When I was a kid, I had dreams of floating down the Mighty Mississippi Huck Finn style on a makeshift raft. As I grew up, I realized this probably wouldn’t be possible due to the fact that I don’t know how to build a seaworthy raft and I’d likely be attacked by Asian Carp. However, in the small town of Winamac, Indiana, about 75 minutes southwest of South Bend, I was able to fulfill my dream of spending a day floating down a river, but in an inner tube with an ice cold beer and a conveniently located cup holder.
The Tippecanoe River is a 182-mile river that flows gently through northern Indiana. In Winamac, Riverside Rentals rents canoes, rafts, and most importantly, inner tubes to leisurely float down the beautiful Tippecanoe. Tube rentals cost $17.50 per adult, $12.50 per child; The cooler float, which was able to hold my full-sized Coleman cooler, was $15. On a hot summer day, few things beat spending 3-4 hours relaxing in a river with friends with a cooler full of beer, soda, and snacks.
Meghan, Jane and I decided to take a trip to Winamac in mid-August for a float trip. The tube trips through Riverside Rentals are 5 miles. While the website says the trip typically takes four to five hours, we found that our trip lasted closer to three and a half – the length depends on the water level and flow of the river. When you arrive at Riverside Rentals, you’ll check in and get on a small bus, which will take you and your tubes to the drop-off point five miles away. You’ll end the float trip at Riverside Rentals’ property, which is pretty obvious based on the signs and screaming teenagers who are paid to flag you down.
The Tippecanoe River was clean, relatively shallow, and flowed slowly. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who would like to spend the day relaxing surrounded by beautiful scenery. The trip would also be great for families – life jackets are provided. I recommend booking in advance – Riverside Rentals regularly has large groups and dates/times fill up, especially in August. You can book online on Riverside Rentals’ website.
Riverside Rentals is located about 75 minutes southwest of South Bend, IN. Take US-31 South to Rochester. In Rochester, get on IN-14 West. On the way down, you’ll pass Hilltop Restaurant in Lakeville, which is a great stopping place for breakfast – although factor in plenty of time, as service can be a bit slow. The Hilltop Restaurant is one of my favorite breakfast places in the area; The food is definitely worth the wait.