Heartland Weekend Getaway: Wappapello Lake

It's a staycation destination.

It's heating up and the lake is calling.

This Heartland Weekend, you can take a one-tank road trip to Wappapello Lake in southeast Missouri.

With 44,000 acres of land and water combined, 180 miles of shoreline, you can literally spend all weekend here.

Bill Emerson Memorial Visitor Center

Regular visitors say you must start your adventure to Wappapello Lake at the Bill Emerson Memorial Visitors center. Renovations to the center make this a great spot to learn about one of the biggest manmade lakes owned by the Army Corp of Engineers. The exhibit room features awesome hands-on activities. Then take a stroll along a walking trail that provides a perfect view of the Auxiliary Spillway.


Tucked within the Ozark foothills, Wappappello Lake is a fisherman’s paradise. Largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, you can reel it all in here. Cast your line off the side of a boat or try your luck along the bank. There is ample access for fishers of all kinds so you can spend less time getting to the fish and more time catching them.

CLICK HERE for the fishing report on Wappapello Lake.


Go for a dip or boat to a secluded cove!

With 8,400 acres of water, Wappapello Lake is perfect for all sorts of water sports.

Three beaches offer swimmers sunshine with plenty of shade only a few yards away on the shore. Bring the whole family for an afternoon of fun to Peoples Creek, Redman Creek, and Rockwood Point Recreation Areas.


There’s a chance you might not want to leave Wappapello Lake, so put up a tent or park your camper, and spend the night.

Here you’ll find more than 10 campgrounds, some of which are available all year round.

At Wappepello Lake there are both traditional and primitive camping areas. Many include electrical hookups, showers, restrooms, grills, tables, drinking water, and boat mooring areas.

You can even camp on an island! Wappapello Lake offers camping on two large islands in the southern portion of the lake.

To reserve your camping spot CLICK HERE.

Cool off with a sweet treat

Locals say no trip to the lake is complete without a sweet treat at Carolina’s.

“If somebody tells me that they’re coming up here I will wholeheartedly recommend this place. I tell them its one of the places you absolutely have to go here,” Holden Edgar said.

Here it’s all about the ice cream!

Edgar says he loves the mint chocolate chip shake.

The family atmosphere is pretty sweet, too.

Owner  Shannon Seward says, “It’s scooped with love.”

Special Events at Wappapello Lake:

  • May 18: Kids to Park Day
  • May 25: Music in the Park Day
  • June 1: Jack Miller Memorial Kids Fun Day
  • June 28: 4th Annual Movie in the Park
  • June 29: Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks
  • July 6: Ranger Willie's Wet and Wild Water Fest
  • August 17: Annual Duck Blind Drawing
  • August 30: Annual Labor Day Weekend 25 Mile Community Yard Sale
  • September 14: WOODS Event
  • September 21-22: 28th Annual Old Greenville Days
  • November 29 - December 29: 27th Annual Festival of Lights Auto Tour


"Come out to Wappapello Lake, it's one of southeast Missouri's best-kept secrets," Andrew Jefferson, natural resources specialist and park ranger with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.