Float trips in Arkansas are one of the best ways to get out and enjoy nature. With everything from stunning rocky bluffs to beautiful cypress trees, river floats in Arkansas never disappoint!

In this ultimate guide to float trips in Arkansas, we’re going to cover everything you need to know for planning your Arkansas float trips. We’re not only going to cover the best rivers to float in Arkansas but also all the details for planning your trip. Where to rent equipment for each river, the best places to stay close by and so much more!

So whether you have no idea where to start or you’ve already done a ton of float trips on the Buffalo River and you’re looking for something different, we have you covered!

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Arkansas Float Trips Featured Pin

In this Arkansas float trips guide we’ll cover:

We’re going to tell you all about the best float trips in Arkansas so you can find your favorite river without having to look all over the place!

  • The best rivers for float trips in Arkansas
  • Where to stay for your float trip
  • The best campground near each river
  • The best outfitter for each river
  • And so much more!
Keep reading for all the details on how to plan your float trips in Arkansas!

Float Trips in Arkansas near Eureka Springs

1. The Buffalo River

the buffalo river float trip arkansas

The Buffalo River is by far one of the most popular rivers in Arkansas to float and for good reason. Buffalo River float trips never disappoint! The entire river is also protected by the National Parks Service and was America’s first National River.

If you’re going to float the Buffalo River in Arkansas there are three main sections to choose from, The Upper, Middle, and Lower Buffalo from West to East. The entire river is rated anywhere from “easy” to “medium” but it’s still a good idea to know the different areas because they are quite different.

The National Park Service’s website has lots of great information about all three sections of the Buffalo River including info on water levels, how to check them, and what’s considered safe.

The Upper Buffalo River

This section of the Buffalo River has some of the most jaw-dropping amazing bluffs that you will ever see on a float trip. But it’s also the most rain-dependent section of the river so it’s not uncommon for this section to either be too low to float or flowing quite quickly making it a more challenging float trip.

Where to Rent – Lost Valley Canoe & Lodging

Lost Valley is a great outfitter if you’re looking to float the Upper Buffalo River. They rent canoes, kayaks, and rafts. They provide shuttle services and have a great general store.

Where to Camp – Steel Creek Campground

We stayed at Steel Creek Campground when we visited the Upper Buffalo River and it was absolutely beautiful. The bluffs on the other side of the river are just spectacular. There are 26 tent campsites and 14 horse campsites. No RVs unfortunately.

Where to Stay – Ozark Oasis Cabin

This cabin is absolutely perfect for a weekend on the river! It’s not only close to the Buffalo River, but it’s also near several different hiking trails. So you’ll be able to hit the river one day and hike some of the best trails Arkansas has to offer the next!

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The Middle Buffalo River

This is the area of the Buffalo River near Tyler Bend. This section still has some amazing bluffs, but the water is a little bit more consistent which will give you more flexibility when planning your float trip. The Middle Buffalo River also has great stopping spots like Grinder’s Ferry and various other swimming holes and spots for cliff jumping!

Where to Rent – Buffalo Camping and Canoeing

Buffalo Camping and Canoeing is the perfect option if you plan to float the middle section of the Buffalo River. They have floats ranging from 4-10 miles and most of them will start out up river so you can float back to town.

Where to Camp – Tyler Bend Campground

Tyler Bend is the perfect place to set up camp if you’re planning to float the middle section of the Buffalo River. They’re open year-round and it’s the primary Visitor Center for the entire area. They have tent sites, group sites, RV sites, and more.

Where to Stay – Napper Paradise Log Cabin

There are lots of great places to stay just north of the river if you plan to float the middle section of the river. Out of them all, this cabin is certainly one of the best! It has a massive porch with an amazing view, a fire pit, a pool and so much more!

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The Lower Buffalo River

The Lower Buffalo River is the section near Buffalo Point. This lower section of the river is much more consistent and is generally speaking floatable year-round. It’s also normally the area of the river with the fewest floaters so it’s great if you’re looking for a little more solitude on your float.

Where to Rent – Buffalo River Float Service

Buffalo River Float Service is our pick for the best Lower Buffalo River outfitter. They rent tubes, kayaks, rafts, and canoes and provide shuttle services. They have single day and multiple-day float options and even some guided fishing trips!

