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Top 10 Best Float Trips in Arkansas in 2023

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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, the best places to float the river in Arkansas 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 your floating trips in Arkansas covered. Here are the very best places to float in Arkansas to help you find the best river to float in Arkansas.

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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!

Planning a float trip?  
Check out our ultimate packing guide for a float trip so you don’t forget anything!

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 has some of the best float trips near Fayetteville AR. 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.

There are plenty of Buffalo River float trips Arkansas to choose from. The entire river is also rated anywhere from “easy” to “medium” but it’s still a good idea to know the different areas because Arkansas River floats in these areas are quite different.

In the next few sections, we’ll cover where to float the Buffalo River in Arkansas.

The National Park Service’s website also 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.

Here are the best Buffalo River Arkansas float trips for each of the three sections.

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 rather quickly which turns it into a more challenging float trip.

  • Where to RentLost 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 – Adorable Boho Cabin
    This adorable cabin is newly built with the perfect boho touches so you’ll be relaxing in style. The bathroom is my favorite with a soaking tub, rain shower, and for a sweet touch, the host leaves luxurious toiletries. Of course, the best part is this cabin is super close to the Buffalo River and has amazing views out over the valley.

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Upper Buffalo River

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 Arkansas River floating trip.

The Middle Buffalo River also has great stopping spots like Grinder’s Ferry and various other swimming holes and spots for cliff jumping! This is one of the best sections for Buffalo River float trips.

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.

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.

This A-Frame Cabin has some of the coolest wood touches with tables made from trees right on the ranch, to a neat spiral staircase and a gorgeous rain shower. You will feel right at home staying in this cabin. It has gorgeous views and is only minutes away from 3 outfitters who will get you set up to float the Buffalo River.

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Middle Buffalo River

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. Here’s the need-to-know information for planning the best Lower Buffalo River float trips – some of the best for floating Arkansas!

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!

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 for your Buffalo float trip! 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!

This beautiful cabin is in the best possible location for a lower Buffalo River float trip. It’s also only 7 miles away from 2 river access points with numerous outfitters nearby to help you have a great time floating down the Buffalo River.

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Lower Buffalo River

Planning a float trip?  We’ve got some detailed guides and packing lists to help you plan an unforgettable trip.

2. The Kings River

the kings river arkansas float trip
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Any 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. Here’s your guide to Kings River Arkansas float trips – some of the best Northwest Arkansas float trips you can go on!

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 trip Northwest Arkansas 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! Here are the very best Kings River float trips Arkansas.

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 and go on one of the best floats in Arkansas.

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!

This cabin is where it’s at if you’re looking for an ultimate float trip cabin. Cabins that are located ON the river with their own gravel bar are hard to find, and this one has that plus so much more. It has 3 bedrooms and a loft so it can sleep 10 people and has dirt roads for 4-wheeling. The cabin itself is beautiful and even has a hot tub on the back deck to soak in at night!

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Kings River

Want to bring along your own kayak on a float trip in Arkansas? Check out our guide to buying the best kayak for the money!

3. The Mulberry River

canoe trips in arkansas on the mulberry river
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The Mulberry is one of the best Arkansas floating rivers and is 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 for Arkansas floating. It’s generally speaking floatable anywhere from October until about June and one of the best floating rivers in Arkansas!

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 few days 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!

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.

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.

If camping isn’t your style, that’s okay! Check out this cozy, gorgeous cabin instead. The floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Mulberry River steal the show in this 3 bedroom cabin. You can hang out on the porch and cookout on the grill or swing from the hammocks overlooking the river. This is definitely a must check out Arkansas cabin!

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Mulberry River

Float Trips In Arkansas Near The Missouri Border

4. The White River

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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. If you’re wondering whether you can float the White River in Arkansas, yes you most definitely can.

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 then check out White River floating Arkansas. Here’s what you need to know to plan some of the best White River Arkansas float trips.

If you want to keep it simple you can always check out this awesome tour that cruises around the beautiful White River. They’ll also teach you about all about the wildlife on the river.

You can’t go wrong with Riley’s for floating 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.

The White River Campground offers both camping and cabins. The perfect place to stay during a float trip White River Arkansas.  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.

This beautiful home right on the banks of the White River is great for a group of people looking to float White River Arkansas or even to go on a fishing trip. The house has a large screened-in porch so you can relax outside without worrying about bugs.

The master bedroom has a gorgeous stone fireplace and views of the river right out the window. This house has everything you could need to have a wonderful time checking out the White River!

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the White River

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.

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! Here’s your guide to Spring River Arkansas float trips.

Spring River floats offer plenty of variety for everyone from float trip first-timers to seasoned veterans looking for something a little more exciting. If you’re floating the Spring River in Arkansas, it 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.

River Wilderness Sports is conveniently located right in Hardy, perfect for floating Spring River Arkansas. 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 a shuttle-only service if you have your own equipment and just need a ride upriver for your Spring River float Arkansas.

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.

If you’re planning to float the Spring River Arkansas, this eclectic cabin right on the river’s banks and a great option for a group of friends or family looking to have a fun weekend Spring River floating. The cabin comes with kayaks, paddles, and fun floaties so you can enjoy paddling around the river right from the cabin. The cabin is cute, comfy, and reviewers report there is good fishing right from the cabin.

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Spring River

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 exciting rapids, the Little Maumelle more than makes up for it in the amazing sights you can 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 for 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.

Maumelle campground is a great place to camp if you plan to float the Little Maumelle River. It’s the perfect place to stay for river floats Arkansas. 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.

This cute little cottage is situated on a 10-acre lake and is only a few miles away from Pinnacle State Park. This cottage has everything you need for a comfortable and relaxing stay and is highly recommended!

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Little Maumelle Water Trail

Looking to camp & need a tent? 
Check out our guide to buying the best 4 person tents.

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 and perfect for those looking for amazing float rivers in Arkansas!

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 hang out 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.

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.

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.

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.

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Big Piney River

Float Trips In Arkansas Near Not 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 near hot springs Arkansas 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 really is one of the best rivers to float near Hot Springs Arkansas.

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. If you’re looking for Hot Springs Arkansas float trips, The Saline River is the place to float.

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.

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.

This Best Western in Benton Arkansas is the perfect place to stay while floating the Saline River. It’s close to Little Rock & Hot Springs which is great because there will be no shortage of things to do in the area when you’re done with your float trip!

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Saline River

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 family river floating in Arkansas.

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.

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.

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.

This cabin is absolutely perfect for a family trip or a group of friends planning to float the Caddo. It has gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Caddo river as well as all the amenities you could want. Enjoy relaxing on the porch and listening to the sounds of nature and take the stairs down to river access right out your backdoor.

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Caddo River

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!

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.

We are huge fans of treehouses and this treehouse is one of a kind with its gorgeous porch and views looking out over the forest. We love the cute touches of this treehouse and the huge windows so you have views even from the couch!

Check Prices & Make Reservations near the Remmel Dam

Oden – Ouachita River

River floating Arkansas in the Oden 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.

River View is a top-notch option if you’re looking to rent some equipment anywhere near Oden or looking for float trips in Arkansas with cabins on route. 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.

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 electricity. 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.

This cabin right on the Ouachita River is a great option for anyone looking to get away from it all. The cabin is newly remodeled and has all the luxury amenities you could want at a very affordable price. It also has a fishing dock for anyone looking to catch a few during their vacation.

Check Prices & Make Reservations for the Ouachita River


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