Two of North America’s most popular outdoor activities during the summer months are float trips and whitewater rafting. But there are some distinct differences between each.
Float trips involve a leisurely journey down a river in an inflatable boat, while whitewater rafting is a more intense adventure on rapids and fast-moving water.
Float Trips—Enjoy the Calm Relaxation of Slow Moving Water
A unique way to relax and enjoy nature is a river float. Imagine the peacefulness of floating down a river, taking in the sights and sounds of nature around you. A river float can be an incredibly calming experience, allowing you to take some time away from the flurry of activity that comes from everyday life. It’s also an opportunity to reconnect with friends or family while enjoying the calm cooling waters to beat the summer heat.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful getaway or an exciting adventure, river floats have something for everyone. There are many benefits to going on a river float, such as cooling off, spending time with friends, and sipping on a refreshing cocktail. With the proper preparation, you can ensure that your river float is full of good times.
Whitewater Rafting—Navigating Rough Waters With an Experienced Guide
Whitewater rafting is a thrill seeker’s paradise, all while getting a full-body workout. From navigating rapids with an experienced guide, you can safely and enjoy a thrill-seeking adventure down a rapidly moving river.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The river most frequently mentioned in Lazy Days blogs is Elk River, a gently flowing river with few obstacles, and swimming in the river is easy. The other river is the Big Sugar Creek, which has ripples and tiny waves with few obstructions and is shallow in spots, and the risk to swimmers is minimal, making self-rescue easy. Most rivers in Missouri are too slow to even rank on American Whitewater’s benchmark for whitewater rapids.
How the Non-Profit, American Whitewater, Classifies Rivers
The International Scale of Whitewater Difficulty, created in the 1950s by American Whitewater. It is NOT exact, and NOT all rivers can fit into each category. The scale is simply a guide.
Class I Rapids are fast-moving currents with small waves and ripples. Obstacles are easily missed by rafters with little training, knowledge, and experience. The risk is slight to swimmers, and self-rescue is easy. Most rivers in Missouri fall within this category or do not rank at all.
Class II Rapids is for novice beginners–a straightforward approach without the need to scout out the river path beforehand. Waves are mid-sized, and obstacles are occasional but easily avoidable with training or a river guide–very few rivers in Missouri rank as Class II.
Class III Rapids is for intermediate paddlers. Most Class III rapids occur in Class II rivers in Missouri and are quick maneuverable obstacles with low risk. River obstacles are more frequent and may be challenging to avoid, because of the fast-moving currents. Scouting the river ahead of time is advisable but optional. The class III rapids often come with a few strong eddies.
Class IV Rapids is for advanced paddlers. These rivers are not considered float trips. There is a great deal of hard paddling, and you must listen to the instruction of your river guide to navigate chutes, big waves, long rapids, and eddy turns. Self-rescue can be difficult, so the risk is low to moderate.
Class V Rapids are for expert paddlers. Rivers in this class often contain large drops and unavoidable waves, holes, and congested chutes that require complex maneuvers. Rapids often continue for long distances, so paddlers should have a high fitness level. Swimming is hazardous and often tricky. But luckily, there are NO rivers in Missouri that contain class V rapids.
Book A Float Down Elk River or the Big Sugar Creek
If you’re ready for a relaxing river float, book your first float down the Elk River and your second float for the next day on Big Sugar Creek at the premier rental location for rafts, kayaks, and canoes at Lazy Days Campground in Noel, MO.
Lazy Days Resort is easy to get to from Interstate 49. They are located a short one-minute drive southwest of I-49; take exit 5 at mile marker 6.
Read what our recent guests had to say about their stay at Lazy Days!