Cool Off: Enjoying The Midwest’s Best Rivers

Words by Matthew Vanatta

Summer in the Midwest can be downright brutal. With high temps and humidity making the air feel damp and heavy it is essential for those that call the Heartland home to find fun ways to stay cool.

Luckily the Midwest is also home to some of the most refreshing an idyllic waterways in the country making it the perfect place to gather up some friends, some cold libations, and your preferred river floating apparatus for an epic river adventure.

A favorite summer activity amongst good times enthusiasts, floating, paddling, and rafting rivers is a pastime that has been enjoyed in the Midwest for generations. If you’re looking for an epic river adventure this summer pack up the cooler, slather your body in high SPF sunscreen, and hit one of these amazing rivers before the long days of summer come to an end.

Upper Iowa River, IA-

The Upper Iowa River is one of the many tributaries of the Mighty Missipi and stretches for over 156 miles. It will feed any Huck Fin inspired fantasies with its long winding waterways and sheer bluff walls. There are some hazards in the river and many people kayak and canoe, but if you head to Decorah, Iowa, you can find idyllic tubing access as well as rentals.

Wolf River WI-

Located 211 miles north of the Chicago sits the Wolf River Campgrounds were outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of camping, outdoor, and epic river adventures. There’s also a fishery and plenty of fun stops along the way, which makes it an awesome weekend getaway for those looking to escape the city for a weekend.

Apple River WI-

The Apple River is essentially a multi-mile rager on the water. There are plenty of camping options, tube rentals, and transportation which makes this a favorite river amongst those residing int he Twin Cities metropolitan area. If you’re looking for an epic party experience than the Apple is a great choice.

Vermillion River, IL-

Just 98 miles from the urban mecca that is Chicago sits the short but mighty Vermillion River. The Vermillion’s Middle Fork does offer some opportunity for tubing and lounging, but if you prefer a more adventures river experience it offers some pretty epic white water rafting through guided services. It’s also Illinois only wild and scenic river signifying the areas natural beauty.

Namekagon River, WI-

A tributary to the beautiful and expansive St. Croix River that creates the aquatic boundary between central Minnesota and Wisconsin is an idyllic and peaceful waterway filled with an abundance of adventure opportunities. You can grab some tubes and float some of the mellow sections or if you have a canoe and hankering for an adventure you can take a multi-day trip down the river camping and paddling down one of the most beautiful rivers in the country.

Current River- Eminence, MO-

The Current River is the perfect destination trip for river enthusiasts. While it is an 8 drive from Chicago, it is a road trip worthy destination river that takes travelers through Mark Twain National Forest and on into Eminence. The river offers a plethora of river opportunities including canoe and tubbing. Book a campsite, back up the car, and spend a few days exploring the Ozarks.

Share This Story:

Shop Related Products