Unplug and Recharge
Table Rock Lake is the Ideal Place to Unwind
By Brandon Butler
The Missouri Ozarks offer an abundance of spectacular outdoor destinations worthy of visiting. Few, however, compare to Table Rock Lake. With 45,000 acres of surface water and 800 miles of natural shoreline, Table Rock has both the size and scenery to make it one of the premier destinations in America to kick back, relax and unwind in the great outdoors.
The shoreline surrounding Table Rock Lake is protected from expansive development, so no matter where you are on the lake, you’re surrounded by natural scenery. The countless coves and deep pockets make for quiet hideaways, so it’s easy to find your own secluded place to anchor and swim. Pull over on the shore for a picnic in a relaxing spot under a shady tree, or stretch a hammock for a nap. At any time, a white-tailed deer, wild turkey or bald eagle may make an appearance, as wildlife is very abundant. This is just one example of how you can relax on the lake. Here are just a few more of the endless opportunities available at Table Rock Lake to escape life’s hectic pace.
Activities on the Water
Watersports are the main draw to Table Rock Lake. Pleasure boating along a pristine natural shoreline, casting a lure into crystal clear water for lunker bass, and silently paddling in the stillness of dawn—these are perfect ways to unwind on the water.
Glide across the surface on a paddleboard as you take in all the sights and sounds this spectacular natural setting has to offer. Parasail high above Table Rock Lake for an eagle’s view of the surrounding Ozark Mountains. The wind whisking through your hair as you coast along in a catamaran sailboat is as freeing as it is relaxing.
Clockwise from top left: Fish and relax as the sun sets; Scuba dive in the deep, clear waters of Table Rock Lake; Parasailing is a must when you visit
Another watersport Table Rock Lake is known for may be one you might not expect: scuba diving. If you have never dived before, this is a great place to learn. Swim with fish and explore underwater structures in crystal clear water free from boat traffic. The State Park Marina Dive Shop offers an introductory scuba course called Discover SCUBA that will have you in the water within a couple of hours.
Table Rock Lake is also an incredible fishing destination. However, since it’s so large and the water so clear, it can be an intimidating lake to fish for the first time. Hiring a local fishing guide is a great way to discover a few secret spots and learn tactics to set yourself up for success on your own. Then you can go after largemouth and smallmouth bass, and the crappie fishing is excellent. Bowfishing is popular, as well. Below Table Rock Dam, the upper-section of Lake Taneycomo offers tailwater trout fishing with serious trophy potential. Experience the serenity of fly-fishing below the dam while trying to land one of the lunker browns that migrate upstream to spawn.
A Stay With a View
There are many public and privately owned campgrounds in the area perfect for pitching a tent, having a campfire and making s’mores under the stars. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers offers 16 public campgrounds and campsites, which range from primitive to full hook-up. If camping isn’t your thing, there are numerous cabin and hotel rentals available. For luxury accommodations, Big Cedar Lodge offers an array of spectacular multi-room log lodges to much simpler lakeside fisherman cabins, all within a gorgeous natural setting.
Houseboats are ideal for sunbathing
Make yourself at home in a log cabin at Big Cedar Lodge
Rustic comfort available at Big Cedar Lodge
Unwind in one of Big Cedar Lodge’s spa cottages
Recharge in Springivew Suite at Big Cedar Lodge
One unique and exciting way to experience the best of both worlds is to rent a houseboat. Imagine yourself sunbathing on a hot summer afternoon on the upper deck, far from the stresses of everyday life. You’re reading a good book and enjoying a cold drink. After awhile, you slip off your sunglasses and step out of your flip-flops. You stroll to the edge, pause briefly to look down, then dive off into crystal clear refreshing water. Five Star Houseboat Vacations offers luxury houseboats with all the amenities you need to enjoy an on-the-water camping experience. Wheel your luggage across the dock onto your floating abode and set sail for an adventure the entire family will remember forever.
Even if you’re more of a land-lover, there are plenty of trail opportunities around Table Rock Lake. Miles and miles of trails offer walkers, runners, bikers, and hikers the opportunity to stretch their legs. Bird watching is popular in and around the lake, with bald eagles sighted frequently. Table Rock Lakeshore Trail is paved and courses through flat terrain. It’s a perfect trail for a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, and a wonderful nature trail for individuals using a wheelchair. If you desire a little more of a hiking challenge, Chinquapin Trail is a natural surface trail of moderate difficulty running through Ozark woodlands and glades.
Sit Back With a Glass of Wine
Nothing helps you unwind after a long day on the water or the trail like a glass of wine, a good meal and a great view. Top of the Rock, a property developed by Bass Pro Shop’s founder Johnny Morris, has restaurants that offer extensive wine lists and some of the finest dining you can find in Missouri. One of note is Arnie’s Barn, which is actually a barn from the property that professional golfer Arnold Palmer grew up on in Pennsylvania. Morris brought the barn to Table Rock Lake and reassembled it as a unique dining establishment. The food, drinks, view and natural history of Top of the Rock combine to create a truly magnificent dining destination. Enjoying a glass of wine on the veranda overlooking the lake as the sun sets beyond the western shore of Table Rock Lake is a moment you won’t soon forget.
Clockwise from top left: A great view awaits at Top of the Rock; Drink, dine and unwind