Hey, Missourians! Did you know you don’t have to flee to the coast to get a taste of the sweet summertime beach life? We’ve got stellar waterside options right here at home. Below are more than a dozen of our favorites.
1. St. Joe State Park – Park Hills, Mo.
This eastern park features two beaches—one on Monsanto Lake and one on Pim Lake—perfect for swimming. Between the two spots you can find picnic tables, grills and volleyball nets, everything needed for a memorable day of lazing about in the sun.
2. Finger Lakes – Columbia, Mo.
Once used for mining, this picturesque spot has been turned into a lake with clear, cool water and a large sand beach perfect for escaping summer's heat.
3. The Fugitive Beach – Rolla, Mo.
In a past life, this premiere Rolla destination was a quarry. Now, it's a water wonderland, complete with a 60-foot slide, cliffs perfect for jumping, volleyball courts and, of course, a sweet beach.
4. Watkins Mill State Park – Lawson, Mo.
Kansas City folk have just a short drive to reach the first-class swimming hole at Watkins Mill State Park. The 100-acre lake features a large sand beach, popular for swimming.
5. Castlewood State Park – Ballwin, Mo.
This St. Louis-area natural retreat, situated on the banks of the Meramec River, features stretches of sandy beach perfect for enjoying a picnic or a quiet afternoon. Swimming is not allowed here, but a short hike up the bluffs provides picturesque views.
6. Stockton State Park – Dadeville, Mo.
Jump on in the cool waters of Stockton Lake, in the southwestern quarter of the state. It features a swimming beach, as well as two boat launches.
7. Mark Twain State Park – Florida, Mo.
Spalding Beach in Mark Twain State Park is one of the largest in northeast Missouri.
8. Washington State Park – De Soto, Mo.
Flop down on the large, sandy beach next to Big River for a picture-perfect Missouri summer day. If you're in need of supplies, it's just a short walk to the park's Thunderbird Lodge and market.
9. Creve Coeur Lake State Park – Creve Coeur, Mo.
Bring a picnic and a swimming pole and spend the day on Creve Coeur Lake's beach, watching sailboats pass on by. Nearby, rent a kayak, canoe, paddleboard or bike.
10. Trail of Tears State Park – Jackson, Mo.
Lake Boutin's sandy swimming beach is a popular family destination. Whether you're looking for a picturesque picnic spot or a delightful swimming hole, you'll find it here.
11. Long Branch State Park – Macon, Mo.
This sand beach on Land Branch Lake includes plenty of room to bring a crowd along for the fun.
12. Table Rock Lake – Branson, Mo.
Moonshine Beach offers it all: sand, swimming, picturesque views, scuba diving and boating.
13. Wakonda State Park – Grange, Mo.
Wakonda State Park features Missouri's biggest natural sand beach.
Have you been to any of these beaches? What’s your favorite? Did we miss any we should try to include next time? Let us know!