One of the best cures for the COVID-19 blues is to get outdoors and get moving. August might be too hot and humid for hiking, but it’s the ideal time to cool off in or near the water. Here are 10 rivers and swimming holes where you can jump in for some end-of-summer fun.
For the perfect combination of swimming hole and paddling river, Echo Bluff State Park in Eminence, Missouri, is hard to beat. Sinking Creek is a shallow, crystal-clear stream that flows through the park, past the namesake Echo Bluff. Swimming holes of various depths abound, both within the park and a quarter mile away where Sinking Creek flows into the Current River.
The contrast between the relatively warm water of Sinking Creek and the bracingly cold water of the Current River is most evident at the junction of the two streams. It’s a popular stopping point for floaters who sit or wade in Sinking Creek before returning to their kayaks and canoes to continue floating down the Current River, which is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.
Lake Taneycomo in Branson, Missouri, provides more paddling therapy. Although it’s called a lake, it looks and feels more like a river, flowing 23 miles from Table Rock Lake Dam to Powersite Dam near Forsyth, Missouri; it is actually a manmade reservoir on the White River. The cold water comes from the depths of Table Rock Lake, making Taneycomo an ideal trout-fishing lake and a refreshing summer swimming and paddling spot.
If warmer, calmer waters are your preference, check out Table Rock Lake and Table Rock State Park. With almost 800 miles of shoreline, Table Rock Lake offers many places to swim, sunbathe, scuba dive, snorkel, or paddle.