In the dog days of a Midwestern summer, there's nothing more refreshing than a quick dip in a neighborhood pool or secluded swimming hole. Here are five popular swimming spots in the region.
Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park
The Black River has pools, chutes and waterfalls carved into ancient stone at Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park in Middlebrook, Mo., creating one of the region’s most popular swimming spots. The park is perfect for splashing and swimming, and the more adventurous can explore the chutes or float down the river in a canoe or raft. The park also offers a wide variety of activities, including hiking, cycling, horseback riding, rock climbing and camping. Johnson’s Shut-Ins is open daily year-round, with certain amenities available only seasonally. For more information, visit www.mostateparks.com/park/johnsons-shut-ins-state-park.
At Beaver Lake in Rogers, Ark., visitors can enjoy 487 miles of natural shoreline — including gorgeous swimming beaches set among towering limestone bluffs and caves. The lake is also ideal for all kinds of recreation, including fishing, boating, water skiing and scuba diving. A dozen parks in the area offer hiking, camping, hunting, spelunking and other activities. Beaver Lake is open year-round. To learn more, visit www.arkansas.com/places-to-go/lakes-rivers/lake.aspx?id=1.
Big Surf Water Park
Located in Linn Creek, Mo., Big Surf Water Park offers fun for folks of all ages and interests, whether you’re seeking a relaxing trip down a lazy river or a thrilling drop from a four-story waterslide. Other features include a wave pool and a zero-depth splash pool for the littlest swimmers, as well as sand volleyball, basketball, shuffleboard and pool at the park’s Surf Club. Big Surf is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, with daily hours from June 2 - Aug. 12. To learn more, visit www.bigsurfwaterpark.com.
Springdale Park and Pool
Springdale Park and Pool in Fenton, Mo., is a sprawling oasis offering simple summer fun. The one-acre pool features diving boards and a small slide for the kids, while the surrounding 50-acre park includes a concession stand, miniature golf, washer pits, volleyball nets, baseball diamonds, picnic areas and more. Springdale Park is open daily, and the pool opens at 10 a.m., weather permitting. For more information, visit www.springdaleparkandpool.com.
Little Missouri Falls
Nestled in the Ouachita National Forest in Langley, Ark., the Little Missouri Falls cascade over natural rock formations, creating a breathtaking spot to soak up the sun or cool off with a swim. Other highlights include hiking trails with a scenic overlook and a day-use picnic area with grills. There are additional recreation spots and campgrounds nearby in the national forest. The falls are accessible year-round. To learn more, visit www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ouachita/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=10722&actid=50.
Enjoy your summer — and stay cool out there.