Missouri's waterways offer cool escape from hot summer days

Canoeists float the waters at Missouri's Sam A. Baker State Park.

Canoeists float the waters at Missouri's Sam A. Baker State Park.

Photos courtesy Missouri Division of Tourism

During the summer and early fall, many Missourians take to the rivers and streams to float. As one of the state’s most popular pastimes, floating is an affordable and fun option for a group getaway for all ages.

“Floating is a time to sit back and relax and let the boat lazily take you down the river,” said Gene Maggard, president of the Missouri Canoe & Floaters Association. “It is a time to visit with friends and family and to enjoy Mother Nature.”

“Excitement and leisure” was the tagline that Maggard’s father, Buck, used to promote float trips at his canoe outfitter in 1954. The Akers Ferry Canoe Rental was one of the first of its kind in the country, and today it is operated by Gene and his son Marcus.

One of the reasons why people keep coming back to floating is variety of waterways available in Missouri. Some of the most popular destinations for paddlers include Meramec, Big Piney River, Current River and Jacks Fork. Each river has its own set of unique characteristics and attractions.

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