For fans of outdoor activities, day hikes are not enough to sink in the beauty of the wild. River camping is the way to go to get some extra time with nature as well as family and friends. But the question is—which river to camp at? Here’s our list of top 5 places to go for an awesome river camping trip!
When it comes to a unique and thrilling boat ride on a river, Current River in Missouri takes the crown! Paddle through the dark, mysterious water caves while enjoying the Ozark Mountains landscape, which is absolutely gorgeous during autumn when the trees change their hues. The Current River is considered as one of the best rivers for canoeing in the country because of its clear and cool waters that stream perfectly for that ideal canoeing experience. No strong or major rapids, but be careful in the upper and lower sections because of the fast current and the rocks around the area.
Go spelunking and visit the caves like the Cave Spring, where the cave is big enough for your canoe to go through it. See the amazing limestone formations and bat colonies. Remember to bring a flashlight and a hard hat when entering!
It’s not hard to find a campsite around the Current River banks, and you can choose to camp primitive style or at a more modern campground.
St. Croix and Namekagon Rivers
The 164-mile St. Croix River runs along Wisconsin and Michigan, while the smaller Namekagon River is 95 miles long and is an affluent of the St. Croix River. Both rivers are part of the St. Croix National Scenic Waterway. Enjoy class I or higher rapids and fast currents as you take in the dense forests of conifer and hardwoods. You can also get lucky and spot bald eagles, Canada geese, warblers, deer, beavers, and more wildlife. Despite the rustic and woodsy feel of the surrounding area, it is actually just near civilization too, which is the US Highway 63.
You won’t miss the designated campsites around the river, with some having privies, potable water, and picnic tables. Bring your insect repellent to keep bugs and ticks away, and check water levels before you go as the water levels can get very low in the summer.
The 301-mile Delaware River is the longest free-flowing (or undammed) river in the US. It runs along the boundaries of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, and is just 100 miles away from New York City. Canoeing can get very suspenseful because of the Upper Delaware River’s class II rapids, which makes tubers and rafters a common sight in the river. Get breathless by the dramatic scenery of forest-covered mountains, rocky bluffs, and sycamore trees lining up the riverbank.
Camping can be tricky because most lands along the river are privately owned. But it’s still easy to find a comfortable and modern camping site to serve the needs of families with children. Obtain permits and a fishing license (if you want to go fishing) to plan a smooth trip.
This bending river runs through Mississippi and Louisiana and offers a great view of southern forests and swamp lands. The lower Pearl River is the recommended place to camp, while the upper section has lots of recreational activities. Expect deep water all year round because of extensive rainfall, which means that it also has a tendency to flood, so avoid the rainy season. Despite the water and air pollution in the area, canoeing is pretty much smooth and relaxing as you let the slow current take you with it.
The campgrounds are pretty primitive so it’s only for those who can afford to rough it up for a few days. Come prepared!
The Sabine River runs through Texas and Louisiana, and if you’re looking for unspoiled beach and forest sceneries, then this is one of the best in the country. It’s like getting taken to the world of Huckleberry Finn or Pocahontas with the gorgeous pine trees, hardwood, and cypress trees heavily laden with Spanish moss. Whether you’re into fishing or bird-watching, the Sabine River won’t disappoint you—unless when the water is low, and all the fishes converge in the Black Shoal, a coal seam that crosses the river and barricades the fishes there.
You can camp on the white sand bars along the river bends and on many other great camping spots it has.