Missouri is home to scenic lakes and rivers that allow you to discover remarkable landscapes like forests, caves, and natural springs. Whether you like spending your days sightseeing, fishing, or simply having a great time kayaking, these places have some peace and calmness that you can enjoy alone or with loved ones. Some rivers are great for beginners, while others are best for veterans.
While Missouri has plenty of calmer lakes and rivers, it’s essential to take precautions. Kyle Vandermolen, a kayaking enthusiast in Missouri, recommends researching your destination to know everything before starting your trip. He also warns beginners to avoid kayaking on new rivers alone and encourages everyone to check the severity of the water’s current provided by the American Whitewater Organization (AWO). Here are the best places to kayak in Missouri, according to Kyle.
The Current River
The Current River, located inside the Current River State park, offers kayakers a chance to view the ruggedness of the Ozark landscape while improving their kayaking skills. This place is often packed with boaters and floaters during the summer weekends, so you’ll probably not be alone. The clear waters and lush green vegetation will give you a sense of being far from civilization, making it an excellent place to spend your weekend. There are plenty of places to stop and camp along the gravel bars and designated campgrounds for families and large groups. Kyle Vandermolen suggests launching at Pulltite, which offers an excellent opportunity to view wildlife such as endangered bats, deer, and birds. It’s also past bluffs, springs, and caves.
The Black River
The upper reaches of the Black River boast some of the most refreshing scenery you’ll find in the Ozarks. You can take your kayak and enjoy the blue skies and the sounds of nature while you float carefree away from civilization, as the first 30 miles of the river are accessible through lazy waters. The water will take you through an adventure into the Ozark forest while providing plenty of fishing opportunities.
The Lake of the Ozarks
Offering some of the best kayaking opportunities in the state, the Ozark is a world-famous aquatic trail with plenty of wildlife and vegetation. A serpent-shaped lake is an excellent place for recreational boating and vacationers, with plenty of inlets and coves to explore. For explorers and kayak professionals, Kyle Vandermolen recommends visiting the southeast portion of the lake, which is quieter and less developed.
The North Fork River
The North Fork River is rated as a level I and II difficulty, making it one of the best places to kayak, picnic, and engage in fun activities with family and friends throughout the summer. It offers stunning scenery with camping opportunities for multi-day trips. If you launch at Twin Bridges, you can rent a campground and a kayak if you don’t have one.
The Eleven Point River
Spanning 138 miles of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri, the Eleven Point River attracts millions of visitors yearly. It’s also rated class I and II rapids, and the scenery is worth navigating those twists and turns. You can launch in Thomasville and paddle the scenic stretch through Mark Twain National Forest and Irish Wilderness. If you want to camp, you can find several float camps along the route for convenient riverside camping.