As a teenager living in a small town, it was easy to take all the wonderful things about living in the country for granted. Like everyone else on the planet, sometimes I catch myself only seeing the negative in things. When I do catch myself with stinking thinking, I feel ashamed. I am so fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and I barely realize it. While there are not as many concerts or art galleries to visit here, there are clear blue skies, unpolluted clear streams, nice and caring people, beautiful forests and trails, wildlife… to take their place—spring-fed streams being one of my faves.
So many people are just plain unaware of these natural playgrounds that are rampant in Southeast Missouri.
All the wonderful parks and rivers that surround us—the postcard world in which I live. The 573 is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, especially when it comes to the awesome, crystal clear spring fed water rushing all around us. Places like Pink Rock, Sam A. Baker, Johnson Shut-Ins, the Current River and countless others, all hosting cool spring fed water waiting for you to play in on a hot summer's day. So many people are just plain unaware of these natural playgrounds that are rampant in Southeast Missouri.
Photo shoot from Pink Rock, Castor River Shut-ins with Izzy Koehler—our model.
What's not to love about cool, clear water?
The river bottom is all rock—you can't even stir up the water.
Our clear, spring fed water has no smell!
Pink Rock is located near Fredericktown. How is it possible to have so many massive clear water springs all free to visit? Missouri knows how to give the best to it's residents.
Pink Rock has multiple natural water slides from the slippery rocks that have been smoothed over the centuries by the rushing water.
I find it way more enjoyable at the nearest swimming spot than to be out shopping at the mall. I love the way the summer air, mixed with the smell of sunscreen and freshwater, accompany the feeling of cool water on my skin. The sounds of the insects and birds chirping, combined with the noise of rushing water have a better sound than any concert could produce, and jumping off a rock or rope swing into a lake makes my stomach flip just as much as going on a rollercoaster. Looking down and seeing the little freshwater fish swim around my feet makes me realize how enjoyable being out in the water is and how lucky I truly am.
The beauty of Pink Rock is a feast for your eyes. Remember to bring a trash bag and haul out just as you came.
Thanks again to our model Izzy.
Here's a few more awesome swimming holes to check out here in the 573.
Most people’s favorite swimming hole. Lots of activity. Clear water, float trips and lots of partying. The Black River below Lesterville runs about 14.3 miles to Reynolds County Highway K bridge east of Redford and north of Clearwater Lake.
ST. FRANCOIS STATE PARK
Killer swimming. High bluffs and clear water. Plenty of privacy. Hwy 67 just north of Bonne Terre.
SAM A. BAKER STATE PARK
Unspoiled natural landscape. Crystal clear and cool waters of the St. Francois River and Big Creek. One of our favorites. It’s all there. You can get inner tubes at the Park Store. And it’s a great place to try snorkeling.
YMCA TROUT LODGE
Rope swing, beaches, large lake and anything else a family would want in a place to swim. Located in Potosi.
BRIDGE OVER SALINE CREEK
Highway N off 55 north of Perryville. Find the old bridge at Minnith. Clear water and friendly people. Never very crowded.
From Fredericktown take 72 towards Jackson, turn left on 51, turn right on KK and right on 200. There are 2 bridges over the White Water Creek in that area and it's a great place for first time river kayakers to "cut their teeth." Have fun!
The Shut-Ins are back. Nature’s waterpark. One of the best. Located off Hwy 21 near Ironton.
ST. JOE STATE PARK
Two large lakes, one with sand beach. The water’s clean and cool. It’s a state park so you have to follow the rules.
Located in the Amidon Memorial Conservation Area at Castor River Shut-Ins. Super cool place among the large pink granite stones. Fredericktown.
A beautiful ice cold blue plunge, Ally Spring flows into Jack's Fork near Emminence. With camping sites near by, and a place to rent tubes and kayaks for float trips, this is a great place to spend a few days out on the river!
The 573 Magazine does not advise anyone to swim without a lifeguard on hand. Be careful my friends.
COUNCIL BLUFF RECREATION AREA
Take a dip at the 54,000 square foot Chapel Hill Beach. A concession stand and play area are available. Located on Rte. DD in Belgrade.
SUTTON BLUFF RECREATION AREA
Located near Centerville on the Black River. The natural gravel beach is perfect for wading and swimming.
ROCKY FALLS SHUT-IN
Hailed as one of the Ozark’s best-kept secrets, Rocky Falls clear water streams down 40 feet of rock to a natural pool perfect for swimming. Highway NN, nine miles southeast of Eminence.
Go to Jack’s Fork River and jump into crystal clear water. Northeast of Mountain View, Missouri, Hwy 60 to OO Hwy.
OLD BRIDGE AT OLD APPLETON
A very popular swimming spot. Located on Main Street in Old Appleton over Apple Creek. Rope swing and many college students.
MARBLE CREEK RECREATION AREA
Swim in the old mill pool at Marble Creek within the St. Francis Mountains. Located in Arcadia Valley south on 21 then east on Hwy E.
Located at Jack’s Fork on the Current River this clear-water spring emerges from a cave opening.
WASHINGTON STATE PARK
Famous for the petroglyphs, Washington State Park is also an awesome place to cool off in the Big River. Located in De Soto off of Hwy 21.
While we might not be as appreciative as we should be about living in the 573, if you stop to look around, you will be very pleased.
SO GET OUT THERE!
words z. smugala pics t. smugala