Soak up the sun

Those of you unfamiliar with a Float Trip are seriously missing out. Yesterday I went on my 3rd annual float trip with a group of over 25 friends. It’s something that the friend group has been doing every year for the past 5 years or so and I’ve been lucky enough to join every one since I’ve moved to Missouri.

Essentially you drive down to this place. They bus you up to the top of the river and you lazily float down the river until you get back to the parking lot.

Sounds simple enough right?

We had about 27 of us and about 7 large coolers filled with drinks (everything from water and Gatorade to tequila and Whiteclaw) and enough snacks to open up our own mini mart.

You soak up some sun and you splash around and catch up with friends. Some of these people in the friend group I only see once a year on the float trip so it’s always cool to see them again. We also have new faces every year that join us as well. This year there was like a third of the group that I didn’t know and it just makes more people for you to get to know.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Midwest, strangers are also incredibly nice. Not only did we talk to strangers on the bus on the way up there, but it’s also very common to start talking to strangers that go by on other rafts, boats, or canoes.

A google image from an Ozark float trip

It’s a very communal feeling to go on these float trips and it’s always one of my favorite parts of the trip. I’m aqua phobic and don’t know how to swim, and tend to panic in natural bodies of water, but I stay on the raft for most of the trip and only disembark when we shore up on these little islands to stretch our legs and walk around a bit. I also don’t usually like big groups, or big group events but the rafts that we had held 6-10 people which means that every time we shored we shuffled who was on each boat. It doesn’t really matter and people often swam from raft to raft as we tried to keep all four rafts withing eye shot.

We’d get snagged on the occasional log or branches and complete strangers would often hop on over to help us out so we wouldn’t have to get out of the raft if we didn’t want to. It’s very common to be bumped by other rafts or canoes and every time we did I would offer them a bag of chips or an Uncrustable.

It’s just a wonderfully relaxing summer day, we spend about 6 or 7 hours on the water on a 5 mile float (That’s counting all the stops we made to shore up) so overall it’s a great way to spend the day if you’ve got a beautiful summer day with nothing to do.

Plan ahead though! Make sure you bring LOTS of sunscreen, ziplock bags for things you want to keep dry, and towels and dry clothes. Plus enough food and drinks for several hours on the water. If you plan on showering at the facility where we went, you’ll need a lot of quarters or you’ll need to sit on a towel until you drive home and shower there.

Growing up in a city near the ocean, we did a lot of beach days but I had never even heard of a float trip until I moved to Missouri. Half of the people I mention it too around here either have never heard of it themselves or are convinced that it’s not really summer until you’ve had at least one float trip.

Definitely something to do if you like to relax and enjoy nature. It is river water so it’s not predictable and it’s kinda gross but it’s beautiful to see coves and nature. Little fish swimming around your raft and even around your toes if you step out of the raft. The facility also outfits every raft and boat with reusable trash bags and they go through all the trash to make sure that they can recycle as much as they can.

I can’t stress this enough though. BRING MUSIC! Every year we always forget and we hear other rafts blasting out good music and it always makes us wish we’d remembered to bring some music with us. I brought my water proof speaker this year but I forgot that I didn’t have ANY service in the middle of the wilderness so Spotify was useless. Speaker does not equal music! I’ve got to remember that for next year. I’d have loved to hear this song while on the river.

There’s a lot of different companies that offer float trips in Missouri and in most other states with a river, check to see which local company works best for you. Maybe you’ll have a wonderful laid back summer day with the family or friends yourself.

Have you ever been on a float trip before? What’s the best thing and the worse thing to happen to you on a float trip?

We haven’t had anything worse than some vomiting from too much drinking by a couple of people in the group. Last year was the funniest moment when my boyfriend pecked a girl on the lips because he misunderstood what was happening. This is still mentioned every year!

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