On the hottest days of summer one of our favorite things to do in North Conway, NH is Saco River Tubing. The Saco River is the hottest location for tourists and locals alike during the summer--and by hottest, I mean coolest!
Enjoy the cold waters of the Saco River. They are a great way to enjoy the outdoors, soak up some vitamin-D, swim and squeeze in a little workout all in one location! Plus, we get to create memories with our friends and families. It's an adventure that wins all around.
The Saco River is a gorgeous, crystal clear river that attracts everyone to its cool waters during our hot and dry New England summers. Enjoying this great river is a fantastic way to spend the day whether you're floating down it, swimming in it, or just watching it whisk by.
Saco River tubing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing are great adventure but I know from experience that there's a lot more to do and see while floating down the river. And don't forget to keep your eye out for the horses of Four Seasons Lodge! We often go to the river to cool off after a long ride!
You might see lots of New England wildlife, meet some new friends and see the gorgeous scenery.
Why Saco River Tubing Is So Enjoyable
The Saco River is a beautiful river that has very quiet spots and small sets of rapids which leave room for little rushes of adventure before it goes back to being calm waters. The river has sandbars along several of its banks which are great for picnicking and taking a break. Don't just jump into the water anywhere as some places have extremely strong currents--make sure to do your research or start and stop at designated launch sites.
Once you understand the area you wish to enjoy the Saco becomes a great place to kayak, canoe, tube, or even swim while the steady current carries you gracefully toward the ocean... but don't worry you won't be close enough for the sharks to get you!
During the summer the water is usually on the colder side but that is exactly what you want on a hot day. The river is quite wide in some spots which doesn't allow for too much shade from overhanging branches. It leaves the water clear and refreshing but leaves you under attack from the hot sun so bring proper protection.
If you head down in the fall you will be surrounded by our infamous trees that draw leaf peepers from around the country who come to gaze at North Conway's postcard like beauty. You can even head down when it's winter! But I wouldn't recommend going into the water. You can take some gorgeous pictures that will be uninterrupted since the crowds will have dispersed.
The river is surrounded by beautiful trees, plants, and wildlife that are there to be enjoyed--although not ruined. Be respectful of the beautiful nature around you and soak it all in. We have fresh, clean New England air and water. Our green trees will provide opportunities to breathe in fresh air and will surround your family photos in bright, photogenic greenery.
You can enjoy the river for the afternoon or for over a week. Just make sure you don't miss the opportunity to enjoy these gorgeous waters that New England has provided to us all.
The History of the Saco River
Thousands of years before colonizers came to New England the Saco River provided Native Americans in several ways; from being a great source of fish to drawing out wildlife to be hunted. There are even several plants that are only found growing around the Saco River that are not found anywhere else in the world. During the early 17th century the Saco attracted European colonizers as bountiful natural resource and they began to build towns surrounding its waters.
The Saco River begins its descent up in the Crawford Notch, in Saco Lake, and heads straight through to Western Maine before emptying out into the Atlantic Ocean.
The history of the Saco River goes back 10,000 years! There is evidence of civilizations way beyond colonial America and into ancient history. Saco means "land where the river comes out" in its original language; Eastern Abenaki, which is the old language of Quebec.
They have discovered various trails which provide proof that Native American's inhabited this beautiful land and gathered resources from the water itself dated all the way back to the 1600's. After the 1700's they discovered many ruins of cellars and walls along the Sacos banks. This was due to the river being a heavily used natural resource during colonial times, as well as before colonial times. Heading up along this 136 miles river you will find several different spots that have been registered as National Historical Landmarks.
This powerful river drains water from 1,703 miles of rural New England land into the Atlantic and today it supplies clean drinking water to thirty-five separate towns surrounding its waters. So please hold your pee!
Despite the Saco Rivers growing human population it continues to be a great safe-haven for North American wildlife. This mighty river flows straight through the White Mountain National Forest and provides sustenance and homes for rare birds, plants, and common wildlife. All of the wildlife that surrounds itself by the waters is protected by the National Parks Service.
Even today the Saco River is a thriving ecosystem and it is home to several rare species that deserve our respect. If you don't then the Curse of the Saco River may fall upon you!
The Curse of the Saco River
The Curse of the Saco River will only get you if you believe in curses! No, I'm kidding it could get you anyway... No! I'm kidding! It's just an old legend.
It is said that in the late 1600's the Chief of the Saco Tribe, Chief Squando, was canoeing with his wife and infant son on the river when three English sailors snatched the baby from the wife's arms and threw him mercilessly into the rivers turbulent waters.
The white men drunkenly claimed that Native American infants were supposed to be strong swimmers and they wanted to see if it was true (are you kidding me?). The mother did rescue the baby successfully but he died of his injuries just a few days later.
Chief Squando, who obviously had magical powers, cast a curse that haunts the river to this day. The Saco River would claim three white lives for its own annually. Some locals have nicknamed the Saco River, "The River of Death". There does seem to be accidents and deaths surrounding the rivers waters more than once a year...it makes you want to believe in curses.
However, people tend to mix liquor and strong currents regularly so you can't be too surprised by accidents that happen along its waters.
There is another version of the legend. This version says that near Limington (Maine) three white settlers kidnapped the chiefs daughter in a canoe where she fell into the water and immediately drowned.
No matter which curse you choose to believe in, or none at all, you have to respect the Saco and its power. The river has taken many lives over the years. Could it be because of the strong current? Rapids? Waterfalls? The curse? You can decide for yourself, just don't underestimate it.
The legend of the Saco goes back 300 years and there are no exact numbers, dates or documentation of all of the lives that the Saco has taken. What we do know is that this river is powerful and has taken many souls out to the Atlantic.
The Real Deal About the Saco River
This is a river that deserves our respect whether it's because of the curse or just human ignorance. So make sure you're here to enjoy nature and add beauty and leave your rambunctious, annoying behavior at home. No one likes those people anyway--trust me. It makes us all understand why the Grinch chose to live on his garbage mountain with his dog.
At the end of the day you are outside to get some well-needed sun, fresh air and new experiences. You can float leisurely down the Saco River's current or play around in its waterfalls at Diana's Bath. No matter what you choose to do come enjoy this gorgeous water that's right around the corner from the Four Seasons Lodge! We'll be down at the water on horseback so we'll see you there!
Teena (603) 662-5391
We are locals and know the ins and outs of North Conway.