By Bill Clevlen
It’s that time of the year when travelers seem to crave water in some form as part of their road trip plans. Whether that’s a room with a view of the ocean, a rental house on a lake, or perhaps even a cruise on a river. Missouri may not have the ocean views, but we certainly have lakes and rivers. And throughout the state, you’ll find a variety of offerings for trips with family and friends or a unique business experience for meetings or special events. Here are a few examples of the fun you can have on the water in Missouri this Summer.
One of the latest attractions to hit St. Charles County is the Miss Augusta yacht, which offers daytime public excursions as well as private events. Miss Augusta is a 105’ Skipperliner yacht with three levels – two climate-controlled, enclosed salons and an open-air sundeck. It can hold 149 passengers. There are two full-service bars featuring wines from the Hoffmann Family of Companies wineries: Augusta Winery, Balducci Vineyards, Montelle Winery, and Mount Pleasant Estates. An on-board culinary team prepares all the food. For events, the yacht includes a state-of-the-art sound system with two flat screens in each of the salons that can be used for presentations. Guests can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere, delicious food and beverages, and beautiful scenery as they cruise on the Missouri River. “We welcome any kind of event,” says Molly Dempsey, the Marketing Director for Miss Augusta. “We handle weddings, corporate gatherings, birthday parties, reunions, retreats – you name it!” And the most common comment from recent guests who have enjoyed the experience thus far? Dempsey says: “Everyone always comments on how beautiful the yacht is. The cruising is very smooth, and the sightseeing is exceptional. Our guests enjoy our unique venue and appreciate this new amenity to St. Charles County and the region.”
Lake of The Ozarks
There are a lot of opportunities to get out on the water while visiting the Lake of The Ozarks. Celebration Cruises are one of the most notable water attractions in the area, with daily cruises (except for Mondays) starting at noon. The 1.5-hour excursion offers narration on the Bagnell Dam and the history of the Lake of the Ozarks. Lunch is also offered for interested guests that order meals ahead of time. You can also enjoy a sunset dinner cruise or a special Saturday night “candlelight dinner” cruise with a more upscale menu offering. The cruises can operate in any type of weather as the yachts are climate-controlled with interior cabins. Guests will enjoy views of the lake as well as the beautiful homes and other scenery along the shore.
If you’re looking to get out on the water on your own, Margaritaville Resort offers several options out of their “Port of Indecision” marina. You can rent pontoon boats or paddle boats by the hour as well as waverunners, paddleboards, and innertubes.
How about a sunset view on the water from under the Gateway Arch or during the 4th of July fireworks? The Riverboat Cruises in downtown St. Louis offer daytime tours for travelers looking to learn about life on the Mississippi or special themed excursions like a blues cruise or weekend brunch. For special events, like receptions, weddings, or a company party – there are options with buffet meals, bar service, and entertainment. Up to 220 guests can fit aboard the Tom Sawyer or Becky Thatcher paddlewheel boats for 2-hour cruises. Charter rentals start at $2,200. For a standard ride on the boat, guests can save money by booking their tram tickets to ride to the top of the Gateway Arch.
About two hours up the Mississippi River from St. Louis, the Mark Twain Riverboat has been giving guided tours out of Hannibal for years. They offer two daily cruises – a narrated sightseeing cruise as well as a dinner cruise. The dinner cruise includes live music and a dance floor!
Bill Clevlen is a contributing writer from St. Louis.