food & drink

Belly Up

By Jared Curtis


Rock-N-Row Adventures

Tubin’ down the river

Chances are if you grew up Iowa, you’ve participated in some kind of float (canoes, boats, etc.) down a creek or river. Fun times are had — friends, booze and the great outdoors — all while drifting down a stream much like a Lazy River you’d find at water parks. Apple River in Wisconsin has been widely regarded for more than 40 year as the place to tube down the river and party. But what some people might not know is that Iowa has a river tubing hot spot — Rock-N-Row Adventures in Eldora.

“We’ve been tubing here since 1994,” said owner Tracy Morlan. “We had an idea of what we wanted to do and kept pursuing it. It took time and some sacrifices, but it finally fell into place, and we have been having a blast ever since.

Rock-N-Row Adventures isn’t Morlan’s first foray into floating.

“I’ve been floating rivers and creeks since I was a little kid on anything I could find,” he laughs. “But through the years, we grabbed the tubes and discovered how much more fun you can have. It takes less effort to maneuver, and your butts always in the water staying cool.”

Rock-N-Row offers a unique tubing experience from Memorial Day to Labor Day. For $25, patrons receive a tube, life jacket, shuttle bus ride up the river and two tubes — one for a cooler and one for empty cans and trash (no glass). If you want to expand the experience, campgrounds are available for $10 per person. The campground offers fire pits, flush toilets and showers, a bandstand for live entertainment and a sand volleyball court. There are a few electrical hook-ups available for campers ($15 more per day).

“We have a clean stretch of river with no debris and a nice, clean rock bottom,” Morlan said. “We have great sandbars and easy access in and out of the river.”
Morlan admits that a lot of adult beverages are drank every weekend but wants people to know that Rock-N-Row is also a family-friendly place.

“We do consume a lot of beer on the river,” he said. “But once August rolls around, the water gets shallower, and we encourage more families to attend because it’s a safer atmosphere. That’s when we get a lot of church groups and scout troops.”
Rock-N-Row offers an 8-mile stretch of river with only a foot drop every four miles.
“The travel time depends on the current and the how fast the party wants to go,” he said. “It normally takes about three to four hours, but people can stay out as long as they want.”

Although Apple River is a well-known tubing destination, Morlan wants people to experience Rock-N-Row, which is only 90 minutes north of the metro.
“I’ve never been to Apple River, but we don’t try to be like them. We’re more of the PG-13 version,” he said. “I would make your reservations now, because we only have a limited amount of campsites, and they go fast. But no matter when you come and see us, you’ll have a fun time because we bend over backwards for our clientele. Stop out and experience Rock-N-Row, and you’ll be hooked for life.” CV


Patrons party it up at Rock-N-Row Adventures, 23539 1st St., Eldora, IA. Visit or call (641) 858-5516 for more information about live entertainment, upcoming events, competitions and rules and regulations for the grounds.

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