Kansas — With outdoor recreation and weekend trips to the lake kicking off, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made a short list of “Hidden Heartland Hotspots.”
The idea behind the list is to give folks looking for to try something new an idea for their weekend vacation.
Hidden Heartland Hotspots to find around USACE lakes this summer:
- Harlan County Lake, Nebraska – Rent a tube from Patterson Harbor Marina or bring your own, and tube the Republican River. Make sure to file a float plan!
- Kanopolis Lake, Kansas – Take a step into another world with a hike into Horsethief Canyon at Kanopolis State Park, and you may think you’re not in Kansas anymore! Drink water – if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated!
- Perry Lake, Kansas – Backpack the award-winning Perry Lake Trail and enjoy one of the few “backcountry” camping opportunities in Kansas. Your cell phone is not a survival kit – pack a real first aid kit!
- Clinton Lake, Kansas – Catch the coffee truck at Clinton Lake Marina and enjoy a lake view with your brew. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents… stick to coffee (and water)!
- Harry S. Truman Lake, Missouri – Take a step back into the pioneer history of the Ozarks at the Harry S. Truman Visitor Center and Kaysinger Bluff Heritage Area. Always buckle up when headed out on a road trip!
- Tuttle Creek Lake, Kansas – Try the hottest trend in boating: stand-up paddle boarding with a rental at Tuttle Creek State Park River Pond area. Lifejackets are required by law onboard Stand-Up Paddleboards!
- Hillsdale Lake, Kansas – Practice your marksmanship at the Hillsdale Shooting Range. Range Safety Officers supervise safe shooting at State Park ranges – follow their direction!
- Stockton Lake, Missouri – Grab your hiking boots, mountain bike, reins, or fishing rod and hit the Stockton Trails Initiative Coalition trails leading to a variety of outdoor pursuits. Practice trail right of way (bikes yield to hikers, and everyone yields to horses).
- Rathbun Lake, Iowa – Normally we don’t encourage jumping into the lake, but we’ll make an exception for the Lake Aquapark at Honey Creek Resort. Know before you leap – cliff jumping results in serious injuries and deaths every year!
- Melvern Lake, Kansas – Why settle for archery shooting on a boring, flat range, when you can head into the woods on the Ike’s Archery Trail at Eisenhower State Park. Know your target!
- Pomona Lake, Kansas – Challenge yourself with uphill, downhill, and hidden targets on the 18-hole Wolf Creek Disk Golf Course. If you find yourself in brushy areas hunting down discs, protect yourself against tick borne illness by using repellent and regularly checking for hitchhikers!
- Milford Lake, Kansas – Prairie Dogs, and Eagles, and Walleye – oh my! You see and enjoy all these animals and learn about Kansas natural history at Milford nature center and fish hatchery. Give wildlife its space – never approach or feed them (including those cute campground chipmunks).
- Pomme de Terre Lake, Missouri – Take a break and some pictures, Outlet Park is a picturesque setting for fishing, canoeing, hiking and wildlife viewing. Always wear a life jacket when on, in or near the water!
- Smithville, Missouri – Grab the family and head to the Visitor Center for the “Dinosaur Diggers” program, Saturday, May 28 at 1:00 p.m. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day.
- Longview Lake, Missouri – Hit the links at the Fred Arbanas Golf Course offering 18 and 9-hole courses, driving range, putting and chipping greens. If you’re playing hard in the heat, remember to pace yourself and drink water to prevent heat illness.
- Blue Springs Lake, Missouri – Arguably some of the best fishing in the Kansas City metro area, Blue Springs Lake is a great place to take kids or anyone fishing! Never buy a life jacket for a child to grow into – a snug fit is a proper fit.
- Wilson Lake, Kansas – One of the best (the best?) mountain bike trails in the heartland, Switchback Mountain Bike Trail, entertains trekkers with technical climbs, sharp drops, and butter-smooth chutes. Ride within your skill level and bring a buddy!
- Long Branch Lake, Missouri – Truly get away from it all with a paddle or hike-in campsite on the Bee Trace Trail in Long Branch State Park. Watch weather forecasts and plan ahead to stay safe and comfortable!