Where to Camp – Buffalo Point Campground

If you’re visiting the Buffalo River in your RV then the Lower Buffalo River and Buffalo Point Campground is where you want to head! Buffalo Point is the only campground in the park that has electric and water hook-ups for RVs. Buffalo Point actually has over 80 sites so you’re sure to find the perfect one for your weekend on the river!

Where to Stay – Buffalo River Retreat

This modern take on a cabin is a great option for a place to stay if you’re planning to float the lower section of the Buffalo River. There’s a great covered deck in case the rain sets in and 25 acres of property to relax and enjoy the quiet after a long day on the river.

Browse Other Airbnb Rentals near the Lower Buffalo River

2. The Kings River

kings river arkansas float trips
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A canoeing trips in Arkansas list would never be complete without The Kings River! The Kings River is over 90 miles long, starting in the Boston Mountains and flowing north until it ends at Table Rock Lake. Most people divide the Kings River into two sections: the Upper Kings and the Lower Kings.

The Lower Kings is a pretty easy float with most sections being rated as Class I (easy). While the Upper Kings River is a bit more intense with several areas being rated as Class III (intermediate). The area of the Kings River between Rockhouse and Trigger Gap is the most popular area to float.

Most of the banks along the Kings River are a mixture of massive rock bluffs and lots of trees. There are also plenty of gravel bars and deep pools all along the Kings River which make a great place to float if you’re looking to stop and start as you go!

Overall, the Kings River has some of the best float trips Arkansas has to offer!

Where to Rent – Trigger Gap Outfitters

Trigger Gap Outfitters is a great family-owned business that has everything you need for a float down the Kings River. They rent everything from canoes and kayaks to SUP boards and rafts so you can hit the river however you like.

Where to Camp – Kettle Campground

Kettle Campground is the perfect place to set up camp for a weekend of floating the Kings River! They’re pet friendly. They have tent sites, cabins, and RV sites with both 30 and 50amp. They also offer military as well as Good Sam discounts!

Where to Stay – Rental House With Space for Everyone

Float trips in Arkansas are always so much fun with a big group of friends and family! This rental house is the perfect place to spend the weekend and has plenty of room for everyone! It sleeps 11 guests and has a beautiful massive kitchen so you can whip up a big breakfast before everyone hits the river.

Browse Other Airbnb Rentals near the Kings River

Want to buy your own kayak?
Check out our Guide to the 8 Best Kayaks for the Money!

3. The Mulberry River

canoe trips in arkansas on the mulberry river
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The Mulberry is an amazing river and a great option for anyone looking to take things up a notch! The Mulberry River has areas ranging from Class I (easy) to Class III (intermediate). Most of the water comes from the Boston Mountains to the East and so while the river can get a little low at times, it’s generally speaking floatable anywhere from October until about June.

The water of the Mulberry River is exceptionally beautiful and has a greenish-blue tint to it. The entire river is 70 miles long but the area near Mill Creek and Wolf pen is the most popular area to float.

Mulberry River float trips are also a great opportunity to try whitewater rafting! But be warned it can be a little difficult to plan your trip too far in advance. The river fluctuates quite a bit based on the recent rainfall and so there will be times when the river is pretty low, only to be running like crazy a short time later.

Outfitters in the area start and stop trips based on the river conditions for safety reasons and so be sure to stay in close contact with your outfitter leading up to your trip so you know what to expect from the river!

Where to Rent – Turner Bend

Turned Bend is a great outfitter for the Mulberry River. They rent canoes, kayaks, and a few different size rafts. The water on the Mulberry can also get a bit cold, but Turner Bend also rents wetsuits to keep you nice and toasty while you’re out on the river.

Where to Camp – Redding Recreation Area

Redding is operated by the USDA. They have 27 campsites and all of them are first come first served, so make sure you arrive plenty early so you’re sure to get a great spot! They have water spigots throughout the campground, a canoe launch, and a bathhouse.

Where to Stay – Quaint Rustic Home

If camping isn’t your style, that’s okay! There are plenty of other great places to stay in the area. This rental house is only a short 5-minute drive from Turner Bend and sits right on the Mulberry River! It has excellent ratings and the host is an Airbnb Superhost!

