When the summer temperatures soar past the comfort zone, the water beckons. Missouri's many lakes and rivers provide picture-perfect days for everyone who pilots a boat or paddles a canoe.
The Meramec River, a state treasure and float trip favorite, is ideal for canoeing. Bring your own vessel, or rent one at Forest 44 Canoe Rental in Pacific. The views from the Meramec are breathtaking; take a waterproof camera to get snapshots of the scenic hills and bluffs.
You can find rentals for your aquatic adventures at Boiling Spring Canoe Rental. Located in Dixon, this friendly shop is close to the Big Piney River and the Gasconade River. (At 265 miles, the Gasconade is the longest river completely within Missouri’s borders.) Arrange for a one-day or multi-day float via canoe, raft, Jon boat or tube.
Looking to pair your river trip with some excellent fishing? Head to Eleven Point River Canoe Rental in Alton, and then paddle down the namesake Eleven Point River. The 11-Point is chock-full of walleye, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, goggle-eye and pickerel. Fish on your own or take a guided trip with one of the shop's pros.
At Bass' River Resort and Floating Outfitters, in Steelville, boaters can choose the Courtois River, the Huzzah River or the Meramec River. Paddle six, seven or 13 miles in a canoe or a kayak; and you can take a leisurely float on a raft or tube.
If your preferences run toward (much) larger vessels, Firstmate Guide Service and Yacht Charters provides yacht charters on the Lake of the Ozarks. A luxurious boat, a beautiful lake, a sunny summer afternoon—sounds like a recipe for happiness.
For water travel with a historic twist, climb aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat, in Hannibal. Take a one-hour sightseeing trip and learn all about the rich history of the Mississippi River and the town of Hannibal. Two-hour dinner cruises, which include entertainment, are available.
Once you've discovered all of the fun that can be had on top of the water, go underwater by scuba diving in Bull Shoals Lake. In this 45,000-acre lake near Theodosia, catfish, crappie, walleye, white bass and largemouth bass are thriving in the clear waters.