White River Canoe Company | Epic Kayak, Canoe, & River Tubing Trips for Adventure Seekers

White River Canoe Company | Epic Kayak, Canoe, & River Tubing Trips for Adventure Seekers

Row, row, row your boat gently down the White River! Plan for an epic family adventure when you rent with the White River Canoe Company. Or, set out for a super adventurous day date with someone special. If you love being active in nature, kayaking, canoeing, and tubing down the White River are the perfect activities to experience this summer.

A White River Canoe Company Excursion

A one-way kayaking, canoeing, or tubing trip on the White River takes some planning (Where will you park? How will you get back to your car? Where can you launch from?). Lucky for you, the White River Canoe Company has taken care of everything so all you have to do is book an excursion through them and let them handle the logistics.

All White River Canoe Company Excursions take place on the West Fork of the White River, northeast of Indianapolis. Life jackets, oars, kayaks, canoes, and tubes are all provided. Park in their convenient lot and hop on the bus that takes you to the start of the trip. You’ll launch up the White River and make your way down the river at your own pace, ending up back at where your car is parked.

a man paddles a canoe wearing a red life jacket and a backwards blue baseball hat. his two daughters ride behind him in the canoe and are blowing bubbles. there are other canoers in front of him. the water is brown and there are trees on the banks on either side of the river.

White River Canoe Company Trips

Choose from full and half-day kayak and canoe trips, river tubing trips where you’ll float leisurely down the White River, a short 1-hour beginner’s trip, and camping trips that end up at the White River Campground. For all but one White River Canoe Company trip, participants must check in and park at the River Road livery and will be transported to launch spots.

Full-Day Canoe & Kayak Trip

The Lafayette Trace Trip is a 5.5-8 hour canoe or kayak trip encompassing much of the White River on a 15-mile journey. Canoe or kayak from Lafayette Trace Park down to the River Road livery. This trip requires you to be physically capable of carrying your canoe or kayak and gear around a low-head dam.

Half-Day Canoe & Kayak Trips

White River Canoe Company’s most popular trip, the Rusy Oar Trip, is a 2-3 hour canoe or kayak trip departing from the Rusty Oar back down to the River Road livery. This 6-mile ride is great for new or experienced paddlers.

The Forest Park – Short Trip is perfect for beginners and young paddlers. The current is normally slow on this 1-mile ride departing from the Forest Park ramp in downtown Noblesville. Trip length can be as short as under an hour, but you have the option of paddling back upstream for an extra lap or two if you want to stay longer.

If you’re staying at the White River Campground, the White River Campground Trip takes off from your campground! This 10-mile canoe or kayak trip takes about 3.5-4.5 hours to paddle back to the River Road livery. This trip requires you to be physically capable of carrying your canoe or kayak and gear around a low-head dam.

The Campers Trip is for those staying at the White River Campground. You’ll be picked up at the shelter at the White River Campground, shuttled upriver to Lafayette Trace Park, and spend the next 2-3 hours paddling 6 miles back down to the campground. There’s no need to leave the campground with this trip!

a man sits in a yellow kayak with a small white dog and a little boy with a stay cool hat and a red life jacket on in front of him. they are on a river and you can see a person on the river bank behind them.

River Tubing Trips

The Potter’s Bridge River Tubing Trip drops in at historic Potter’s Bridge north of downtown Noblesville. The 4-5 hour float back to the River Road livery is a leisurely ride where you can lay your head back, close your eyes, and just relax. Trip length times can vary greatly depending on water levels. If you don’t have much time, try the shorter Forest Park trip.

The Forest Park – Short Trip is perfect for beginners and young tubers. The current is normally slow on this 1-mile ride departing from the Forest Park ramp in downtown Noblesville. Trip length can be as short as under an hour, but you have the option of walking back upstream for an extra lap if you want to stay longer, and if the currents allow for it. You can also tie off along the bank and explore if the float is going too fast.

6 blue tubes are tied together and a family sits on each tube as they float on the white river with the White River canoe company

Kayak, Canoe, and River Tubing Trip Prices

Reservations for White River Canoe Company trips are highly recommended, and in the peak season on peak days, most spots will sell out. Head to www.whiterivercanoe.com to find all the specifics and click the “book now” button to see a variety of trip options. Online booking is cut off 2-4 hours prior to approximate departure time for many trips, however, some trips require booking 24 hours in advance.

Half-day kayak and canoe trips range in pricing from $25 for the Forest Park – Short Trip and $35 for the White River Campground Trip and Campers Trip. The full-day Lafayette Trail Trip starts at $50. Tubing Trips are $25 for the short trip and $35 for the longer Potter’s Bridge River Tubing Trip.

Canoe prices are based on 2-person occupancy. Add $15 for an additional person over 10 years of age or weighing over 100 lbs riding as a third occupant. There is no additional charge for children 10 and under riding as the third or fourth occupant on the floor of the canoe.

at a launch spot for the white River canoe company, there are several aluminum canoes waiting to be launched with kids and adults waiting their turn.

What to Expect: Arrival and Check-in

When you first arrive at the check-in booth at 17180 River Road, White River Canoe Company employees will verify your reservation and confirm you have signed their wavers. It is highly suggested to sign the waivers online ahead of time to save you time checking in and to avoid the paper waiver fee.

Once you have completed the check-in process, which should take less than five minutes, you will be directed to drive down the hill towards the river to park. You will show your order form to the super helpful staff at the red barn and they will direct you to the life jackets and let you know when you should expect your shuttle bus (a school bus). Make sure you listen for the name of your route as not all buses are going to the same place. For the popular 2-3 hour canoe trip, you are going to want the Rusty Oar bus.

canoers and kayakers are on the river with the White River canoe company. lots of large trees are on the side of the river.

