It’s the end of a long week and all you can think about is dipping a paddle into a river. You can already picture yourself on the water- sun beaming down, the bank moving slowly by as you paddle, the crisp smell of fresh air. Whether you’re loading a kayak or a canoe onto your RV, you’re going to need some great Midwest locations to get your paddling fix.
So grab your paddle and tie down the canoe. We’re giving you some great river destinations for a relaxing Midwest weekend in your RV.
UPPER IOWA RIVER, NORTHEAST IOWA
Towering cliffs and the burbling of rushing, clear water. Not the first thoughts that come to your mind when you think of a river in Iowa? Think again. Carving through limestone cliffs near the Minnesota border, you’ll find the winding Upper Iowa River. This river is 110 miles long, but we recommend getting your kayak or canoe in the water near Decorah, Iowa. This river can have fast currents, but you do not have to be a highly experienced paddler to ride the route as long as you are being attentive and cautious.
When you’re tired of paddling, ramble over to one of Decorah’s many hiking trails. If you have the chance, stop by Ice Cave Hill Park to see one of the largest glaciers in the Midwest. The ice cave is somewhat of a phenomenon because even during the hottest summer days, the cave remains a cool 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where to stay: Pulpit Rock Campground
This site offers full hookups and Wi-Fi. There is also a playground, basketball court, a volleyball net and a canoe landing.
WISCONSIN RIVER, WISCONSIN
This gentle flowing river is a great place to take a relaxed journey with friends and family. You will find sandbars all along the 92 mile route with water’s-edge camping spots everywhere you look. As you paddle away the miles surrounded by towering bluffs, take a minute to look up. You might start feeling patriotic. American Bald Eagles commonly fly overhead.
Where to stay: Wisconsin Riverside Resort
Located just an hour south of the Wisconsin Dells, this resort is on the Lower Wisconsin River. It has full-hook ups for your RV and some sites are right on the river. The campground offers canoe, kayak and tubing trips as well as a swimming pool and splash pad. Don’t forget to bring your fishing poles!
NIOBRARA RIVER, NEBRASKA
In the northeast corner of Nebraska, you’ll find the winding Niobrara River. As you make your way down the river, you will see over 180 waterfalls along the way. If you have time, make sure you see Smith Falls, the tallest waterfall in Nebraska. If your arms are tired from all that paddling, another popular summer activity is to grab an inner tube and take a nice float down the river.
Where to stay: Niobrara State park
Niobrara State Park is located on bluffs where the Missouri and Niobara rivers meet. This site offers a swimming pool, horseback trail rides led by wranglers and 14 miles of hiking trails.