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Wag the tail of the dog days

By Tom Uhlenbrock

What’s a matter, Bunky? Heat and humidity got you down? Feel like a flower wilting in the sun? Already dreaming of a white Christmas?

Missouri offers several sure-fire ways to beat the dog days of summer. Here are a few tried-and-true favorites.

Float your boat: Missouri’s Ozark streams are spring fed, so the water’s always clear and cold. The Current River flows under a dappled canopy of green as it leaves Montauk State Park on its way to Cedargrove. Further down, Welch Spring dumps in 105 million gallons of crystalline water, every day. That will revive your spirits.

Explore a cave: There are four cave tours offered in three state parks. Onondaga Cave State Park has tours of its spectacular namesake, and of Cathedral Cave. It’s a whole ‘nother world down there, and the temperature is always a cool 57 degrees.

Jump in the lake: The two main beaches at Lake of the Ozarks State Park can get a bit crowded. Try McCubbin Point, where you can swim in a more secluded spot. You’ll pass the entrance to Ozark Caverns on the way, so this can be a twofer.

Hang out at a bar: Head to Sam A. Baker State Park, stop at the main campground and take the short stroll to the gravel bar lining Big Creek. Sink your lawn chair at the edge, and dip your toes into this gentle stream. You can wade, fish, or do nothing and the price is right. Free, like all state parks.