Summer is the perfect time of year to do some floatin’ on the river! In addition to its kayak rentals on the river, The City of Wichita Park & Recreation office will be offering a series of guided kayak floats along the Arkansas River this summer.
What a treat it will be to enjoy the moonlight or the sunrise (depending on which tour you choose) on the water in Wichita and float past the Keeper of the Plains.
You won’t need any equipment to participate – the fee will cover your rental. You also won’t need prior experience, because each float begins with a short training. (You will want to make sure you’re up for the exercise, because even though the float is leisurely, it’s still a strenuous activity that lasts a little over an hour.)
This is a great family event for those with teens. The fee for the tours is $35 and includes instruction, equipment rental, food, beverages and music, and transportation back to the starting place. Space is limited, and pre-registration is required for the tours. Signed waivers are also required before you participate.
Kayak Floats on the Arkansas River
Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, there’s a float for you!
Sunset Kayak Tours
You’ll paddle at a leisurely pace from Cowtown to the Wichita Boathouse and see the Keeper of the Plains like you’ve never seen it before! Afterwards, gather for a relaxing BBQ dinner and music and talk about your adventure.
The sunset tours are scheduled for the following dates/times (and pre-registration is required):
- Wednesday, July 14, 2021 from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
- Friday, July 30, 2021 at from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, August 11, 2021 from 7:15-9:15 p.m.
- Friday, September 3, 2021 from 6:45-8:45 p.m.
- Wednesday, September 15 from 6:15-8:15 p.m.
Sunrise Kayak Tours
Sunrise kayak tour includes a brief time with instruction, a leisurely (but still strenuous) paddling tour to the Keeper of the Plains and back, and pre-registration is required. Breakfast on the Wichita Boathouse deck is included afterwards. The fee for the sunrise tours is also $35.
So far I only see one Sunrise Paddle Board and Kayak Tour scheduled:
- Saturday, August 21, 2021 from 6:15-8:15 a.m.
Glow Kayak Tours
Ages 16 and up can enjoy a moonlit (and glowstick lit) kayak tour on the Arkansas river. You and the kayaks will be glowing with lights and glow sticks as you make your way to the Keeper of the Plains to watch the Ring of fire lighting from the water. Enjoy desserts and light snacks afterwards. The fee for the glow tours is $35. The glow tours are scheduled for the following dates/times (and pre-registration is required):
- Friday, July 9 from 8:15 to 10:15 p.m.
- Saturday, August 14, 2021 from 8:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.
- Friday, August 27, 2021 from 8:15 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.
For anyone age 55+ who would like an easier introduction to kayak tours, there is a senior tour scheduled. If you don’t think you’re up to the return paddle (from the Keeper back to where you started), they have you covered. The kayaking event ends with a BBQ dinner on the patio of the Wichita Boathouse.
As with the other tours, pre-registration is required. The price is $35 per person.
- Friday, July 23, 2021 from 6-8 p.m.
If the sunrise and sunset tour dates don’t work for you, the City has also scheduled open float times in the coming months. You’ll receive some basic instruction on paddling techniques and safety, then take off for a leisurely float down the Little Arkansas River. These are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Park under Kellogg at 605 S. Wichita. Parking is free there.
The price for kayak rental will be $10 per hour. They’ll only accept cash, so be sure to bring some with you.
Kayak rentals are cash-only.
*The river has been closed in the past due to high flow rates, so this activity may be cancelled. Be sure you double-check before heading out!
Kayak rental will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays from June 26 to September 5 . No pre-registration is available; it’s strictly first-come, first-served. (And cash-only.)
This is a great idea for a fun date activity.
Of course, the unpredictable Kansas weather could get in the way of the best plans, so since this is an outdoor activity you’ll want to double-check that these kayak floats down the Arkansas River are still on if the weather looks iffy.
Make sure to check the City of Wichita Park and Recreation Facebook page for any updates!