Visitors flock to Table Rock Lake during all seasons to enjoy its 800 miles of beautiful shoreline. This 43,000 acre lake in the Ozarks is home to camping sites, marinas, numerous water related recreation and Table Rock State Park. Spend the day on the lake swimming, out on the boat or on a sunset cruise on the Spirit of America.
Table Rock Lake was created back in the summer of 1958 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when they built the Table Rock Dam across the White River. Today, a 20 minute film about the making of the dam, maps of the area and interactive exhibits can all be found at the Dewey Short Visitors Center which is on the south end of Table Rock Dam. The visitor’s center is open March through December from 10:00am to 5:00pm. There is also an overlook at the center where visitors can see Table Rock Lake and the dam. Pack a lunch as there are picnic areas and spots for fishing along the shore. The Table Rock Lakeshore Trail is also close by. This 2.2 mile trail is a paved trail ideal for all ages and is wheelchair accessible. At the foot of the dam, the whole family will enjoy visiting the Shepherd of the Hills Trout Hatchery. The inside of the center houses a large aquarium. During summer months, guided tours are given through the hatchery.
There are several marinas that line Table Rock Lake. State Park Marina is just one of the many marinas offering everything you need for a fun day on the lake. Boat and Waverunner rentals are available at State Park Marina and they even offer parasailing. State Park Marina is also the spot to hop on the Spirit of America, a 48-foot catamaran. Cruises depart at noon and 2:00pm and even at dusk for a relaxing sunset ride. Adult tickets are $29.50 and children 12 and under are $23.50. For dinner and a show, enjoy an evening on The Showboat Branson Belle. This boat offers a 3-course meal on a 2-hour cruise around the lake. The Showboat Branson Belle will be celebrating its 20th season this year. Cruises will resume on March 7th.
Table Rock Lake offers 16 designated swimming areas. Moonshine Beach is just one of the many places to cool off and offers a beach environment with its sandy shore. Table Rock State Park is another great place to check out swimming, hiking and camping on Table Rock Lake. This 356 acre park offers 2 campgrounds open in season March through November and great hiking and biking trails suitable for all skill levels. Mountain bikers will enjoy the White River Valley Trail system of interconnected loops because of the rugged terrain. For a more moderate trail, check out the Chinquapin Trail. This 1.5 mile trail is a natural trail but is mostly flat for an easy hike. After all that hiking and swimming, you must check out The Boathouse BBQ and Burgers Café located in the park. The name says it all with a menu filled with great BBQ, burgers and ice cream too.
The beauty of Table Rock Lake is a great getaway spot for the whole family. The lake runs right through our beautiful Eureka Springs town all the way down from Branson, Missouri. If you find yourself in the Eureka Springs area, be sure to check out all this charming little town has to offer. The Historic District offers great shopping for local art and souvenirs to a range of dining options.
Photo courtesy of Doug Wertman