A beautiful pre-dawn sunrise of Longview Lake located just outside of Kansas City with a rocky foreground

Tips about Lakes in Missouri You Need to Know (You Will Thank Us!)

When considering top destination lakes, Missouri offers some of the best in the whole country. Their beauty and character make them simply ideal for fun activities ranging from swimming and waterskiing to fishing. Missouri is one of the states that boasts lots of nice lakes, both natural and man-made. In this article, we will provide a breakdown of some tips about the large lakes in Missouri that just may make you want to visit!

Missouri Lakes

When it comes to summertime, nothing highlights summer fun in the Midwest like the Missouri lakes. Missouri, nicknamed the show-me state, has all kinds of great water activities. Thousands visit every year to enjoy fishing, boating, parasailing, waterskiing, canoeing, kayaking, white water rafting, and even fly-boarding.

Missouri has hundreds of lakes on public land, including those located in county State Parks, The US Army Corps of Engineers, Missouri Department of Conservation, and all those maintained by towns and cities. Notably, interspersed throughout the Ozark Mountains, the Great Plains, and along with the extensive river valleys of Missouri, there are plentiful scenic lakes throughout the region.

Pontoon boat with passengers speeding across a lake in Missouri
Creator: Skalicky, Michele R

Around these lakes, there are plenty of cozy Missouri vacation rentals perfect for getaways and events. To the delight of vacationers, there are lots of places with amenities available if you are looking forward to some of these kinds of recreational activities. Here are some of the lakes in the state of Missouri along with various tips that are useful for your visit. Let’s begin with some of the top-rated lakes in the state. These are the best lakes in Missouri if you are looking for an ideal place to have fun, especially in the summertime.

Truman Lake

Truman Lake is one of the biggest lakes in the state, spanning over 55,600 acres. The lake covers 958 miles of coastline with clear water and dramatic bluffs. It is considered by many to be the best for fishing, even in winter, because the power heats the lake water from Truman Dam. The state park covers more than 100,000 acres of bluffs, forests, rugged hills, and prairies surrounding the lake and extends into it on a peninsula.

Truman Lake has three marinas, 21 public boat ramps, and two beaches, all within the states. Some of the lake activities include boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, and camping. In addition to all these, Truman Lake has vibrant summers with various natural colors, which makes it an ideal place for vacation.

Bluff Ridge Overlook @ Truman Lake State Park - panoramio

Bluff Ridge Overlook at Truman Lake State Park in Missouri

Lake of the Ozarks

The lake, which is conveniently located in the heart of Missouri, is the Midwest’s premium lake resort destination. It offers world-class boating, golfing, fishing, and shopping along with a wide variety of lodging, state parks, restaurants, and many other activities that are designed to suit any budget or taste. In fact, it’s so popular among boating enthusiasts that a local Facebook group, LOTO Boaters, boasts 38.5k members who post about anything ranging from yachts to fishing boat motors, and from boat lifts to local events and pics.

This lake and its immediate scenery are defined by its many waterfalls, accommodations, recreational activities, restaurants, and many entertainment venues. For those who are looking for a place to enjoy their time, from children, young adults to adults, Lake of the Ozarks is the best. The lake spans four counties with a total of 1150 miles of shoreline, which is more than the 840 miles of California pacific coastline.

The lake comprises various undeveloped caves between the marina, condos, and resorts. It is the largest lake in Missouri’s State Parks system, with over 40 marinas, nine public boat ramps, and two beaches. Activities found in this lake include boating, fishing, golfing, camping, bicycling, swimming, and parasailing, among many others. Every year, one of the nation’s largest boat races, the Shootout, is hosted at Lake of the Ozarks.

Aerial photo of Ha Ha Tonka State Park Castle Ruins at the Lake of the Ozarks, MO.
Aerial photo of Ha Ha Tonka State Park Castle Ruins at the Lake of the Ozarks, MO.

Table Rock Lake

Table Rock is one of the clear water lakes in Missouri lying in the southwestern near the border with Arkansas. The Table Rock State Park serves as a gateway to the lake on the eastern shore. In this lake, visitors get a beautiful view of crystal water along the almost 800 miles of the tree-lined shore, making it one of the Ozarks’ top destinations for fishing and boating.

The lake encompasses 365 acres of hiking and cycling trails. It has lodgings that range from luxurious resorts and private condos to rustic mountain cabins, RV parks, and campsites. It has 14 marinas, 24 public boat ramps, and three beaches that make the experience fun and wholesome for visitors. You can indulge in activities such as boating, parasailing, waterskiing, swimming, scuba diving, bicycling, camping, paddle-boarding, fishing, and picnicking.

Sunrise and mist on Table Rock Lake in Southwestern Missouri
Sunrise and mist on Table Rock Lake in Southwestern Missouri
(Photo credit: Ted Engler via Flickr)

Stockton Lake

This lake is characterized by clear water and high bluffs that line the shores of the lake. It is ideal for sailing due to its perpetual southwestern winds and well-established sailing school that’s housed at the marina. It has a park that offers camping and cabin lodging and has a great spot to enjoy beautiful southern Missouri views.

It comprises three marinas, 20 public boat ramps, and five beaches. Visiting Stockton Lake allows you to indulge in activities such as hiking, scuba diving, waterskiing, fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking.

Sunrise over Stockton Lake - panoramio

Sunrise over Stockton Lake

Mark Twain Lake

This is the largest lake on the northern side of Missouri, spanning 18,600 acres. The lake is located approximately 20 miles southwest of Hannibal, Missouri, within the Clarence Cannon Dam reservoir. In Mark Twain Lake, there is no private development along the shoreline, which translates to minimal distraction from the beautiful view.

The lake has two marinas, ten public boat ramps, and three beaches, all located in one park. Some of the main activities you can engage in here are camping, waterskiing, hiking, trail riding, kayaking, fishing, boating, and swimming.

Mark Twain lake and dam on the Salt River in Ralls County, Missouri.
Mark Twain Lake and Dam on the Salt River in Ralls County, Missouri, USA.

Other Nice Lakes

Other lakes in the state include Lake Norfolk which covers 2200 acres with more than 550 miles of shoreline. In this lake, there are over 19 recreational parks offering the best places for hiking, camping, and picnicking. In Norfolk Lake, there are commercial docks providing visitors with boats, diving tools, motors, and guidance to the lake as they enjoy various water activities.

As illustrated earlier in the study, there are about 100 lakes in Missouri including Smithville Lake and Pomme de Terre Lake. Like many others across different parts of the state, this crystalline clear water lake in Missouri is very quiet and one of the best for fishing and all kinds of water sports and activities.

State Park at Missouri Lake Pomme de Terre at sundown
State Park at Missouri Lake Pomme de Terre at sundown

Visit our Lakes in Missouri

Each of Missouri’s lakes offers a highly sought-after destination for many because of their beautiful views and affordable activities. If you are planning a trip to see the sights Missouri has to offer, these lakes are a must.

And if you’re in need of a boat lift, check out the LOTO Lift website and visit Missouri’s premier boat lift manufacturer. We take pride in our top-rated products and services and we hope we can be of service to you, too.

So visit our website, give us a call, and follow us on Facebook for more information.

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