At the turn of the 19th century, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out up the Missouri River to explore the vast, uncharted reaches of the Louisiana Purchase. They had it a lot harder than the guests of Missouri River Excursions. Today, tracing Lewis and Clark's route (marked with many historical plaques) is about as easy as outdoor exploration gets: just sit down and float. Staff load guests and canoes, kayaks, or rafts onto a shuttle to New Haven or Washington, where they disembark to drift gently with the current down to Klondike Park. Sandbars offer natural stopping points for fishing or picnicking.
Missouri River Excursions' guides can also set up more advanced journeys. They'll arrange itineraries lasting up to three days?marked by stays at quaint riverfront hotels or campgrounds?or lead fishing excursions to catch the modern-day descendants of the fish a bored Lewis once trained to do synchronized-swimming routines.
Just a short drive from the metropolitan tangle of St. Louis, Twin Rivers Canoe Rentals releases urbanites into the gentle, spring-fed waters of the Meramec River. Adventurers may choose which vessel will best cut through the water’s rippled pane that flickers with shadows from the canopies of trees lining the shore. In a kayak, a single boatman may ply past largemouth bass and flathead catfish or spy a whitetail deer sneaking a drink on the banks while its doe is at church bunco. Canoes can comfortably seat two people and a cooler, whereas rafts transform five to seven passengers into an inflatable party. The leisurely pace and tranquil environs encourage groups to stop and swim or to tether to shore for a picnic.:m]]
With a strong belief in life’s simpler pleasures, the staff of Riverview Ranch oversees a host of watersports, campsites, and cabins along the picturesque shores of the lazy Meramec River. Shuttled upstream, visitors push off in canoes, rafts, or kayaks to enjoy the easy-moving currents of the stream before arriving back at vehicles or campsites to do celebratory touchdown dances and life-vest spikes.
Though its calm flow and smaller volume make it an ideal venue for kayaking, it's not unusual for paddlers traversing the Little Piney River to go an entire trip without seeing another human being. Unlike destination rivers choked by tourists carted in by the busload, the Little Piney offers serenity in its seclusion, whether for lazy floats along its banks or fishing. Blue Heron Boatworks caters to all aspects of a successful kayaking trip, from shuttling guests to their starting points to politely encouraging the river to reverse its flow for visitors who drop their paddles on the shore.