where should I go for rafting? nothing crazy, something I could bring my 4 year old on
Start with the best. Upper Buffalo. It gets really low when there's not much rain, after a big rain like we had yesterday it's perfect, but a canoe is what you'll want to take.
The Illinois River north of Tahlequah, OK is a river I've been on a jillion times and it's pretty tame. It can be really fast after flooding rains but we've not had any problems with that in awhile.
Elk River in Noel, MO might get mentioned but I'd pass if you have a 4 yr old. It's a big time party river, and the hispanics are turning it into a bit of a dangerous place. They came for the titties and left stabbing each other.
There's also a really bad bend on the Elk that is disastrous for beginners with kids. I saved 2 kids from drowning there once, their canoe tumped and it's deep, swift and slick and the dad was holding one and the canoe, the mom couldn't stand up and slipped and lost the 2 she was holding. luckily I was able to grab them.
Don't even think about the Mulberry with little kids.
The Spring River out by Hardy/East of Mtn. Home is nice and tame.
The Buffalo would be the spot for me. There's a pretty nice campground with a swimming hole and a 500 ft bluff just off Hwy 7 north of Jasper that is pretty popular and still close to towns. The float is around 7-8 miles so it takes a good part of the day. Boxley and Ponca aren't too far to go check out the Elk, and Hawksbill Crag is close too, so you can hike to check it out.
Current River conditions LINK
If you're thinking about doing the Upper Buffalo, watch the weather and try to come after it rains really good. The limestone fissures drains the river pretty quickly. It's why we have so many caves here too.
and if you're up to it you can go to Zinc north of Harrison and attend a Klan meeting at the Nat'l HQ. I encourage people to go and see how pathetic they really are. Those guys are no threat to anybody.
ETA: bring a GPS there are literally hundreds and hundreds of geocache's out there too.
This post was edited on 1/30 at 9:45 am