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Top 5 Places to Go Paddle Boarding in Missouri

Are you looking for the best spots to enjoy paddle boarding in Missouri? Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a complete beginner, Missouri offers a variety of locations that provide breathtaking scenery and perfect waters for a day on your inflatable stand up paddle board. At Green Water Sports, we understand the importance of finding that perfect spot to paddle, and we’ve compiled a list of the top five places in Missouri where you can have an unforgettable paddle boarding experience.


Missouri may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of paddle boarding, but it should be! The state is home to a number of lakes, rivers, and reservoirs that are perfect for stand up paddle boarding (SUP). From the serene and expansive Lake of the Ozarks to the calm and scenic Meramec River, Missouri offers a variety of waterways that cater to paddlers of all levels. So, grab your paddle board and let’s explore the top five places to go paddle boarding in Missouri.

1. Lake of the Ozarks

Lake of the Ozarks is a premier destination for paddle boarding in Missouri. With over 1,150 miles of shoreline, this massive reservoir offers countless coves and inlets to explore. The calm waters make it an ideal spot for beginners, while the more adventurous paddlers can venture out into the main channel for a more challenging experience.

Why Lake of the Ozarks?

  • Scenic Beauty: The lake is surrounded by rolling hills and lush forests, providing a picturesque backdrop for your paddle boarding adventure.
  • Wildlife: Keep an eye out for herons, eagles, and other wildlife as you paddle along the shore.
  • Convenience: There are numerous public access points, marinas, and rental shops, making it easy to get on the water.

2. Table Rock Lake

Located near Branson, Table Rock Lake is another fantastic paddle boarding destination. Known for its clear waters and stunning surroundings, this lake is perfect for a relaxing day on the water.

Highlights of Table Rock Lake

  • Clear Waters: The crystal-clear waters provide excellent visibility, making it a great spot for spotting fish and underwater features.
  • Quiet Coves: Explore the many quiet coves and inlets where you can paddle in peace.
  • Proximity to Attractions: After a day on the water, you can enjoy the nearby attractions in Branson, including shows, shopping, and dining.

3. Meramec River

For those who prefer river paddle boarding, the Meramec River is a top choice. Flowing through the Ozarks, this river offers a variety of paddling experiences, from gentle stretches to more challenging sections.

Why Paddle the Meramec River?

  • Variety: The river’s changing currents and varying water levels provide a mix of easy paddling and more adventurous spots.
  • Natural Beauty: Paddle through scenic landscapes, including forests, bluffs, and caves.
  • Accessible: Numerous access points along the river make it easy to plan a trip that suits your skill level and time frame.

4. Stockton Lake

Stockton Lake, located in southwestern Missouri, is a hidden gem for paddle boarders. With its clean, clear waters and minimal boat traffic, it offers a peaceful paddling experience.

Stockton Lake Highlights

  • Clean Waters: The lake is known for its pristine waters, perfect for a refreshing paddle.
  • Secluded Spots: Find your own private cove or beach to relax and enjoy the tranquility.
  • Fishing Opportunities: Combine your paddle boarding adventure with some fishing, as the lake is stocked with a variety of fish species.

5. Big River

Big River, a tributary of the Meramec River, offers another excellent paddle boarding destination. Its gentle flow and scenic surroundings make it ideal for a leisurely paddle.

Exploring Big River

  • Gentle Current: The mild current makes it suitable for paddlers of all skill levels.
  • Scenic Views: Enjoy the beautiful landscapes, including wooded areas and rocky bluffs.
  • Wildlife Sightings: Be on the lookout for deer, birds, and other wildlife along the riverbanks.

Why Choose Inflatable Paddle Boards?

Inflatable paddle boards have become increasingly popular, and for good reason. They offer several advantages over traditional hard boards, making them a great choice for both beginners and experienced paddlers.

Benefits of Inflatable Paddle Boards

  • Portability: Inflatable boards can be deflated and packed into a compact bag, making them easy to transport and store.
  • Durability: Made from high-quality materials, inflatable boards are highly durable and resistant to damage.
  • Versatility: They are suitable for various water conditions, from calm lakes to mild rivers.
  • Comfort: Inflatable boards provide a comfortable, stable platform, perfect for long paddles.

For more details on why inflatable paddle boards are a great choice, check out this guide.

Essential SUP Accessories

To enhance your paddle boarding experience, consider investing in some essential accessories. These items can improve your comfort, safety, and overall enjoyment on the water.

Must-Have Accessories

  • Paddle: A lightweight, adjustable paddle is crucial for efficient paddling.
  • Leash: A SUP leash keeps you attached to your board, preventing it from drifting away if you fall off.
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Safety first! Always wear a PFD when paddle boarding.
  • Dry Bag: Keep your belongings dry and secure with a waterproof dry bag.
  • SUP Pump: A good quality pump makes inflating your board quick and easy.

Explore a variety of SUP accessories to find what’s best for you.

Safety Tips for Paddle Boarding

Safety should always be a top priority when paddle boarding. Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time on the water.

Paddle Boarding Safety Tips

  • Check the Weather: Always check the weather forecast before heading out, and avoid paddling in strong winds or storms.
  • Wear a PFD: A personal flotation device can be a lifesaver in an emergency.
  • Stay Hydrated: Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, especially on hot days.
  • Know Your Limits: Paddle within your skill level and avoid challenging conditions if you’re a beginner.
  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings: Keep an eye out for boats, swimmers, and other hazards.

For more comprehensive safety tips, visit this article.


Missouri offers a variety of fantastic locations for paddle boarding, each with its own unique charm and appeal. Whether you prefer the expansive waters of Lake of the Ozarks, the clear beauty of Table Rock Lake, or the gentle flow of the Meramec River, there’s a perfect spot for every paddler. At Green Water Sports, we are passionate about helping you make the most of your paddle boarding adventures with top-quality inflatable paddle boards and accessories. So, pack your gear, hit the water, and enjoy the incredible paddle boarding experiences that Missouri has to offer.


1. What is the best time of year to go paddle boarding in Missouri?

The best time to go paddle boarding in Missouri is during the warmer months, from late spring to early fall. This period offers pleasant weather and optimal water conditions.

2. Do I need a permit to paddle board on Missouri lakes and rivers?

Generally, you do not need a permit to paddle board on Missouri lakes and rivers. However, it’s always a good idea to check local regulations and access rules for specific locations.

3. Can I paddle board with my dog in Missouri?

Yes, many paddle boarders enjoy bringing their dogs along for the ride. Make sure your dog is comfortable on the board and consider using a canine flotation device for safety.

4. What should I do if I encounter a storm while paddle boarding?

If you encounter a storm while paddle boarding, head to shore immediately and take shelter. Avoid open water and seek cover until the storm passes.

5. Are there any paddle boarding groups or clubs in Missouri?

Yes, there are several paddle boarding groups and clubs in Missouri where you can meet fellow enthusiasts, join group paddles, and participate in events. Check local social media groups and outdoor activity organizations for more information.

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About the author: Julian Kidd
I have been an avid stand up paddle boarder since 2009. I retired from a decade of professional kiteboarding to focus on SUP. Green Water Sports grew from this love of all things SUP. As well as being a keen paddle boarder, I'm a football fan, closet petrol head, web tinkerer, husband and father.