Missouri state park beaches open for the season on Friday, May 28.

Missouri State Parks offers 18 designated swimming beaches to cool off and enjoy time with family and friends during the 2021 recreational season, according to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

The department collects water samples from all designated beaches in the state park system weekly during the recreational season. Water sample results can help visitors decide whether a particular beach is suitable for swimming, based on bacteria levels.

The water quality data and state park beach status information is posted weekly on the department’s websites dnr.mo.gov/asp/beaches, mostateparks.com as well as posted at each designated swimming beach location. Visitors to Missouri State Parks are able to sign up to receive email or text notifications about the state park beach status by visiting the department’s website at dnr.mo.gov/asp/beaches.

Natural, uncontrolled bodies of water such as streams, lakes, and ponds, all have naturally occurring bacteria at certain levels and some may contain pollutants. However, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services indicates that if you practice healthy swimming habits, you can enjoy natural bodies of water and reduce the potential for becoming ill.

Choose swimming areas carefully by paying attention to signage; avoid swimming or playing in water that is stagnant or smells unpleasant; avoid swimming in natural waters after a heavy rain; do not swim or play in waters near sewer pipes, discharge pipes or storm drain outlets; do not swim in water that is frequented by livestock or other land animals; and do not swim in areas containing a large number of dead fish or other dead animals.

For more information on swimming in natural water areas, visit health.mo.gov/safety/recreationalwater/naturalwaterareas.php.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.