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Turkey Run State Park is one of my favorite Indiana State Parks and I can hardly tell you anything about it other than the fact that it has a wonderful creek for some great water recreation. Sugar Creek is perfect for my favorite summertime activity.
When I first moved to Indiana I started looking for a place that my friends and I could go on a river float. A float is simply where you float down a river. Typically you float the river using inner tubes. Lulu is still too young but I would recommend that older kids go. I’ve floated on Sugar Creek at Turkey Run with middle school and high school students and I’ve seen younger kids do it too.
We’ve “floated” five or six different times and each time we’ve packed a lunch in a cooler (additional tubes or cooler floats can generally be rented to “tow” coolers along with you) with a few beverages per person. Water is a must! Sandwiches and fruit are a good bet and chips are okay but more difficult to eat on the go. Stopping for lunch along the way is also a fun option.
Our group likes to stop to hunt around for fun stuff in the shallow areas – sunglasses, fossils, rocks. I’ve seen people fishing too! I recommend the tubes with a covered bottom to store trash, water bottles and avoid ripping your clothes if you drag in shallow water.
You’ll be the best judge for what is right for your family; sometimes the float can seem very long to a young child but if you select a shorter route (about 3 miles, that will help). Being exposed to the elements while you float might be too much for some kids (wear a LOT of sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. A shirt might be a good idea too). I would recommend that no matter how old your child is, that they know how to swim before you attempt this activity. I insist!
There are a couple of options for inner tubing Sugar Creek:
Sugar Valley Canoes (1467 E SR 47 Marshall, IN | 1.800.422.6638) offers a 3 ½ mile trip for $8 per person. This trip took 5 of us about an hour to an hour and a half (exactly what is expected). Trip times differ depending on the water level and if you stop to swim along the way. Departure times are from 9am – 3pm. Call ahead for reservations. This trip takes you through Turkey Run State Park.
Clements Canoes (1.866.372.7285) offers a 3-5 hour trip. Tube rental ranges from $15-20 and $15 for a cooler tube (this just floats your cooler, you still need to bring a cooler) + $5 refundable damage deposit. Call ahead for reservations and departure times. These tube trips take you through Shades Park.
Your family will load up in a bus and be driven to a point on the creek where you’ll get off of the bus, collect your tubes and coolers and be left to get into the water. Later you’ll end up back at the tube rental place or be picked up by another bus and transported back to the rental location. Be sure you always call ahead. Sometimes river conditions and lack of water cause changes and cancellations. With the lack of rain, you will most likely find yourself getting out of the tube a few times and dragging it across VERY shallow water to deeper water in order to continue your float.
Have fun and be safe!