Tahlequah river floats hero image

Tahlequah River Float Trips

Relax and discover the beautiful scenery of Tahlequah, Oklahoma with an unforgettable experience floating down the scenic Illinois River.

Grab your life jacket and we’ll guide you to the most sought-after water activities you can try on the river, the must-visit destinations, camping areas and other important reminders to keep your leisure trip fun, safe and hassle-free.

Welcome To The Beautiful Illinois River

Be amazed by the scenic Illinois River with your family, or hop on a thrilling water adventure with a large group of friends. The crystal clear, pristine waters can bring you the most enjoyable float trip in Northeast Oklahoma.

Stretching 98 miles from the northwest Arkansas Ozarks to the Arkansas River in Gore, Oklahoma, the Illinois river is a perfect place to celebrate special holidays like Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Kayak in river
Kayak in river


Explore hidden fishing spots and cool swimming holes as you paddle your way to the clearest part of the Illinois river by floating with a kayak.

Kayaks are available in either single or tandem varieties. The kayaks sit on top with molded backrests.

Don’t miss the chance to take some pictures of bald eagles that may appear on the inhabited riverway. Look from left to right as there are snapping turtles, vultures, cardinals, deer, alligator gar, and pickerel that you might encounter on your floats.

Whether you’re inexperienced or not, it’s safe to float the Illinois river as it is rated as Class II which means the current is moderate and you can chill and enjoy a relaxing ride.


If you’re down for some thrill, rafting Northeastern Oklahoma rivers is a must-do. Many Illinois river outfitters offer a raft that can carry six persons maximum. A limited amount of 2-4 person and a few 7-10 person rafts are available.

Equipment Rental Rates

You can rent kayaks, canoes, and rafts. Check out the rates, the duration, and the distance you can paddle on the river.

Raft, kayak, canoe rates per person


Rafting In Tahlequah

Join us on the river for a fun and adventurous Illinois river rafting trip from Tahlequah! Book online today!


Kayaking In Tahlequah

Spend a half-day kayaking and explore the Illinois River, a beautiful piece of water in an area rich with natural beauty and interesting wildlife.


Tubing In Tahlequah

Experience the scenic Illinois River on a fun float trip! Our river tubes are clean and comfortable for a great float in Tahlequah, OK. Book online now!


Cooler Tube

Rent a cooler tube for your Illinois River float trip so you can bring your favorite cold beverages along! Stay refreshed during your float trip.

Get the lowest price when you book your next Illinois River float trip with us!



Rowing your canoe can also be a fun activity here in Tahlequah. You can float the Illinois River in a 2-man or 3-man canoe.

For as low as $5 per person, you can paddle a 12-mile float trip with your family and spend 2-5 hours on the water.

Before taking a longer trip, we advise you to check river conditions to ensure your utmost safety.


Most outfitters have campgrounds for you to set up camp along the Illinois river. It’s a fun moment to unwind, reconnect with nature, and forget the heavyweights brought work.

Fill your Saturday night with good memories on the campgrounds located on the banks of the river. Spending quality time in picnic areas is also a relaxing way for your Sunday getaway. Just make sure to do it within a few hundred feet of your tent.

Log cabin - Tahlequah float trips
Log cabin - Tahlequah float trips


Book a reservation with the resort that can accommodate your stay in Tahlequah. There are affordable cabins nearby with complete amenities to hang out and relax.

We highly recommend Tahlequah floats if you want to experience a hassle-free lodging experience.

Public Access

The Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) advises visitors who bring their kayak, canoe, raft, inner tube, or other flotation devices to secure a private float permit before floating to public access areas.

Day use permits (wristband dated for the day of your trip) is $1 per device per day and can be bought in advance.

You can purchase at the following outlets:

  • GRDA Scenic Rivers Operations Office
  • Peyton’s Place Resort
  • Hanging Rock Camp
  • GRDA Scenic Rivers Operations Police or
  • Camp Host.

Annual permits cost $10 per device and are valid from January to December. They are decals that should be applied to the front right side of your vessel. Annual permits are available from the GRDA Scenic Rivers Operations Office.

Tahlequah float trips kayak rental
Tahlequah float trips kayak rental

Embark On a 12-Mile Illinois River Float Trip

Planning on a 12-mile float trip is possible here in Illinois river. In general, the excursion can be done in a day, but some folks take two to three days. Children under the age of 12 pay half the ticket price. The total time takes approximately 3-5 hours, so you may need to plan ahead for this float.

Bring Your Own Float To The Illinois River

For $25, the boat will carry floating passengers and supply floats. If someone wants to float, he or she must send a buddy to help them travel to their destination and downstream back to their car.

You must reserve separate trips for the day you want to take Illinois river float trips. Float trips are only valid on a reserved day. Please make reservations for the day of the float and ignore the checkout date.

kayak safety
kayak safety

Important Reminders

The GRDA reminds floaters of the following rules they should follow when they visit the river:

  • Respect private property rights and observe the no trespassing signs all the time
  • Do not litter, and keep trash bags wherever you go.
  • Children aged 12 years old and below must wear life jackets when they float the river.
  • All visitors must secure an accessible life preserver, which should not be tied to the vessel.
  • Coordinate with your chosen outfitters when planning an overnight float trip
  • Observe proper decorum as obscene behavior can lead to a night in the county jail

Prohibited Activities

  • Hard liquors on the river are not allowed ( Wine and light beer are allowed as long as it’s brought in the original non-glass package)
  • Bringing glass, jello shot containers, or styrofoam is not allowed on the river.
  • Never tie your rafts, canoes, and kayaks together on your boats.
  • No person shall carry ice chests that are not secured to prevent spilling their contents or larger than a 48-quart capacity on a scenic river.
  • No firearms or weapons
  • Playing on rope swings is prohibited.
  • No Jumping from bridges

GRDA officers and the outfitters’ personnel will conduct an ocular inspection of the river and its surrounding areas. Please cooperate with the authorities if they inspect your belonging, such as ice chests, purses, bags, and other items, for them to keep the river free from banned or illegal things.


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