Whether it's hanging out in a quiet lake cove, exploring one of Missouri’s pristine Ozark rivers or plopping in a pool, state parks offer swimming experiences that the entire family can enjoy.
Four parks – Bennett Spring, Big Lake, Roaring River and Washington – have public swimming pools, while others have sand beaches.
The parks located on big impounded lakes offer some of the Midwest’s top water recreation. Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Wappapello, Long Branch, Pomme de Terre, Stockton, Harry S Truman, Table Rock and Mark Twain state parks all have large lakes perfect for swimming, boating and fishing.
Crowder State Park has swimming in its 18-acre lake and Cuivre River State Park offers swimming in Lake Lincoln. Finger Lakes, Lewis and Clark, St. Joe, Trail of Tears, Thousand Hills, Wakonda and Watkins Woolen Mill also are state parks with smaller lakes for swimming. Several of the lakes have sand beaches.
Clear, spring-fed Ozark rivers are great for cooling off in the hot summer months.
Big Creek is a lovely little stream that runs through Sam A. Baker State Park and the campground is next to a gravel bar along the creek.
Meramec State Park and Onondaga Cave State Park are located along the Meramec River. St. Francois and Washington state parks are on Big River.
One of the state’s premier swimming holes is at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, where the Black River has carved out chutes and pools in the ancient rock of the namesake shut-ins area.