While you are waiting, find a life jacket that fits best. Most of the jackets hanging are adult sizes but the smaller sizes are 50 lbs and up. They do have a few life jackets for the 30-50 lb range, but they are in the red barn and you will have to ask for one. If your child is less than 30 lbs you need to bring your own and it must have the strap that goes between the legs and clips into place. All guests under the age of thirteen must wear a life jacket at all times while on the water.

The livery has a bonfire and plenty of picnic tables in the shade to relax at while you await your shuttle bus. They also have port-a-potties to use as needed.

Once you are on the shuttle bus you will ride north to your launch site (about 20 minutes to the Rusty Oar launch site). Here you will again find very helpful team members to assist you with getting the right canoe, your paddles, and they even help you get in the canoe and will push you off into the river, if needed.

a man and his two small children pull off and bank during a white river canoe company canoeing trip. the kids explore in the shallow water next to their red canoe.

What to Expect: Riding on the White River

Once you launch, you will float south, one-way, at your own pace. About halfway into your Rusy Oar trip, you will come upon Potter’s Bridge Park. This is a great place to dock the canoe and stretch your legs. Pull the canoe up onto the shore far enough that it will not float away. You can leave your paddles there but you will want to take your personal belongings with you. Potter’s Bridge Park has a great shady playground, bathrooms, a water fountain, and lots of trails and shade. Stretch those legs and let the littles run around a bit.

Once you push off into the river again you will notice a few places that you can pull off to the edge and let the kids investigate. You may find shells, minnows, and frogs or just a small patch of land to explore. Along your trip, you will see beautiful landscapes, old bridges, and plenty of other folks on the water.

People on the water are usually very helpful. It is a good idea to follow them as many are seasoned river navigators. They may move around a shallow area or know where the hazards are. And if you get stuck or cannot figure out how to maneuver your canoe away from fallen tree limbs, these fellow drifters will be very helpful.

When you arrive back at the livery you will pull your canoe up to the shore, toss your paddles in the pile at the top of the stairs, and return your life jacket to its hanging position under the trees (or to the red barn for the little ones). And that’s it! You are free to hang out and dry off a bit, snack some more, or head on to your next adventure.

a man pulls in his group of 5 blue river tubes with kids in each tube. they are at the end of their white river canoe company excursion and are heading in to the red river livery.

White Water Canoe Company Trips With Kids

Children or first-time canoers (or those who haven’t rowed in a while) may want to watch some videos or do some research on how to steer and paddle with your boat mate BEFORE your trip. Communication is very important and being able to effectively work together will make for a very pleasant trip.

The best way to go into this is with a positive mindset and with the knowledge that this is an adventure. This is something the kids have not done before and seeing the world from the water can be intimidating yet exciting. Even if they are nervous remind them that this canoe trip will not last forever and they should try to soak all the goodness of nature in. They are certain to have a great time on a White River Canoe Company trip.

an aerial shot of several tubers on blue tubes leisurely floating on the white river

What to Pack for Your Trip

When canoeing with kids you are going to want to pack ALL. THE. SNACKS. Also, pack anything that may keep them occupied for at least a couple of hours while sitting very still and not leaning over the side of the canoe. Bubbles are a fantastic idea and delight others on the water as well. Tie a toy boat to a cord and let the kids drag it along aside the canoe. Grab some binoculars so you can see the wildlife along the shore better. Barbie dolls, action figures, and any other plastic toy will be fun to pull out when the snacks are gone.

Do not forget to pack water bottles. Hydration will be very important in hot and humid weather. Bring a small cooler that can hold fresh fruit and string cheese or anything else your family likes to munch on that will need to stay cool. It will also benefit you to keep a cooler with cold water in the car ready for you when you get back to the livery.

Besides food, water, and entertainment, you will also want to pack sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Wear shoes that you don’t mind getting wet and will provide traction on slick rocks and rugged trails. A wet bag or plastic zip-lock will be helpful when trying to keep your phone and car keys dry. Leave a towel in the car to help dry yourself off or maybe even a change of clothes for the kids.

signage for the white river canoe company consists of four canoes turned upside down one on top of another. all different colors with different phrases on each. the green says greatest fresh water's critics. purple says let's not plunder our water. the blue one says swimming with life. the orange on top is plain orange.

More Fun on the Water

Looking for more places to go tubing? Try river tubing on Sugar Creek at Turkey Run for a breathtaking experience. Here are more amazing places to go river tubing in Indiana. Do you love being on the water? Bring the whole gang and rent a pontoon for a full day of fun on Morse Reservoir, Geist Reservoir, or Eagle Creek.

Do you have teeny little ones and just want to try a half hour or so on the water? Try the swan boats on the canal downtown! You can rent them by the hour and pedal for as much or as little time as you want to. Stop by the Colts Canal Playspace before, after, or even during your boat ride!

If you’re up for a bit of a drive, beautiful Lake Monroe in Bloomington, Indiana offers camping, fishing, trails, horseback riding, boat rentals, and launch areas. Heading north? Visit Lake Shafer and the connecting Lake Freeman in the Monticello area. Go fishing, take a Saturday evening cruise on the historic Madam Carrol which claims to be the biggest boat in Indiana, or take a canoe trip down the Tippecanoe River.

Have you been on an excursion with the White River Canoe Company? Share your kayak, canoe, or river tubing trip comments and photos with us below, or tag us on social media using #PLAYindy. Follow Indy with Kids on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Pinterest for all of the best ideas and things to do with kids in Indy!

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