Two people kayaking on a lakeFour Missouri state parks offer boat rentals for visitors who want to explore the Ozark’s pristine floating streams. Canoes and kayaks can also be rented at several parks for use on lakes within or bordering the park.

Sam A. Baker State Park has canoe, kayak and raft rentals for floating on the lazy St. Francis River. Big Creek is a delightful little stream that runs through the park. It can be an adventurous float when the water is high enough.

Bennett Spring State Park offers floats on the Niangua River in either a canoe or raft. Or bring the entire family and rent both. 

Meramec State Park has canoe, kayak and raft rentals for a gentle float on a stretch of the Meramec River perfect for families and beginners.

Washington State Park offers floats on Big River, which flows by the park.

Ozark float streams can be crowded on summer Saturdays. On most other days, you’ll have the river to yourself. Spring, when the redbuds and dogwoods are blooming, and fall, when autumn color is peaking, are the best times to be on an Ozark river.

Floatation vests are required for young children, and recommended for all.