It’s the Midwest’s playground, drawing millions of visitors every year for an always-exciting, busy, boating season: Lake of the Ozarks is “Vacationland” for young and old.

The busiest weekends at the Lake tend to be Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, and that’s no surprise. People build in their Lake vacation where they already have an extra day off, taking either the entire week before or after the holiday, or sometimes just enjoying an extra day of boating and Lake fun provided by the long weekend.

Those are busy weekends at the Lake: so busy, in fact, that the water can get rather choppy in the peak of the afternoon on some of the busiest parts of the water. In fact, while summertime weekdays can be relatively calm, most weekends in June and July see the Lake at the peak of its activity. It’s a blast: businesses are making hay while the sun shines, and with more than 100 linear miles across multiple channels, there are plenty of places to go, whether you’re looking to be in the middle of the action or for a quiet cove to relax in.

But the Lake of the Ozarks’ best-kept secret is an entire month where the water is warm, the skies are clear, and the boating traffic nearly vanishes: September.

A host of factors converge to make September the absolute best time to vacation at Lake of the Ozarks:


1. Fewer people are here.

School has started again, so families are suddenly tied-up with the flurry of activities brought on by the school year. By the third week of August, traffic on the roads and the water is down, noticeably. Weekends are still busy, thanks to Shootout and Labor Day… but after that, even the weekends can be pretty calm.


2. The college crowd is gone. 

College activities are gearing up too, so the Lake—a popular spot for Midwest college students—is almost instantly devoid of all college students. That means vacation homes, boat rentals, and restaurant space are more widely available.


3. The water is the perfect temperature.

Typically the low-80s this time of year, the Lake is at the perfect temperature for watersports, coving out, and swimming off the dock. Contrast that with water temps that can often be below 70 degrees on Memorial Day weekend!


4. The weather is ideal.

The mean air temperature at the Lake in September is 71 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. That’s 6 degrees cooler than August, which makes for more beautiful days on the Lake, and fewer sweltering ones.


5. Most everything is still open.

On-water places generally stay open until at least the end of September. That means you can still eat wherever you want, and enjoy the many open-air decks and beaches at your favorite lakefront hotspots.


You can’t make too many trips to the Lake, so your September vacation needn’t replace your May… June… July… and August ones. It’s just a great way to cap a summer of unwinding at the most popular recreational Lake in the nation.


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