What is a Spring River float trip?
For those of you who are not familiar with relaxation and adventure, yes, you can do both at the same time. Spring River float trips are the ideal getaway for you and your friends and/or family. The Spring River, which runs through the great state of Arkansas, is 57 miles long and also traverses through Missouri. The Spring River is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike who take advantage of the numerous outdoor adventure companies which provide services such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing, camping, and simply tubing down the river on large inner tubes.
While some people may prefer rigorous forms of physical activity to relax, riding an inner tube down the Spring River is perfect for the adventure seeker who is also seeking tranquility. Want to relax yet indulge in a few adult beverages? Grab a few friends, tie your inner tubes together, crack open some cold ones, and let the current take you down the river along with your friends.
Before you decide to “float” away your worries on a Spring River float trip, you need to get prepared with the essentials. However, as we discuss later in this article, there are numerous outdoor adventure companies which provide tours, guides, overnight lodging, campsites, and equipment rentals if you do not possess needed supplies or do not plan on tubing that frequently.
Let’s start with the obvious. Bring an inner tube or “floatie”. The type of inner tube you’ll need depends on the conditions of the water and terrain which you plan to float through. Spring River float trips have both conditions, so it’s wise to know which type you’ll be floating through to obtain the best inner tube for your needs.
If the part of the river you’ll be floating through is rather calm and does not require navigating around rocks or low-hanging trees, then a round, donut-shaped inner tube is perfect. Actually, this is what most people think of when they think of Spring River Arkansas float trips or any river float trips in general. This method allows for you to plop down, spread out, and catch some sun while the current of the Spring River takes you on your way.
If the type of water you’ll be entering is of quicker pace and/or there will be rocks and tree limbs you’ll have to avoid, you will need to go with a sturdier inner tube with paddles or oars that allow you to navigate around such things. This type of tubing is not as relaxing, as you must be on guard for said items which may rupture your inner tube.
Here is some advice to note if you plan to pick out your own inner tube:
Make sure you check the maximum weight capacity. Two inner tubes may look identical, but one may have a significant lower weight capacity than the other based upon the quality of material or other factors. Also, just because you’re a few pounds under the weight capacity of an inner tube means it’s right for you. A lot of people when going on Spring River float trips will bring coolers and other items with them. This will likely put the weight on the inner tube above the maximum weight capacity. Finally, an inner tube is not something to go cheap on. A cheaply made inner tube increases potential for air leaks or complete tears. Experiencing something like this while on a Spring River Arkansas float trip will ruin the day.
If you’re going on a float trip without an experienced guide who comes prepared with essential safety gear, you should bring duct tape. Put it in a cooler or other waterproof bag. Duct tape will serve both for protective and reactive measures which may occur along the float trip. When you are prepping to get ready, set your inner tube down to reinforce the seams with a layer. If your inner tube hits any rocks or sticks along the journey, the additional layer of duct tape may serve as the added protection need to prevent a hole.
On the opposite end, if along your journey something pierces your inner tube, then immediately pull it out of the water and cover the damaged area(s) with duct tape. Make sure to assess the damage to determine if it was light enough for the duct tape to repair damage. A significant hole or rip is something which duct tape cannot fix.
Below are some other recommendations you may find useful on your Spring River Arkansas float trip:
- Water shoes- Most river bottoms are littered with sharp and slippery rocks which may cause severe injury or infections if not properly avoided. By wearing water shoes, you increase protection of cuts and lacerations to your feet as well as decrease likelihood of slips and falls leading to traumatic impact injury.
- A rope- You don’t need a rope to tie your inner tube to the banks; rather, tie the rope to your cooler (one that floats) and allow it to drag along behind down the river. When you’re ready for a drink, simply pull the rope to bring the cooler to you.
Spring River Float Trips: Outrigger Companies Available
If you don’t want to buy your own equipment, carry it to and from the vehicle, and worry about storing the inner tube(s) in your apartment or garage, there are numerous outrigger companies which provide float trip equipment rentals, guides, and overnight lodging for a more complete experience.
The Spring River Campground, nestled in the heart of Hardy, Arkansas, is the choice for you if you and your friends are looking for a weekend getaway. The company offers an array of services to match whatever your group is seeking, whether it be relaxing down the river on inner tubes or taking a more adventurous approach of testing your skills using a canoe or kayak.
There are different options you may choose for your Spring River Arkansas float trip. The information below exhibits different boating options, lengths of trips, and prices to select the one which is right for your group:
- 5-mile trip: kayaks- $28.50; double kayaks- $35.50; canoes- $35.50; and a six-person raft- $126.50.
- 7-mile trip: kayaks- $32.50; double kayaks- $42.50; canoes- $42.50; and a six-person raft- $145.50.
- 12-mile trip: kayaks- $38.50; double kayaks- $42.50; canoes- $42.50; and a six-person raft- $145.50.
