The biggest perk of the James is how close it is to Springfield. Hootentown Canoe Rental & Store is only 40 minutes from Springfield, which means you can be on the river and floating about an hour after leaving the house, which is one of the best parts about living in the Ozarks. Hootentown Canoe Rental & Store offers several float trip options ranging from 4 to 13 miles. Kayaks, canoes and rafts are available for rental, or bring your own and use their shuttle service. We like to float from Shelvin Rock to Hootentown, clocking in at 7 miles. It takes about three and a half hours in a canoe, which makes it the perfect length to knock out of work early and get out on the water on a weekday.
Weekdays tend to be the best times to be on the James, as the weekends can get quite busy and, at times, a bit rowdy. The James is not spring-fed, so conditions vary depending on recent rainfall; however, under the right conditions the James can be floated all summer long.