The best thing about living in the Ozarks is going to the river. It has been and probably always will be my favorite spring and summer activity. We are blessed to live in a part of the United States that’s covered in rivers, creeks, lakes and other bodies of water. We tried to maintain our social distance, but a lot of people had the same idea as us. Fortunately, there are plenty of secluded places along the river where people hadn’t gravitated. The key is to walk until you find a nice spot.
According to the Missouri Department of Conservation there are over 110,000 miles of rivers and streams. ￼ these fall into four categories: prairie streams, Ozark streams, Mississippi low-land streams, and big rivers such as the Missouri and the Mississippi￼. I’ve lived in Missouri most of my life so I have a privilege of having visited many of these sites but it would be nearly impossible to see them all. ￼ you can ask any Missourian and most will tell you that they have a favorite river to visit or a “secret spot.”￼
Our secret spot wasn’t so secret.
Visiting this river made me curious about just how many various rivers, lakes, and streams there are in Missouri.￼ You can find a list of Missouri lakes and streams online, but I bet it would be impossible to list of every hidden creek and swimming hole in the Ozarks. There are just so many of them￼.
This is my first trip to the river this spring, but I will be making several more as long as the weather allows me. Currently, my favorite rivers for floating are the 11-Point and the Current river. ￼￼But when it comes to finding a secluded place for swimming and day trips, best way to find them is to know somebody who knows a place and then tell as few people as possible. For this reason, I won’t be revealing my favorite secret spots. ￼
If you decide to go to the river, there are certain rules that you should follow￼:
- Don’t bring any glass or glass containers because you risk having broken glass on the river bed.
- Don’t leave any trash behind. This seems like a no brainer, but every time I go to the river I end up filling a trash bag full of discarded items left behind from other visitors. ￼￼
- If you’re taking a kayak, canoe, or other boat out on the water, you must have a life jacket with you, but you don’t have to wear it the whole time.
- Be conscious of water levels after a big rain. We had a scary experience last year when we couldn’t find a bed to camp on that wasn’t underwater. It was nearly dark by the time we started setting up camp.￼￼
- Don’t crowd other campers and floaters. The river is big enough to give space for everybody. ￼
- Only bring pets that do well on the river. Some dogs are too scared to enjoy it. Keep your pet leashed when you’re around a lot of people.
- Be aware of people fishing and try not to make too much noise when passing them.
- If you decide to go fishing or hunting, make sure you have the proper licensing and permits. ￼
- There are many more, but they mostly boil down to using your common sense, being courteous of others, and respecting nature.
Have fun and be safe!! ￼