- 14-mile trip: kayaks- $52.50; double kayaks- $62.50; canoes- $62.50; and a six-person raft- $175.50.
- 19-mile trip: kayaks- $52.50; double kayaks- $62.50; canoes- $62.50; and a six-person raft- $175.50.
RV campsites, cabins, and tent campsites are all available at Spring River. You will need to contact the company directly to obtain availability and pricing options.
This company is located in Hardy, Arkansas and has an outfit store which attracts both locals and tourists to purchase essentials associated with being on the river. The company does not have any cabins, campsites, or RV parks, so make sure that your party is looking for a simple day getaway. Spring River Camp and Canoe offers five different options which a group may select. The price options are as follows:
- 5 Mile- canoes are $35.50; kayaks are $28.50; double kayaks are $35.50; and a six-person raft is $126.50.
- 7 Mile- canoes are $42.50; kayaks are $32.50; double kayaks are $42.50; and a six-person raft is $145.50.
- 12 Mile- canoes are $42.50; kayaks are $38.50; double kayaks are $42.50; and a six-person raft is $145.50.
- 14 Mile- canoes are $62.50; kayaks are $52.50; double kayaks are $62.50; and a six-person raft is $175.50.
- 19 Mile- contact company directly for pricing.
Spring River Oaks is a full-service company offering a myriad of ways to explore the Spring River, including lodging. For tent camping, it is $10 per person per night. Children five to 12 are only $5 and those under five camp free. Most of their campsites do have access to both electric and water hook-up. There is a $10 charge for these conveniences. For RV camping, it is $10 per person per night. Children five to 12 are only $5 and those under five camp free. Most of their campsites do have access to both electric and water hook-up. There is a $10 charge for these conveniences. Also, there are both 30 and 50 AMP hook-ups available. Please make your request when you call to reserve your spot.
A variety of cabins are also available such as “camper cabins”, which have one full-size bed and a set of bunk beds that is $50 per night for up to two people; $10 extra per additional person. There are also larger cabins available with two bedrooms starting at $115 per night and three bedrooms starting at $130 per night; each adding $10 after two persons per cabin. Bedding is available for up to six persons with a maximum capacity of 10 persons per cabin.
Spring River Oaks does not offer inner tube rentals, but they do offer canoe and kayak rentals. Rental prices for both types of boating options are based upon two people in one canoe or kayak; if a third person goes in your boating unit, then add half a rental cost on to the base price. Prices are based upon the starting point to finishing point:
- Damn 3 to Spring River Oaks- $43
- Spring River Oaks to Hardy- $68
- Damn 3 to Hardy- $78
- Damn 3 to Camp Kierl- $78
- Spring River Oaks to Camp Kierl- $68
- Note- the company does not provide free shuttle fees for private canoes or kayaks. If you need your boating item(s) shuttled to the starting point, it is $43 per boating unit. Also, company staff will not drive your personal vehicle back to camp.
While not offering any inner tubes, they do offer rafts which may be used for a Spring River float trip. For a raft rental during the week:
- Two people- $60
- Three people- $75
- Four people- $90
For weekend and holiday rates, all raft rentals for four persons or less is $110.
If a person in your group is not up for either the challenge or relaxation of a Spring River Arkansas float trip, there is also great fishing available. The Arkansas Game and Fish stocks the Spring River with rainbow trout, brown trout, and other species of fish frequently which increases probability of landing a big catch! If you do not have an Arkansas fishing license, you should contact Arkansas Game and Fish or go to their website.
Many Islands Camp and Canoe is located in Mammoth Springs, which is in north-central Arkansas and offers everything needed for a mini-vacation or a long weekend. The company has been in continuous operation for more than 60 years, offering numerous boating opportunities and lodging.
The company does not have cabins or RV sites available but does have campsites readily available with electrical hookup. It is $10 for a person 12 or older, $8 for a child six to 11, and those children five or younger are free. If you need an electrical hookup, it will be $10 extra per day. They also offer firewood which is also $10 per day. Coin-operated showers are available in all bath houses.
The rental of canoes and kayaks are extremely affordable via the Many Islands Camp and Canoe. Prices for canoes and kayaks are as follows for a 10-mile Spring River Arkansas float trip:
- A canoe for 1-2 people is $42.25.
- A single person “sit on top” kayak is $35.
- For a two-person inflatable kayak it is $75.
All prices include floating from Dam #3 to the landing at Many Islands Camp, life jackets, and paddles. Other items of note are that no persons under five years of age are permitted to partake in any activities, no coolers with a length of 32”, and absolutely no “stereo coolers” or other devices which can play music to distract other clients are allowed.
Raft rentals are also available to take advantage of fun Spring River float trips. Prices are as follows:
- One to three people- $75.
- Four people- $90.
- Five people- $105.
- Six people- $120.
Same rules and restrictions apply to raft rentals as canoes and kayaks.
