Even when the temperature is pushing 100 degrees, there are places where you can head outdoors and still stay comfortable.
Here are 10 spots where you can enjoy nature’s air conditioning while pursuing adventure, no matter how hot it gets.
▪ FISHING AT LAKE TANEYCOMO: This famous trout lake in the Branson area stays cool year-round. The dam pulls water from the depths of Table Rock Lake and sends it flowing down Lake Taneycomo, keeping water in the 50s even in the heat of summer. That translates to good trout fishing, and a refreshing place to dip your feet on a summer fishing trip.
▪ SPELUNKING AT ONONDAGA CAVE STATE PARK: This state park in east-central Missouri features two major tour caves, where the temperature stays at 56 to 57 degrees even in the summer. Onondaga Cave is fascinating, with 1.5 miles of passages leading to famous formations such as the King’s Canopy, the Rock of Ages, the Big Room and the Lily Pad Room. Cathedral Cave, also part of Onondaga Cave State Park, features spectacular geological formations, including the one that inspired the name of the cave. Access for exploring both caves is through paid group tours. For more information, call the park naturalists at 573-245-6576.
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▪ SWIMMING AT JOHNSON’S SHUT-INS STATE PARK: This state park in Reynolds County in southeast Missouri contains one of the state’s most popular swimming holes. Visitors can wade into the pools beneath the boulders that form the “shut ins” and stay cool on the hottest days. The only problem: It’s no secret. Expect crowds, especially on weekends. Call the state park at 573-546-2450 for more information.
▪ WADE INTO BENNETT SPRING: This state park near Lebanon in south-central Missouri sports some of the best wade fishing in the state for rainbow trout. The stream stays cool year-round and it is stocked daily with rainbow trout by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Call the state park at 417-847-2539 for information.
▪ FLOAT THE ELEVEN POINT RIVER: Greer Spring adds 220 million gallons of cold water to the river each day, virtually guaranteeing good floating conditions, even in the heat of summer. That’s one of the reasons the float from Greer Spring to Turner Mill is so popular. The Eleven Point, located in extreme southern Missouri, was designated as one of the protected waterways in the Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, so its banks are undeveloped and left in their natural beauty.
▪ CAMP AT ROARING RIVER STATE PARK: This state park, located near Cassville in southern Missouri, features three main campgrounds, not far from the cool waters of its well-known trout stream. Call the park office at 417-847-2539 for more information.
▪ FISH FOR BASS AT NIGHT AT LAKE OF THE OZARKS: When it gets hot, some fishermen at Lake of the Ozarks turn nocturnal. After the big lake calms from the churning created by heavy boat traffic during the day, the bass often move shallow to feed. Big plastic worms or black spinnerbaits, retrieved slowly, often are the best bet.
▪ FISH UNDER THE LIGHTS FOR CRAPPIES AT STOCKTON LAKE: Fishermen can set up a food chain under their boat by putting the fish in the spotlight. Using a floating halogen light, they can attract a layer of insects on top, baitfish underneath them, and gamefish such as crappies below them.
▪ EXPLORE ROCK BRIDGE MEMORIAL STATE PARK: This state park located near Columbia, features an underground stream in a cave known as the Devil’s Icebox. Many explorers look forward to feeling the temperature drop as they travel down the boardwalk path to the Icebox. For more information, call the state park office at 573-449-7402.
▪ GO FROGGING: Many outdoors enthusiasts enjoy hunting for frogs at night in the heat of summer. The Missouri season opens at dusk June 30 in Missouri and on July 1 in Kansas.