Exploring the Gentle Waters of the Meramec River in Missouri: A Must-Visit for River Float Enthusiasts


Nestled in the scenic landscapes of Missouri, the Meramec River offers a serene escape into nature, perfect for a day of river floating. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a family looking for a leisurely drift, floating the Meramec River provides a delightful experience filled with natural beauty, wildlife sightings, and plenty of relaxation. Here’s your guide to making the most out of your river floating adventure on the Meramec River.

Why Choose the Meramec River?

The Meramec River stretches over 200 miles, winding through the lush forests and dramatic limestone bluffs of Missouri. Its generally calm waters and wide channels make it an ideal spot for floating, accessible for all skill levels. The river’s gentle flow allows floaters to enjoy the journey without the stress of navigating difficult rapids, making it perfect for a peaceful day out in nature.

What You Need to Know Before You Go

Planning Your Trip:

  • When to Visit: The best time to float the Meramec is between late spring and early fall, when the weather is warm and the river levels are suitable for floating.
  • Choosing Your Float: Options range from short two-hour floats to full-day excursions. Local outfitters can provide canoes, kayaks, or rafts, and they often offer shuttle services back to your starting point.

Safety Tips:

  • Life Jackets: Always wear a life jacket, regardless of your swimming skills.
  • Sun Protection: The river offers little shade. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Water Levels: Check the local water levels and flow rates before your trip. Higher waters can make the river more challenging and potentially dangerous.

Where to Start Your Float

One popular starting point is Meramec State Park, located near Sullivan, Missouri. This park not only provides easy river access but also offers camping, hiking trails, and fishing spots, making it an excellent base for a weekend getaway.

What to See and Do

As you float down the river, keep an eye out for local wildlife. The Meramec River is home to a variety of birds, including herons and eagles, as well as other wildlife like deer and turtles. The surrounding forests and bluffs provide spectacular photo opportunities, so don’t forget your camera.

Fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of spots to cast a line. The river is teeming with bass, catfish, and sunfish. Make sure to bring your fishing gear and a valid Missouri fishing license.

Making the Most of Your Visit

To enhance your river floating experience, consider these tips:

  • Pack a Picnic: Bring along a waterproof cooler with snacks and a picnic lunch to enjoy on one of the many sandy banks along the river.
  • Stay Overnight: Extend your stay by camping at one of the river’s many accessible campgrounds. Enjoy a night under the stars after a fulfilling day on the water.
  • Explore the Local Area: After your float, visit local attractions such as Meramec Caverns or the nearby wineries for a taste of local flavor.


Floating the Meramec River is more than just a day activity; it’s an opportunity to connect with nature, unwind from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and make lasting memories with friends and family. Whether you’re looking for adventure or tranquility, the Meramec River in Missouri is a destination that promises a rewarding and refreshing experience.