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Splash Down to Table Rock Lake

Splash Down

One of Missouri’s Best Lakes Takes Watersports to Another Level

By Michael Cochran

Anyone who thrives on aquatic fun should make a beeline for Table Rock Lake in Missouri, where on-the-water adventures for all ages and skill levels are an essential part of an invigorating leisure lifestyle. From canoeing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding to power and pontoon boating, water skiing, wakeboarding, scuba diving, and parasailing, Table Rock Lake is among the Midwest’s most popular watersports destinations for thousands of couples, families, and groups of friends who return year after year to enjoy its clean, clear waters.


For the ultimate adrenaline rush, have a go at the highflying thrill of parasailing, provided by American Parasail under the watchful and experienced eye of Captain Sam Sandt. From lift-off to touchdown, Capt. Sam shepherds his charges in a customized parasailing boat equipped with state-of-the-art safety equipment. Departing hourly from State Park Marina, flyers are launched from a speeding boat, soaring to heights of 300 feet before being reeled back in for a soft, dry landing. Almost anyone can do it, so its not unusual to see senior citizens flying high right along with the younger set to experience the giddy view of a lifetime.

Preferred for its deep, clear waters, Table Rock Lake is a magnet for scuba diving enthusiasts who delight in seeing the lake’s teeming marine life and exploring a wonder world of ancient geologic features submerged when the lake was created in the mid-1950s. For the uninitiated, the State Park Marina Dive Shop offers a Discover SCUBA course (ages 10 and older) that provides basic instructions, safety procedures, and participation in a boat dive in less than 15 feet of water. One very reasonable price includes gear, air, boat ride, and professional instructions, so if scuba diving is something you’ve always wanted to try, jump on in!


Enjoy the thrill of parasailing on Table Rock Lake.


14 public marinas are stocked with food, fuel and other amenities.


Hold on tight! Tubing on TRL is fun for the whole family.


From Cape Fair Marina, serving the lake’s James River arm, to Cricket Creek Marina on the southern Long Creek arm, Table Rock Lake offers 14 public marinas to keep you stocked with food, fuel, bait, safety gear, and other supplies. Most have fishing, sport, and pontoon boats for rent, and some, like Port of Kimberling Marina, have rental fleets that also include stand-up paddleboards, jet skis, powerboats, plus water skiing and wakeboarding equipment. And, with more than 43,000 acres of beautiful blue water, the lake offers plenty of room for everyone to enjoy their favorite watersport without impinging on anyone else’s fun.

Choosing the perfect marina for you and your group depends on what you plan to do during your Table Rock stay. Most of the marinas offer extended hours from late spring until early fall, but some may be limited from October through April, so be aware of their operation hours.

For those who bring their own boats, there are 24 public access boat ramps that literally circle the lake. A quick look online will tell you which launch point is best for putting your craft in the water within striking distance of your desired destination. For even easier access, check out the lakeside resorts with private launch ramps and slip rentals for your watercraft.

family running on dock

Clockwise from top left: Table Rock Lake has everything you need for a boating adventure, 14 public marinas make boating a breeze, Take a sunset cruise, Spend time with the the family in the lake’s waters.

Fabulous Fishing

Table Rock Lake’s primary tributaries—the White, James, and King rivers—are all spring-fed streams, explaining in part why the lake’s waters are so clear and receptive to flourishing populations of aquatic life. When the lake was first created, it quickly rose to prominence for great year-round fishing for largemouth, small-mouth, and spotted bass, as well as crappie, walleye, and catfish. The subsequent emergence of Branson and the Table Rock area as national destinations for entertainment and recreation hasn’t changed that initial claim to fame. With so many professionally operated marinas and related services, Table Rock Lake remains one of the finest and most popular fresh water fisheries in the country, hosting major fishing tournaments each year and serving as a popular port of call for avid fisherman from all over the Midwest.


For a relaxing, playful day on shore, spacious Moonshine Beach is the place. The lake’s only sand swimming beach, it’s ideal for family or group picnics, swimming, and sunning, all accompanied by a beautiful view. Located near Table Rock Dam and open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., this peaceful haven includes public restrooms, showers, sheltered picnic areas, a playground, and boat launch. For a lazy morning with a good book and dipping your toes in the water, or as a respite from an afternoon of shopping, Moonshine Beach is one of the lake’s most popular, family-friendly gathering places. And what a bargain! Maintained and operated by the Corps of Engineers, Moonshine Beach and all its facilities are yours for a modest day use fee of $5.

With its great fishing, plentiful options for on-the-water fun, and family-friendly traditions, Table Rock Lake truly is a multi-purpose playground for folks of all ages. It’s a great place to honeymoon or gather your extended tribe for a day, a week, or longer. If getting wet and having fun is in your plans, you won’t find a better place to splash down.

table rock lake boat rental

Clockwise from top left: Water skiing and more options for family fun, Scuba dive in the deep, clear waters of Table Rock Lake, Table Rock Lake is a multi-purpose playground.

nightime on the lake
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