Missouri rivers that are perfect for floating on a summer’s day

While Missouri is known for being the “cave state” there is a crucial element, abundant in Missouri, that is essential in the formation of caves – water.

Missouri has 30 waterways that are recommended for floating and canoeing by the Missouri Canoe & Floaters Association. 

While the mighty Mississippi and Missouri River are not the safest or cleanest bodies of water to relax in, these 11 rivers are perfect for tubing this summer.

Be sure to call ahead to any outfitters you’re looking to rent from or stay with, to check water levels and floating availabilities.

1. Niangua River – Bennett Springs

In the heart of the Ozarks is the Niangua River. This 125-mile-long river slowly winds though the lush Ozark scenery into the Osage River. 

Enjoy the cool waters that flow through the river from Bennett Springs on a canoe or kayak.

2. Meramec River – Leasburg

The Meramec River is one of the longest waterways in Missouri. The Meramec eventually flows into the Mississippi River but the areas south of Jefferson County offer perfect conditions for floating and tubing. 

There are many outfitters and campgrounds along the river and regardless where you decide to float the Meramec, you’re guaranteed a great time. Check out Ozark Outdoors to meet your needs.

James River – Galena

The James River is notable for its unusually green color, which is caused by a naturally occurring and totally safe bacteria present in the waters. 

This 130-mile-long river, located in southern Missouri, has a nice calm current perfect for tubing on a hot day. 

If you are looking for more peaceful float, the James River is worth the trip.

4. Gasconade River – Richland

The Gasconade River provides unique sights and stops for floaters. There are breath-taking bluffs, caves, and springs along the 280 miles of the waterway. 

This easy float is often peaceful with less floaters than rivers like the Huzzah, Current, and Meramec. 

If you are wanting to drop a line, spot wildlife, or just relax… the Gasconade River is a great choice.

5. Elk River – Noel

Looking to plan a float trip in the southwest corner of Missouri? Check out Elk River near Noel, almost to the Arkansas state line. 

The Elk River is known for its extremely calm and clear stream and is great for a relaxing river weekend. Shady Beach and River Ranch Resort each offer everything you need for a trip.

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The Eleven Point River is one of the most scenic rivers on the list, with minimally developed shorelines. Many of the floating resorts are only accessible by boat. 

Eleven Point may be most popular for canoeing, but the calm waters make it a great option for a float. 

Hufstedler’s Canoe Rental has you covered.

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