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Float Trips in Arkansas near the Missouri Border

4. The White River

white river float trips arkansas
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The White River is 720 miles long and offers everything from small little stream sections that are fun to navigate through to larger easy-going sections. The area near Buffalo City where the White River and the Buffalo River meet is one of the most popular areas to float.

The White River is a great option for anyone who has floated the Buffalo River before and is looking for something new. The White River still has many of the spectacular bluffs like the Buffalo river, but also more open homestead areas. It’s a great river for fishing, particularly trout and smallmouth bass.

There’s also quite a bit of variety with White River float trips. So if you’re looking for anything from a short float only a few hours long all the way up to 12-14 hours or multi-day trips, the White River has you covered!

Where to Rent – Riley’s Outfitter

You can’t go wrong with Riley’s for floating the White River Arkansas. They have kayaks and canoes and shuttles of course, but if you’re looking for something a little bigger they also rent boats and provide guided fishing tours.

Where to Camp – White River Campground

The White River Campground offers both camping and cabins. They have 50 full hook-up RV sites and 5 tent sites. They do also have kayaks for rent so you can head out on the river right from the campground.

Where to Stay – Cabin on the River

This massive cabin right on the banks of the White River has enough space for 10 guests and comes with its own private boat dock. There is also great fishing right off the dock for everything from browns to rainbows!

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Want to Go On a Float Trip in Missouri?
Check Out Our Guide to the 10 Best Float Trips In Missouri

5. The Spring River

spring river float trips arkansas

The Spring River gets its name because it’s fed by Mammoth Spring. Since most of the other floating rivers in Arkansas are fed by rainwater, this means the Spring River is quite a bit different.

Being spring-fed makes going on Spring River float trips much more consistent because the river isn’t so dependent on rainwater. The water is also much clearer, making it great for spotting fish and swimming. But it’s also generally much colder than other rivers in the area which makes float trips on the Spring River a great way to beat the summer heat!

Spring River floats offer plenty of variety for everyone from float trip first-timers to seasoned veterans looking for something a little more exciting. The Spring River has sections ranging from Class I (easy) all the way up to Class III (intermediate).

The area of the Spring River between Mammoth Spring and Hardy Arkansas is the most popular section of the river to float.

Where to Rent – River Wilderness Sports

River Wilderness Sports is conveniently located right in Hardy. They’ll shuttle you upriver and you can float right back to your car. They rent tubes, canoes, kayaks and so much more. They even offer shuttle only service if you have your own equipment and just need a ride upriver.

Where to Camp – Spring River Oak

Spring River Oak is the perfect option for camping when you float the Spring River. They have everything from tent sites to RV sites with water and either 30 or 50 electric. Most of their sites are right along the river.

Where to Stay – The Best Cabin on the River

This cabin has the best location that you could possibly ask for to float the Spring River. The backyard of the cabin is the bank of the river. It’s also a great spot for fishing if you want to catch a few fish while you’re there!

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Float Trips in Arkansas near Little Rock

6. The Little Maumelle Water Trail

river tubing in arkansas on the little maumelle
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Lists of Arkansas float trips often overlook the Little Maumelle and that’s too bad because it provides some of the most unique scenery and camping opportunities!

The Little Maumelle Water Trail is located in Pinnacle State Park just outside Little Rock Arkansas. And if you’re looking for something a little different, the Little Maumelle is for you! Even though it lacks in exciting rapids, the Little Maumelle makes up for it in the amazing sights you’ll see along the way.

Along the banks of the Little Maumelle are beautiful cypress trees growing up out of the water creating a super unique float trip experience. The wildlife is also particularly great along the Little Maumelle. Bald Eagles, Barred Owls, Bever, White-tail Deer, and even the occasional freshwater alligator can all be seen in the area!

If you’re really looking to experience an outdoor experience like no other, we recommend spending a night out on the floating platform! It’s just like it sounds, a floating platform complete with porta-potty bathroom facilities. You can make a reservation on the Arkansas Watertrails Partnership website. Just bring your tent and gear with you on your float for a night out in nature that’s hard to beat!

Where to Rent

We recommend you bring your own canoe, or kayak to float the Little Maumelle Water Trail since there aren’t many outfitters that service that area. If you don’t have one just yet you can check out our step-by-step guide to choosing the best kayak for beginners.

