The lakes in Branson MO were the star attraction of the area long before Branson became known as a center for country music shows. Even today, these pristine lakes are a prime draw for tourists in search of outdoor fun and adventure and amazing fishing. Table Rock Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, and Lake Taneycomo are three beautiful reservoirs nestled among the Ozark Mountains. Their hundreds of miles of meandering shoreline means there are plenty of places to relax by the beach, swim, canoe, or go fishing or camping, all with the breathtaking vista of the Ozarks in the background.
Originally, the area around Branson held the White River Rapids, but extensive damming projects transformed the White River Basin into three unique outdoor recreational areas and created the three lakes in Branson MO, Table Rock Lake, Bull Shoals Lake, and Lake Taneycomo. Of the three, Table Rock Lake is the largest, with more than 52,000 acres of water and more than 800 miles of shoreline. It is also known as one of the best spots in the country for bass fishing. Visitors can also cruise the lake on the Branson Belle, a traditional paddle-boat that provides a lunch or dinner cruise along with live music and entertainment.
Bull Shoals Lake is the second-largest of the lakes in Branson MO with upwards of 45,000 acres of water and stretches into Arkansas as well as Missouri. It is the largest lake in Arkansas, and its miles of beautiful shoreline are dotted with campsites and other recreational areas. Bull Shoals Lake is also a famous freshwater fishing destination, and it is particularly renowned for its rainbow and brown trout. The Bull Shoals-White River State Park has over a hundred campsites by the river, ranging from basic tent sites to RV hookups. You can also rent boats, canoes and kayaks at the marina, and learn more about the area at the interpretation center. Some excellent hiking trails allow you to explore the beautiful wooded shores of the lake. Bull Shoals Lake is the last reservoir on the circuit of lakes, before the water of the White River enters the Mississippi.
Taneycomo Lake is an artificial reservoir located under Table Rock Dam. Like Bull Shoals Lake, the cold waters of Lake Taneycomo make it a perfect habitat for trout, with large numbers of rainbow and brown trout caught there every year. Fishing, boating and water-skiing are popular activities, and the water can often be warm enough for swimming. It is convenient to access Lake Taneycomo from downtown Branson, as the waterfront of Branson Landing offers beautiful views of the lake as well as a dock for boat cruises. You can also fish right from one of the fishing docks provided by the City of Branson. Branson campground allows you to stay right on the shores of the lake, with access to the shops, restaurants, and musical attractions of the downtown area. Hiking around the lake area is also a great way to explore the beauty of the Ozarks. Be aware that when Table Rock Dam is releasing water into Lake Taneycomo, the current can be very strong, and it is not safe to be out in many portions of the lake. Be sure to check the local warnings and rules before heading out on the lake.