Whether you’re planning an Illinois River float trip in the summer or this weekend, you’ll have a great time on this famous river in Tahlequah, situated in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Northeastern Oklahoma.
It runs along the Cookson Hills, giving visitors a spectacular view of the steep and rocky bluffs, abundant with various bird species and other wildlife. The Redbud trees surround the picturesque landscape, providing shade and wildlife habitats.
Illinois River Floating Guidelines
Before you book a leisurely ride downstream with Riverbend By The Bridge, check the water levels because they may continually rise or fall depending on the rain patterns and other weather conditions. Talk to the head of your local river tour guide, or The Grand River Dam authority to get some advice and safety precautions.
Here are the rules to follow and keep in mind when booking a float trip on the Illinois River in Tahlequah OK:
- 2-year-old children and below are not allowed.
- Don’t bring styrofoam or glass containers.
- Don’t take coolers over 50 quarts.
- Some public accesses prohibit alcoholic drinks, but 6% may be allowed.
On the other hand, you can take these items on the Illinois River:
- Sunscreen, trash bag, and dry box for items including phone, whistle, first aid kit, and keys.
- Up to a 50 quart cooler or ice chest with a locking feature or bungee to keep it shut.
- Water shoes for feet protection as the river bed have some rocks.
- Lots of water for proper hydration during the floating adventure.
- Hat, sunglasses, and extra cover-up clothes. The sun can be harsh during the summer, so an extra cover-up and sunglasses are life-savers.
- Snacks and lunch packs to gain energy since paddling and swimming burn a lot of calories.
You should also wear a life jacket or personal floating device to stay protected from strong currents and obstacles that may flip the raft.
Different Ways to Float the Illinois River
The most popular way to float the breathtaking landscape of the Illinois River is by kayaks, tube, and inflatable rafts.
- Kayaking. The kayak can accommodate only up to two people and is more maneuverable.
- Rafting. Rafts are ideal for family float trips or a large group of people.
Whether you’re a novice or an expert in floating the Illinois River, this gentle-flowing watercourse is safe for you as there are only a few hazards and moderate currents. You can choose from various lengths of floating trips, ranging from 4 to 10 miles.
Attractions On The Illinois River In Tahlequah
If you want to explore more attractions near the Illinois River in Oklahoma aside from hiking and camping in the campsites nearby, try stopping by the north side of quaint downtown Tahlequah.
Then park your car and walk around the beautiful town and see all the peaceful creeks that run in and out of Tahlequah. The locals take pride in their small business community, which is full of small boutiques, bars and restaurants and even a nine-hole disc golf course at the Northeastern State University campus.
Other attractions to visit near Tahlequah after an overnight float trip on the Illinois River include:
- Mountain biking trails
- Lake Tenkiller Tour
- Cherokee Heritage Center Tour
During the floating season including Labor Day and Memorial Day, many activities are accessible for visitors including kayaking, tubing, and rafting. You can also camp, swim, or enjoy the beach with the kids and explore the bridges and campgrounds together.
Make sure to plan your leisure trip in advance so that you’ll have memorable travels with friends and family. Check out this guide before booking your trip to get some helpful tips on the best Illinois River cool water floating adventure.