A unique service which Many Islands Camp and Canoe offers is its shuttle service. What is a shuttle service? Their staff transports persons who own their own boating unit (canoe, kayak, or raft) in their own vehicle from Damn #3, which is the starting point of the trip. They wait for the person to launch their boating unit, and then the staff drives the customer’s vehicle back to the Many Islands Camp and Canoe location, ready for the customer’s return. This is a nominal fee of $25 per vehicle and a $5 launching and docking fee per boating unit.
The Riverside Resort is located in the hills of the Ozark Mountains, approximately 12 miles north of Hardy, Arkansas where other full-service outriggers provide Spring River float trips. This company has recreational activities for the entire family, providing a welcoming environment exhibiting quality customer service, clean facilities, and well-maintained grounds.
Riverside Resort offers a variety of different lodging options for groups wishing to make their experience longer than a single day trip. The small cabins provide one full-size bed, a set of bunk beds, heating and air conditioning, a BBQ grill, and fire ring. For the first two people, the nightly rate is $65. For each additional person add $10. Guests of the cabin must provide their own linens, towels, and pillows.
The large cabins provide two queen-size beds, satellite television, a rollaway bed, a full kitchen and dinette, full bath and shower, heating and air conditioning, a large covered porch, and a BBQ grill. For the first two people, the nightly rate is $129. For each additional person add $15. As with the small cabins, all guests must provide their own linens, towels, and pillows.
Riverside Resort also provides sites in which a person or group may bring their own form of shelter (RV or tent) and rent a site. RV campsites are available equipped with electric and fresh water hookups, a picnic table, dump stations, and a BBQ grill. For two people at a 30 AMP site, it is $26.50 or $29.50 for a 50 AMP site. For each additional person, regardless of AMP, add $10. If you just want to bring your own tent and set it up, it is $10 per person at your site. Each site comes with a picnic table and fire ring.
The company is ready to provide you with canoe, kayak, and raft rentals to enhance your outdoor experience if you do not own any yourself. Below are rental prices:
- Canoe rental for 5 miles- $45
- Canoe rental for 8 miles- $49
- Kayak rental for 5 miles- $40
- Kayak rental for 8 miles- $45
- 3 person/5mile raft- $75 ($100 weekends)
- 3 person/8 miles raft- $100
- 4 person/5 miles raft- $95 ($125 weekends)
- 4 person/8 mile raft- $115 (125 weekends)
The Southfork Resort is located on the South Fork of the Spring River in the Ozarks and near the town of Hardy, Arkansas. Like many outdoor companies located among the Arkansas Spring River, it offers a full array of services such as boating unit rentals and lodging.
The lodging at the Southfork Resort is second to none in this area as they provide bed linens for all furnished units except the bunkhouses and camper cabin units; however, you still need to bring your own bath towels and wash cloths. All cabin rentals come with tableware and cookware, satellite television, heat and air conditioner, ceiling fans, refrigerators, coffee makers, microwaves, ovens, and wood decks with breathtaking views of the river.
Unlike other outriggers in the area, the Southfork Resort offers a lot of different cabin choices which you may select for the needs of your group. There are too many to cover in this article, but the starting and lowest price for a cabin of two people per night is $70, and you add $16 per person aged six and older after that. The most expensive and largest cabin which is offered starts at $169 per night. Additionally, another characteristic which sets this resort apart from the others is that they do allow pre-approved pets to stay in their cabins at a rate of $16 per night per pet.
If you’re looking to really “outdoors it”, then they do offer campsites where you may bring your own tent or RV. Each campsite has its own picnic table and fire pit. However, they do offer sites with electrical hookups if that’s your thing. There is no charge to use their showers. Rates of campsites are as follows:
- $8 per person per night for guests six years and older.
- A family rate is available for $29 per night which includes two adults and two children under the age of 18.
- An electric hookup is an additional $8.50 per night. This also includes a charcoal grill.
- If you want electric and water hookup, it is an additional $11 per night.
- Wood for a campfire is available at $9 per day.
- Pre-approved pets are allowed at campsites for a nominal $6 per day.
Southfork Resort does not offer any inner tube rentals but does still provide canoes, rafts, and kayaks at very competitive prices:
- A 5-mile canoe trip for two people is $38.
- A 10-mile canoe trip for two people is $40.
- A 4-person/5-mile raft trip is $100.
- A 6-person/5-mile raft trip is $126.
- A 4-person/10-mile raft trip is $120.
- A 6-person/10-mile raft trip is $150.
- If a person wishes to go solo on their trip, they may rent a one-person kayak for $32.
Guided trips are also available which provide experiences no other outrigger in the area does ranging from $20 to $40 at various mileage.
The Southwest Paddler is an informational website which provides excellent resources about many rivers, including the Arkansas Spring River. Information included on the website is a perfect start for anyone planning a Spring River Arkansas float trip. You can find information about the water quality and flow, best times to plan your Spring River float trips, potential hazards you should be cognizant of, different access points, and various outriggers and other lodging accommodations available.