Lake of the Ozarks
Ever since the Bagnell Dam was completed on the Osage River in 1931, Lake of the Ozarks has been synonymous with pleasure boating. Covering 55,000 acres within an astounding 1,150 miles of shoreline, and measuring a whopping 90 miles long, it’s the nation’s largest man-made lake not built for flood control. That means water levels are more stable than those in flood-control impoundments. Thousands of boaters applaud.
Nine public-access ramps complement a long list of private marinas. Lodgings are plentiful, with many locations providing boat slips, some covered.
This might be a great place to try a different kind of boat: Many marinas, resorts and campgrounds offer speedboat, pontoon, fishing boat and personal watercraft rentals. Houseboats are big here too, if you want to try driving your own temporary home.
You want a dry-land home? There are more than 70,000 homes on the lake, many of them vacation homes.
Lake of the Ozarks State Park is Missouri’s largest, and it boasts more than 80 miles of shoreline. Among its novel features is a nearly 10-mile-long aquatic trail leading boaters to a variety of natural communities; the trail’s marked buoys are keyed to a booklet available at the park.
Need to Know
Dream Boat: Sea Ray 280 Sundancer — Sporty, it will handle the whole gang and deliver luxury.
Fun Fact: Lake of the Ozarks sports dozens, if not hundreds, of dockside cafes and watering holes. You’ll never need dry land again.
Do you prefer your boating on a river’s flowing waters or a serene lake? If you visit or move to the Chattanooga, Tennessee, area, you can change your mind every day.
Ok, Chickamauga Lake is an impoundment of the Tennessee River, but it feels like a lake for its nearly 60-mile length. Boaters love it, especially around the south end, closest to Chattanooga.
Booker T. Washington State Park, on Chickamauga Lake, has boat launch ramps for those drawn to fishing, skiing and pleasure riding. Picnic sites, including three pavilions big enough for 60 people each, are sprinkled throughout the 353 acres.
On the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, Harbor Lights Marina has inside (dry) storage and deepwater, open and sheltered wet slips. Living in town, you have your pick of ways to have your boat safely stowed and ready to go.
The Tennessee River Blueway, always there but officially established only about 10 years ago, stretches for more than 45 miles from Chickamauga Dam to Nickajack Dam, passing through Chattanooga and the Tennessee River Gorge. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle to their heart’s content, sharing the river with commercial barges, bass boats and recreational boats. Launch sites and campsites are sprinkled along the blueway.
Need to Know
Dream Boat: Nitro Z-9 — Search out largemouth and smallmouth bass in this high-tech craft.
Fun Fact: Chattanooga’s $120 million “21st Century Waterfront Plan” helped it win three national awards for outstanding livability.