Okay, so summer has come and gone and we’re making way for the cooler weather of fall. But that doesn’t mean you can’t begin planning your next spring or summer adventure.
If you enjoy outdoor pursuits and a little adventure that’s off-the-beaten-track, you really don’t have to travel all that far. Most states across the U.S. are host to a network of beautiful rivers that make for exceptional river float adventures to tack onto your vacation.
If you’ve never experienced a river float trip, here’s what to expect from some of America’s most scenic rivers…
10 River Float Expeditions for Your Next Outdoor Adventure
Picture this: you’re drifting down a calm, scenic river, flanked by rocky outcrops and beautiful overhanging vegetation. The sun warms your skin as you take in your surroundings with a cool beverage in your hand.
Sounds ideal, right? River float trips are the perfect way to unwind, enjoy the outdoors and explore a few lesser-known parts of the U.S. And no, lesser-known doesn’t mean less beautiful!
Each trip varies in length, choose a river float half day trip, full day trip or float for just a few hours. Either way, it’s a fantastic way to take in your surroundings on your next adventure vacation:
1. Snake River, Idaho
Located near the ever-popular Jackson Hole in Idaho, a float along the Snake River will take you to stunning waterfalls. But you’ll need to put in a little bit of effort to get there.
Instead of just a tube to float in, you can hire a raft of your own or enlist the services of a guided tour. All-in-all, the paddle is worth the spectacular waterfall views and refreshing waters to swim in.
2. Merced River, California
For truly spectacular scenery that you just can’t beat on land, take to the waters of the Merced River which runs through the mighty Yosemite Valley. From the water, you’re greeted with unrivaled views of Yosemite Falls and the Half Dome.
You can rent a raft of your own from Half Dome Village or simply bring your own tune for the relaxing three-mile float downriver. When you’re done, take to land and explore the rest of Yosemite while you’re there!
3. Current River, Missouri
If Missouri is known for one thing, it’s outdoor beauty thanks to its spectacular Ozarks region and the many scenic riverways that run through it.
While you’re exploring the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, stop off at Current River for a day of floating while you take in the beautiful scenery. There are a number of tubing companies in the region that offer three-hour, three-mile or all-day float expeditions.
4. Salt River, Arizona
Now, Arizona is not necessarily somewhere you’d associated with tons of water, but the Salt River is certainly worth exploring.
Located near Phoenix, the Salt River winds through canyons, flanked by towering cliffs and lush green vegetation. You may even get a chance to spot the region’s iconic wild horses and wonderful cacti formations.
The Salt River is also host to the Arizona Floating Picnic, but be warned, you’ll be pegged with marshmallows throughout the float!
5. Grant River, Wisconsin
The Grant River is located in southwest Wisconsin and is revered for its incredibly lush, scenic beauty. The river is lined by rich woodlands and rocky ledges and you can also expect the occasional rush of rapids.
The Grant River is approximately 44-miles long, so this makes it ideal for a half-day float expedition, which should take up to five hours.
6. Chattahoochee River, Georgia
Georgia is home to the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area which runs right through the center of Atlanta’s metro area. But as you reach the outskirts of town, you’ll find the lush, green vegetation that Georgia is renowned for.
This wide expanse of river is a wonderful way to beat the heat and humidity of the south while taking in the beauty and birdsong of this U.S. state.
7. James River, Virginia
James River is a fantastic option if you’re just looking for a short two-three-hour float expedition. Make your way from the river to the vineyard after and explore the wineries of the Charlottesville area. After all, this region is well-known as the home of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
Otherwise, head deeper into the Blue Ridge Mountains and take up a tubing expedition of the James River from Buchanan. Conveniently, there is the Botetourt County wine trail to experience there too.
8. Sinking Creek, Missouri
Although Echo Bluff State Park has only been open for a short while, it has everything you need when exploring the Ozark’s of Missouri.
This state park is host to all the amenities and recreation you could wish for, including float tours of Sinking Creek, kayak and canoe tours, hiking, and more.
When you’re finished with your scenic float tour, choose to spend the night in a fully-kitted cabin or pitch a tent at the water’s edge.
9. French Broad River, North Carolina
Did you know that the French Broad River is the third-oldest river in the world? In fact, it’s even older than the Blue Ridge Mountains it carves its way through.
This beautifully lush river region of North Carolina offers a seven-mile float tour, beginning at Hominy Creek. From there, you’ll wind through the River Arts District where you can explore dozens of local art studios at your leisure.
At the end of your float tour, enjoy a few craft brews at the local Bywater Bar perched on the riverfront.
10. Root River, Minnesota
Minnesota may be well-known for its vast network of lakes (all 12,000 of them!), but this also makes for a vast network of rivers. Head to southeast Minnesota and take up a float tour on the beautiful Root River, flanked by evergreen vegetation, and plenty of birdlife.
If you’re looking for a little action before or after your float tour, explore the 60-mile trail system of the region with a hike or mountain bike ride.
Looking for Travel and Local Accommodation Tips?
We hope this blog has inspired you to try something different next summer and book yourself a river float trip- it could literally be in the same state you live in!
Looking for more travel and local accommodation recommendations? Be sure to explore the rest of our website for more.