Where to Camp – Maumelle Campground

Maumelle campground is a great place to camp if you plan to float the Little Maumelle River. They have 128 sites that have electricity along with 8 large group picnic shelters, a shower house, boat ramp, and more! There are no walkup sites available so make sure you grab your reservation on recreation.gov before you go.

Where to Stay – Pine Way Court

This Airbnb is a wonderful house that is absolutely perfect for families or a group looking for a great weekend on the river. It sleeps 5 and has a massive kitchen so you can whip up a great breakfast before you head out for a day of fun in the outdoors! It’s also conveniently located between the Maumelle River and Little Rock so you can float the river one day and hit the town the next.

Browse Other Airbnb Rentals near The Little Maumelle Water Trail 

Need Your Own Tent?
Check Out Our Guide to Buying the Best 4 Person Tent

7. The Big Piney

river float trips in arkansas running stream

While the Big Piney Creek might be a creek by name, this 67-mile long beautiful body of water deserves to be on this list as much as any other. It’s a top-notch option for floating in Arkansas!

There are some small rapids on the Big Piney but they’re mixed in with plenty of slower more relaxing areas. All through beautiful scenery that’s a mix of spectacular bluffs and hardwood forests.

The Piney flows from the Ozark National Forest down to where it joins the Arkansas River. The further upriver you go the more remote and fewer people you’ll find. The area around the Long Pool Recreation Area is one of the most popular sections to float.

The Big Piney provides plenty of great places to stop, swim, and hangout which makes it a great option for groups looking to start and stop as they go. Anytime from fall all the way until mid to late June is usually the best time to head out for Big Piney float trips.

Where to Rent – Moore Outdoors

Moore Outdoors is a great outfitter for floating the Big Piney River. They rent canoes, kayaks, and rafts as well as provide shuttle services. They’ve been open for over 40 years and so it would be tough to find a group of people who know more about the Big Piney than the great folks over at Moore Outdoors.

Where to Camp – Long Pool Recreation Area

Long Pool is one of the best places to set up camp if you’re looking for a weekend of floating on the Big Piney. All of their campsites are first-come-first-served so be sure to get there early so you can grab the perfect spot! Long Pool is located inside of the Ozark National Forest and so the campground is operated by the USDA.

Where to Stay – Ozark Mountain Cabin

This cabin is absolutely beautiful and super conveniently located. It’s just outside the Ozark National Forest and a great place to bring all your friends and family for a getaway floating the Big Piney River. It’s located only two miles from Long Pool so you don’t have to spend your weekend driving around.

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Float Trips in Arkansas near Hot Springs

8. The Saline River

arkansas river float trips on the saline river
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The Saline River is usually just referred to as “The Saline” and it’s a great river for floating no matter what your skill level is or if you’ve ever been out on a river before! The entire river is 202 miles long but most people choose to float the section between Benton Arkansas and where the Alum Fork, North Fork, and Middle Fork combine just south of Highway 5.

A float trip down the Saline will treat you to an amazing variety of scenery and is a great option if you’re looking for a float trip with not only beautiful wooded areas but also sections that are more open so you can enjoy the sunshine!

It’s located about an hour and a half from Hot Springs Arkansas and it’s usually best to float the Saline between April and July.

Where to Rent – Saline River Canoe Rental

Located just north of Benton, Arkansas – Saline River Canoe Rental has everything you need for a canoe trip on the Saline. They offer two different floating options that generally speaking take 2-4 hours depending on the float that you choose. They also have a canoe race that takes place in May.

Where to Camp – J.B.’s RV Park and Campground

J.B.’s is located just south of Saline River Canoe Rental and so it’s just a short drive up I-30 when you’re ready to head out on the river. They have everything 30/50amp full hook-up RV sites that are pull-through. They also have a bathhouse and a dump station on site.

Where to Stay – Garden Cottage

This Airbnb is perfect if you’re looking for a place to stay and you don’t want to camp. It’s an entire house that you’ll have all to yourself. It sleeps 6 guests and is super reasonably priced. The host Laura is an Airbnb Superhost and they are conveniently located nearby if you need anything during your stay.

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9. The Caddo River

caddo river on of the best float trips in arkansas
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The Caddo River is just over an hour and a half southwest of Little Rock, Arkansas and it’s a great option for anyone looking for a little more of a relaxing float or a river that would be good for families. The entire river is rated Class I – Class II (easy to moderate), so no matter what your skill level is you’ll have no problem floating down the Caddo.

