Our family rented several canoes in early August of 2013 to paddle down the Kickapoo River.
This is our second time going. The first time we went in August 2009, and used Titanic Canoe Rental, and had a terrible experience. The gentlemen who runs the business was very rude at the end of the trip due to a group of intoxicated individuals that weren't related to our party. Instead of dealing with them personally, he decided to blame everyone located at the pick-up area, even though our party had no alcohol of any kind nor were we late.
Now this year in 2013, we decided to try Drifty's Canoe Rental (http://www.driftyscanoerental.net/). I would highly recommend renting from them. They were very courteous, knowledgable, and were able to answer any questions we had. They do only take cash or check, just for planning purposes. Our family alone rented a total of 14 canoes over the course of the whole weekend, and not one person had a problem with Drifty's. We would definitely use them again.
As far as the river goes, as others have said it has its good and bad. The river does not smell, and there is no wildlife in the river that I would worry about being near. Only fish and a few beaver are noticeably present. Of course, the height of the river depends on the rain that year. This year when we went it was high enough for most of the canoe trip with a few shallow places you had to push to get through. Depending on the weight dispersed throughout your canoe, you may not stop at all. I'm not light as a feather so the back end got stuck a few times.
The river has several twists and turns, but there is no way you could get lost or end up going the wrong way, the light current prevents that. There are several places to stop along the way to relax, take pictures, or just enjoy the view. Along these beach areas, some are deep enough that you can go swimming, possibly even a few rocks to jump off of if you're adventurous. Be careful though, watch your step in a few places. The sand sinks faster than you realize. While canoeing this year we saw several beavers and a few deer that would run along the edge.
One of the options that you have is to either canoe down the river, kayak, or float in a tube. My family personally has never tubed down it, we usually canoe, but along our journey there were several groups tied together who just floated along. You also have the option to choose how far you want to go. There are several bridges that you can go to, each with a longer time limit. We went to bridge five (5). It took us about three (3) hours. I believe the time limit is six (6) hours max for the farthest bridge. We also saw several people with their own kayaks going down the river, if you happen to own your own.
Depending on when you go, we went on a Friday at 1:30 P.M., it can be busy. I would estimate over the course of our trip we saw at least fifty (50) other canoes. It was slightly congested in certain areas, but we made it through.
Although I selected "No fee for this attraction", that is half true. As I said if you own your own canoe, kayak, or tube, there would be no fee for you because you do not need to rent any of these from one of the local business.
If you or your family has the opportunity to canoe, kayak, or tube down the river I would highly recommend it. It's a great experience for all.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.