Top 10 Rivers & Lakes to Go Floating in Oklahoma

Are you tired of the same old summer activities? Want to add some excitement to your day?

Well, have we got a treat for you! We’re diving into the top rivers and lakes to go floating in Oklahoma.

Grab your sunscreen, your sense of adventure, and let’s dive into the best float trips Oklahoma has to offer.

We’ll cover everything from the wild and crazy to the peaceful and relaxing. Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride!

1. Illinois River

The Illinois River in Oklahoma is a sparkling gem, winding through the Cookson Hills of northeastern Oklahoma for 60 majestic miles.

While drifting along the rolling waters, prepare yourself to be amazed. Steep and rocky bluffs hug the riverbanks, giving you a spectacular backdrop for your adventure.

The flora along the Illinois River features shortleaf pine, red and white oak, and hickory.

Snap a few photos of the gorgeous scenery, but don’t lose sight of what makes this river truly special: those perfect floatin’ vibes.

The Illinois River near Tahlequah is especially float-friendly. Outfitters along the scenic banks offer tubes, kayaks, and rafts to rent.

The Illinois River is a fantastic spot for families, friend groups, and even solo travelers to spend a stress-free weekend. The currents are gentle, making it perfect for those who love a laid-back float trip.

Illinois River Tahlequah Oklahoma United States
Photo Credit: Thomas & Dianne Jones

2. Beavers Bend River Floats

At Beavers Bend River Floats, nestled in the heart of Beavers Bend State Park, you’ll have a blast floating down the Lower Mountain Fork River.

This prime float spot offers breathtaking views of the Kiamichi Mountains – it’s perfect for a day of quality floating’ with your best buds.

The 2.5-mile scenic float trip is where it’s at. Step into a canoe for $21, or grab a kayak for $11, and glide past dense forests, majestic mountains, and all the good vibes Mother Nature serves up.

On the plus side, you’ll find amazing views, tons of fun, and a side of relaxation. However, if you’re an adrenaline junkie, you might crave a bit more excitement.

Fear not, though! With other outdoor activities close by, you’re bound to find something to suit your adventure appetite.

3. Mountain Fork River

Mountain Fork River in Oklahoma is a paddler’s paradise, flowing through the stunning Beaver Bend State Park.

It’s cool waters and constant flow make it a prime spot for brown and rainbow trout fishing.

Planning a float trip? This river couldn’t be more perfect. With lush greenery all around, the vibes are chill and the rowing will keep you glowing.

Beyond its splendid sights, this river isn’t your run-of-the-mill floating hotspot. Sections through Beavers Bend State Park or Mountain Fork Park add some variety for paddle lovers.

Now, a quick heads up: The Lower Mountain Fork River Float Trip is on the shorter side, but man-oh-man is it a thrilling experience.

If you’re into white water, you’ve found the spot! Although Oklahoma isn’t known for whitewater rivers, Mountain Fork River makes a splash in a big way.

Panoramic view of colorful leaves of the trees along the Mountain Fork River at the Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow Oklahoma
Panoramic view of colorful leaves of the trees along the Mountain Fork River at the Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow Oklahoma

4. The Spring River

Nestled in Northeastern Oklahoma, the Spring River is a beauty that flows for 22 miles from Baxter Springs, Kansas, to Twin Bridges State Park.

Get ready for a laid-back float trip, surrounded by jaw-dropping 50 to 100-foot bluffs.

You might be wondering, what’s so special about the Spring River? Well, it offers wide, calm waters with just a sprinkle of ripples and rapids – the perfect setting for both novice paddlers and seasoned pros.

The Spring River is among the best canoe routes in all of Oklahoma. Grab your buddies, your canoe, and your sense of adventure because this river is calling your name.

As for the cons, we’re hard-pressed to find any – unless you’re looking for wild rapids or an adrenaline rush, in which case, this tranquil float might not be your cup of tea.

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5. Kiamichi River

Let’s talk about the Kiamichi River, a hidden gem nestled in Oklahoma’s southeastern corner.

This winding waterway flows through the beautiful Kiamichi Mountains, gifting visitors with lush scenery and a more rural atmosphere. Expect to be serenaded by birdsong while navigating gentle rapids at a relaxed pace.