The section of the river between Caddo Gap and Glenwood is the most popular area of the river to float, and for good reason! With a mixture of forest, rocky outcroppings, and great places to stop and swim, the Caddo has a little something for everyone in the group.

March until June is typically the best time of year for Caddo River float trips, but since the river is a little more consistent than some other rivers in Arkansas, you can sometimes float all the way into September depending on the rain.

Where to Rent – Caddo River Camping and Canoe Rental

Caddo River Camping and Canoe Rental has everything you need for a great trip out on the river. They rent canoes, but also kayaks and rafts so you’re sure to find a setup that works best for you! They also have several different route options just in case the river is a little bit low.

Where to Camp – Arrowhead Cabin & Canoe

Arrowhead has tent sites, RV sites, and Cabins and they even organize float trips. All of their RV sites are full hook-ups and you have 30 amp and 50 amp to choose from. Their tent sites are dispersed and first-come-first-served.

Where to Stay – Hidden Cabin Retreat

This cabin is absolutely perfect for a family trip or a group of friends planning to float the Caddo. There is a massive covered deck where you can relax and soak up every last second of the beautiful nature all around. There is also an air-hockey table and a foosball table for group game night!

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10. The Ouachita River

rivers in arkansas to float the ouachita
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There are actually two sections of The Ouachita River that are great for floating. There is the section West of Lake Ouachita near Oden Arkansas and there is the section East of Lake Ouachita between Rockport Arkansas and the Remmel Dam.

No matter which section you choose, the Ouachita River is certainly one of the best rivers to float in Arkansas!

Remmel Dam – Ouachita River

This area of the Ouachita is by far the best option if you’re looking for an easy float that you can do on your own! Most floaters bring their own canoe, tube, or kayak and put-in near the Remmel Dam.

From there it’s a 6-mile float that takes about 3 hours to get to Rockport. Ouachita River Whitewater Park is a great place to stop and get out. The Remmel Dam also releases water regularly making the Ouachita River a great place to canoe or kayak around almost all year long.

Where to Rent

We recommend you bring your own tube to float from Remmel Dam to Rockport since there aren’t many outfitters that service that area. This Tube is a great option for getting out on the river!

Where to Camp – Lake Catherine State Park

Lake Catherine State Park is a perfect spot to set up camp if you’re going to do some tubing or floating near Remmel Dam. They have over 70 campsites to choose from and many of them are along the lakeshore so you’re sure to find the perfect spot with a great view.

Where to Stay – Lake Front House

This amazing waterfront house would be a great spot for all your friends and family to set up for a weekend of fun on the river! It sleeps 15 guests so there’s plenty of space for everyone. It’s newly furnished and has it’s own private dock and boat ramp!

Browse Other Airbnb Rentals Near the Remmel Dam

Oden – Ouachita River

Floating the Oden Arkansas area of the Ouachita is great if you’re looking for more of a traditional style float. This is a wide, beautiful section of the Ouachita that will bring you through some of the best landscapes Arkansas has to offer.

There’s also no need to have your own equipment to float this portion of the river since there are outfitters in the area. If you have your own equipment and don’t want to deal with moving your car, fear not! Most outfitters will also be happy to shuttle you along with your equipment to the put-in stop along with everyone else for a small fee.

Where to Rent – River View Cabins and Canoes

River View is a top-notch option if you’re looking to rent some equipment anywhere near Oden. They have kayaks as well as canoes and they have shuttle service to several put-ins in the area so you’ll have plenty of float options to choose from.

Where to Camp – Ouachita River Haven

Ouachita River Haven has everything you need in a campground for a weekend at the river. They have 14 tent campsites and 4 RV sites with water and electric. Many of the tent sites are right on the water and they’re spread out nicely so you’ll have some privacy at your site.

Where to Stay – House on the Ridge

This 7 guests 2 bedroom house on the ridge has a spectacular view of the Ouachita River. There is also river access from the property so you can float or fish during your stay. The hosts have over 300 acres on their farm and are more than happy to suggest some great hikes or ponds for fishing.

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Author

Ron Sefcik is the co-founder of Unearth The Voyage.

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