A beach vacation in land-locked Missouri? Believe it or not, a getaway from bustling St. Louis isn’t hard to find, and you won’t have to flee to the coast to get a taste of that sweet summertime beach life. Here are 10 stellar beach options to give you a reviving break from the hustle and bustle of the city. With enough sand to play in, enough water to cool off in, and some awesome water-front vacation rental options, you summer beach vacation in the Ozarks is calling. Find Lake of the Ozarks vacation rentals.

1. Fugitive Beach

fugitive beach

This old quarry in Rolla has been turned into a tourist attraction and water wonderland, complete with a 60-foot slide, cliffs for jumping, volleyball courts, and of course, a sandy beach. Take a swim, float, or dig your toes in the sand. All you have to do is follow Interstate 44 to Springfield. Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children.

2. Monsanto Lake Beach

monsanto park

St. Joe State Park near Park Hills actually has two swimming beaches, one on Monsanto Lake, and one on Pim Lake. Between the two beaches, you can find picnic tables, grills, and volleyball nets, making it a great place to make some memories in the sun. There are also great scuba diving opportunities!

3. Creve Coeur Lake

creve coeur park
Source: Flickr/Roland Klose

Located right in the middle of St. Louis County is Creve Coeur Lake, the closest body of water with a beach to St. Louis. Only 20 miles east of the city, in Maryland Heights, the park has sandy beaches, and water perfect for kayaking, sailing, and rowing, but the lake doesn’t allow swimming. Pack a picnic and spend the day sunbathing and watching sailboats pass by, or rent a kayak, canoe, paddleboard, or bike to explore the great surrounding trails. There’s also zip lining!

4. Long Branch State Park Beach

missouri sunset
Source: Flickr/foto4lizzie

Long Branch State Park near Macon in north-central Missouri offers a wide sandy beach with plenty of room to spread out and have some summer time fun. Bring a volleyball to play on the provided nets, or toss around a football or frisbee. There’s also a change house nearby if you want to get out of your sandy clothes before heading back to your vacation rental.

5. Lake of the Ozarks

lake sunrise

Lake of the Ozarks offers a few great beaches, but our favorites are Public Beach No. 1 and Grand Glaze Beach at Lake of the Ozarks State Park. If the gorgeous views weren’t enough, you’ll find restrooms and playgrounds, and some great local bars and restaurants nearby.

6. Finger Lakes

finger lakes

Just outside of Columbia is Finger Lakes. This area was once used for mining and is also formerly known as the Strip Pits which was popular for off-road racing. This picturesque spot is now a clear, cool lake accompanied by a large sand beach, perfect for splashing around in the summer heat. There’s also a swimming and a change house offered on one of the eastern finger lakes.

7. Moonshine Beach

moonshine beach
Source: Flickr/Karen Montgomery

This popular sandy swimming beach is located on the shores of Table Rock Lake near Branson. At Moonshine Beach Recreation Area, you’ll find a volleyball court, boat ramp, picnic area, scuba diving, and picturesque views. This beach has it all! The beach is so spacious, you might forget that you’re actually on a lake, and not the great, wide ocean. That is until you look around and see yourself surrounded by a forest of oak and hickory trees.

8. Spalding Beach

mark twain lake
Source: Flickr/John W. Iwanski

Spalding Beach is located in Northeast Missouri, not too far from Hannibal, in Mark Twain State Park. No pets or alcohol are allowed here, but this is one of the largest beaches in the area. Plus, there’s a change house nearby. If you’re in search for a little adventure, check out the 32-mile Joanna Trail, perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. You can even tour the birthplace of the world-famous, Mark Twain, and explore the region that inspired stories such as “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”

9. Trail of Tears

trail of tears
Source: Flickr/Kris Chapman

Whether you’re looking for a picturesque picnic spot or a delightful swimming hole, you’ll find it at this swimming beach on Lake Boutin near Cape Girardeau. With abundant picnic sites lining the shore, and perfect for building castles, and calm, cool water for tubing, this beach is often filled with families. While you’re here, stop by the visitors center to learn all about the Cherokee Indians and the Trail of Tears.

10. Castlewood State Park

castlewood state park
Source: Flickr/Kara

Roughly 25 miles southwest of St. Louis is Castlewood State Park, a robust recreational area that provides the perfect backdrop to kick back and relax on the beach. Located on the banks of Meramec River, this sandy beach is the perfect place for a picnic. You can also go camping, hiking, and fishing. There is no designated swimming area, but the park maintains several beaches for public use along the banks of the Meramec. This beach is a little rockier than the others on this list and there is a strong undertow, so if you do wade into the water, be careful!