To add a sprinkle of adventure, keep an eye out for remnants of an ancient railroad bridge and some itty-bitty waterfalls.

The Kiamichi’s charm lies in its pristine environment; it’s less of a party river and more of a go-with-the-flow kinda spot.

The Kiamichi River begins in Le Flore County and meanders southwest for 165 miles before emptying into the Red River.

With options ranging from seven to 100-mile float journeys, there’s something for every paddler and skill level. Oh, and for fishing enthusiasts, this river’s totally got your back.

So, should you make the Kiamichi River your next float trip destination? Absolutely!

You’ll find gorgeous landscapes and peaceful vibes. Cons? Limited services mean you’ll need to come prepared.

Sunset on the Kiamichi
Photo Credit: Thomas & Dianne Jones

6. Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge Kayaking

If you’re looking for a chill float trip around Oklahoma, Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge is the real deal.

Nestled just north of Lake Overholser, this 1,000-acre park is a hidden gem, perfect for kayaking lovers. The calm atmosphere with trees, marshes, and brush makes it feel like an oasis in the city.

The North Canadian River meanders through the refuge, offering a scenic 8-mile float that’ll leave you grinning ear to ear. Tip: Rain affects water levels, so check the gauges before setting out.

You’re not the only one who loves this place – families love it too! Also, remember to explore on foot, bike, or canoe for more fun. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, too.

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7. Glover River

Nestled in the southeast corner of McCurtain County, the Glover River is a wild river in Oklahoma that remains untamed (no dams in sight) and un-commercialized, making it the perfect spot for nature lovers looking for a peaceful escape.

Floating down the Glover River, you’ll be surrounded by pristine beauty – be it the lush greenery, enchanting mountain views, or the massive moss rock boulders lying in the background.

You might even have the entire 27-mile length of the river all to yourself! Now, that’s what we call a serene experience.

By taking a kayak or canoe, you could explore breathtaking trails, and inviting fishing spots – not a bad way to spend the day at Oklahoma’s last free-flowing river.

Don’t miss out on staying at Lost Rapids Camp at Pine Creek Lake, just a short drive from the river. It’s the perfect spot to rest after a day of floating, hiking, or fishing.

On the downside, the remote location might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you’re looking for an untouched, laid-back oasis away from the hustle and bustle, the Glover River delivers.

Riversport OKC
Photo Credit: Riversport OKC

8. Riversport OKC

If you’re looking for a splashin’ good time, Riversport OKC is the place to be. This adventure park offers whitewater rafting, kayaking, and tube floats down a man-made river, giving you the thrills you crave.

The atmosphere here is buzzing with excitement, making it perfect for folks of all ages.

But what makes Riversport OKC truly stand out is its world-tallest adventure course, the 80-foot SandRidge Sky Trail, where you can test your stamina and conquer your fears!

The park is part of the Boathouse District, which means tons of additional activities, like extreme water slides and the Rumble Drop, are right at your fingertips.

While Riversport OKC offers wild fun, some visitors might find it a tad bit pricey. But trust us, the experience is worth every penny.

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9. Watonga Lake

Get ready for an adventure on the peaceful and serene Watonga Lake. Nestled north of Roman Nose State Park, this hidden gem boasts 55 surface acres of water and three miles of shoreline, making it perfect for a laid-back day on the water with your buddies or family.

Hang out by the water’s edge and take in the beautiful surroundings that make the place extra special. Don’t forget to pack a picnic (and some sunscreen) as you unwind in this picturesque setting.

Folks have been raving about the stunning views and peaceful atmosphere. On the flip side, feathered friends aren’t as abundant here, which might put a damper on any birdwatching plans.

But hey, if you’re searching for a laid-back float trip, it’s the perfect recipe for quality downtime.

10. The Arbuckles Lake

The Arbuckles Lake is a true gem nestled in the heart of Oklahoma. Around Davis and Sulphur, you’ll find some wicked water features perfect for kayaking.

It’s part of the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, and it’s got gorgeous scenery that’ll make your jaw drop.

Now, what sets this place apart is its pristine waters, surrounded by lush vegetation and unique rock formations. If you’re lucky, you might spot a curious critter or two along your adventure.

The nearby Washita River is a tubing haven, so grab a float and make a day of it.

A quick heads-up though: During weekends, it might get a bit crowded, but don’t let that deter you.