Lake of the Ozarks Public Beaches
Maybe the best place to start looking for Lake of the Ozarks public swimming is at the public beaches on the lake. Two public beaches that are great for family fun are: Public Beach #1, Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Exit #134, (573) 348-2694; Public Beach #2 off Highway 54, Lake of the Ozarks State Park, (573) 348-2694. Some visitors have expressed concern about E. coli contamination and the possibility of contracting disease from the presence of E. coli in the water. But a report from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources states that regular testing of the lake water indicates little risk of contracting an illness associated with this bacteria.
The parks have picnic areas near both beaches. Families can relax at the picnic tables, cook on the outdoor grills and enjoy playground equipment, in addition to taking a refreshing dip in the lake. Both locations have modern restroom facilities, as well as picnic shelters for family reunions and other outdoor gatherings. Shelters that accommodate up to 100 people can be reserved for $50/day. When the shelters are not marked as reserved they are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Osage Beach in Missouri is on the lists compiled by some independent surveys of best beaches and places to swim. Osage Beach is a Lake of the Ozarks hotspot, which may be the most popular vacation spot in the U.S. Midwest. There are hundreds of miles of shoreline so the lake is large enough to accommodate the crowds. People who contributed to some of the “best beach” contests or responded to surveys say that the surrounding landscape and the lake’s size are two key factors in making Lake of the Ozarks public swimming so enjoyable.
Many of the commercial campgrounds have lake access as well, along with on-site swimming pools. Some people find that these campgrounds and small resorts are the best place to locate during a Lake of the Ozarks trip, especially if public beaches are not their “cup of tea.” Many of the guides to lake activities list Lake of the Ozarks public swimming at the two designated beaches. But they add that swimming is “authorized” only at these two sites.
However, hundreds of people swim in the lake during the vacation season by jumping from their pontoon boat or ski boat. A lot of this in-the-water activity takes place at Party Cove.