Escape to the lake and more this summer.

This article is presented in partnership with Visit Missouri. 

Summer is here, which means it’s time to dive into Missouri’s cool blue waters. If you need a guide, you’re in luck — The Show-Me State’s lakes are kind of my thing. I have a few places sure to help you beat the heat on your next adventure.

Stockton Lake. Photo: Visit Missouri

Stockton Lake

This nearly 25,000-acre lake near Stockton and Bolivar is known as an excellent sail-boating destination. A generous and nearly perpetual breeze from the southwest propels sailboats across the lake. If you’ve ever had dreams of being a sailor, there’s a marina with a sailing school at Stockton State Park. Round out the weekend by heading an hour southeast to Springfield, where you can explore undersea life at Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium or grab a bite to eat at Black Sheep Burgers and Shakes.

Smithville Lake. Photo: Visit Missouri

Smithville Lake

Located near Smithville, Plattsburg and Platte City, this popular destination offers 175 miles of shoreline only 20 minutes from downtown Kansas City. You’ll find plenty of places to camp, hike and golf in the area surrounding the lake. If you have a little time, the Jesse James Farm and the Shoal Creek Living History Museum are perfect for an afternoon adventure. 

Mark Twain Lake. Photo: Visit Missouri

Mark Twain Lake

Up north, you can fish and boat across the 19,000 acres of Mark Twain Lake or roam the shore on miles of horseback-riding and hiking trails. If you want to learn more about the lake’s namesake, Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home and Museum is in Hannibal, a short drive to the northeast. You can also journey inside Mark Twain Cave, where Samuel Clemens played as a boy. Finish out the weekend with a walk down the town’s historic Main Street and pop into antique and vintage shops along the way. 

Looking for more lake getaways? Check out Visit Missouri’s 12 Weeks, 12 Missouri Lakes, or discover your lake M-O for the ultimate summer getaway. 

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