Pros and Cons of Floating the Illinois River on Your Own

A floating and camping trip on the beautiful Illinois River is an ideal way to enjoy some time away from the office or your farm in Oklahoma. With 68 miles of river to enjoy a relaxing float trip and the mesmerizing rocky bluffs, this scenic natural beauty is a favorite spot for both families and solo travelers.

But how worthy is it to visit this magnificent landscape near Tahlequah, located in Northeastern Oklahoma?

Recreational activities such as floating are now made easier with the help of outfitters and campsites in the area that offer campgrounds and cabins, especially for group lodge requirements. This Class II river means it’s ideal for any age or skill level to swim, float or fish, so families including children are most welcome to this beautiful scenery.

If you’re planning to float on your own, there are some pros and cons to consider before you book a leisure trip.


Solo River Float Trip


What Are the Pros and Cons of a Solo River Float Trip?

Running 145 miles long, there are some sections of the Illinois River that are not safe for floating. Most Illinois River outfitters, such as War Eagle, that offer float trips understand the importance of safety and so they strictly implement these Illinois River safety measures and consider current water levels.

On the other hand, if you want to enjoy a fun solo float adventure in the summer or on Memorial Day, make sure to consider these pros and cons of floating on your own:


  • Not booking with an outfitter means you get to pick your own route on your raft or kayak. This is a great way to avoid crowds or large group excursions since family trips camp in the resort for one night during the busy season such as the holidays.
  • Floating on your own can be more affordable depending on the frequency of your float trips. Most outfitters charge around $25 to $150 per person based on how many hours or days you’re going to spend on the trip. The rate also depends on what you’ll use, such as a kayak, raft, tube, or canoe.


  • You need to check the weather and river conditions to ensure there’s moderate current to see if it’s safe to go on a floating trip. Having two trips or floats should be well planned beforehand.
  • You should have your own life jacket, transportation, and other gear such as rope swings, ice chests, rafts, and kayaks.
  • With an outfitter, a shuttle service will pick you up and drop you off at your car because it’s not a walking distance.


Can You Float the Illinois River on Your Own Tube


Can You Float the Illinois River on Your Own Tube?

You can explore the Illinois River in your own tube, but you need to assess if risking yourself without guides or an expert to look out for your safety is really worth it.

Your safety is a priority when it comes to any water activity. So, do you think it’s a good idea to have an overnight float trip in Oklahoma on Labor Day?

While this isn’t recommended for first-timers, there are riders who have been camping, rafting, kayaking, and lodging in the river safely because of their experience.

Make sure to ask your friends who know the ins and outs of the river before you decide to go on your own. Better yet, get a guide to walk you through the adventure trip so you understand what to expect when having solo Illinois River float trips.