It doesn’t matter if your idea of fun is fishing, swimming, boating, or simply lounging on the beach, the St. Louis area is home to several lakes and rivers that are great day trip destinations. Each location we feature has multiple options for family fun and enjoyment.
Creve Coeur Lake – Maryland Heights, MO
Creve Coeur Lake is located in the always popular Creve Coeur Park. This busy park can get a little crowded in the warmer months. However, crowds are a sign of popularity, and it only takes a day trip to understand why St. Louis natives and visitors flock to the lake. Visitors can enjoy the lake by renting a canoe, paddle board, or kayak. Athletic types can paddle the six mile Creve Coeur Water Trail while they enjoy some gorgeous scenery. Families who enjoy fishing should bring their poles. Angling is allowed on the lake. There are pavilions, picnic tables, and grills for families who want to take a break from the water for a relaxing outdoor meal. Sailing enthusiasts are also welcome to set sail across the lake any day the winds are cooperative.
Meramec State Park – Sullivan, MO
The Meramec River is arguably the most popular river in the St. Louis area for tubing and floating enthusiasts. So popular, in fact that many people don’t realize that a family can spend a day enjoying the river without ever climbing into a canoe, kayak, inner-tube, or raft. Meramec State Park is open for families who want to spend a day fishing, swimming, or splashing in the river. For those who would rather stay on dry land, there are still plenty of options. Visitors can explore Fisher Cave, hike the vast trails that weave throughout the park, or take a look at Missouri’s native water creatures on display in the aquarium. There is a gift shop inside the park, along with a restaurant where families can grab a quick and casual bite to eat.
Castlewood State Park – Ballwin, MO
Like Meramec State Park, Castlewood is also located on the Meramec River. In spite of this similarity, the scenery at Castlewood is vastly different. Boaters can use the concrete boat ramps to ‘set in’ for a day enjoying time on their canoes, kayaks, and Jon Boats. Those with larger boats will have to use Route 66 Park to access the river. Fortunately, that’s only a short trip away. Castlewood Park is also a popular swimming destination. Many families choose to spend their day playing on the beach and splashing in the river. The fishing options at Castlewood are amazing. Anglers can expect to catch some amazing fish, including:
- Channel Catfish
- Flathead Catfish
The trails at Castlewood can be enjoyed on foot or on horseback. This West St. Louis County park also includes picnic areas, playgrounds, and some amazing photo opportunities.
Remember, it doesn’t take a trip across the state or a weekend commitment to enjoy a few of Missouri’s great water attractions. Most St. Louis residents can get to any of these locations in less than an hour, making each location perfect for a day trip.