ottertail Tubing does not allow styrofoam coolers or glass containers, and there’s a $10 deposit which will be returned to you when you show that you have brought back all the items in the cooler that you left with.

“It’s a great way to spend a day on the water,” says Pihlaja, “and it’s not real expensive.” Tubers Kelly Carney from Wahpeton and Meranda Schmaltz from Rugby, North Dakota agree. “It’s our day off and we wanted to have fun,” Schmaltz said. They were especially looking forward to bathing in the sun and drinking.

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