Three Pristine Lakes In 12 Hours (or Less)

Join the Explore Branson team as they venture out on an action-packed day exploring the three pristine lakes located within our beautiful Ozark Mountains, with an ambitious goal of boating on all three within 12 hours or less!


Have you ever wanted to drop all your plans and set out on a spontaneous trip filled with adventure and excitement? Do you like being in the great outdoors, surrounded by nature? This is exactly what the Explore Branson team has in store for the day. Not only are we visiting Lake Taneycomo, Bull Shoals Lake, and Table Rock Lake, we will be attempting to boat on all three within 12 hours or less. You read that right; three pristine lakes. Let’s get started!


First Stop: Upper Lake Taneycomo, Lilleys’ Landing Resort And Marina

Time of Arrival: 6:00 A.M.


The clock starts at 6:00 a.m. as we gather our boating supplies for the day and venture out to Lilleys’ Landing Marina, located on Lake Taneycomo. The team has come fully prepared; our bags are packed with swimsuits, sunscreen, beach towels, and, most importantly, lots of snacks. Lilleys’ Landing is only ten minutes away from the heart of Branson, but the drive makes it feel like you have been transported into a world engulfed in nature. As we park our car at 6:45 a.m., the dense fog stretches out over rolling hills and settles on top of the brisk Lake Taneycomo water. Lilleys’ Landing Resort and Fly & Tackle Shop is perched on top of a hillside, with the dock located directly below. In the shop, we are warmly welcomed by the staff of Lilleys’ Landing. The massive selection of fly, tackle, and other merchandise is something you will not want to miss. If you are looking for a peaceful resort filled with nature’s beauty, this is your stop.


Second Stop: Trout Fishing, Captain Parker at Maloney’s Guide Service

Time of Arrival: 7:05 A.M.


After a tour of the marina store and fly/tackle shop, we are meeting up with our fishing guide. Captain Parker, with Maloney’s Guide Service, is a native of the area and has turned his passion for the lakes into his livelihood. Parker works with anglers of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. You can expect to enjoy a beautiful boat ride along the Taneycomo channel, as well as casting a line out for rainbow and brown trout. We slowly idle out into the middle of the channel and make our way towards the "narrows" in the trophy area. Although there are dams at both ends which qualifies this body of water as a lake, Taneycomo resembles a river with its slender passages, coining the term "narrows." The surface water temperature this morning is 56 degrees, making it a brisk boat ride to our fishing spot. Taneycomo is covered by a cloud of fog, following us with every bend of the channel. After stopping shortly after Fall Creek Marina, Captain Parker lowers the trolling motor and begins tying feather jigs onto the fishing line. The current slowly pushes us back upriver and allows for our lines to slide across the bottom of the riverbed. Within minutes, we caught a 19-inch rainbow trout! This beautiful fish is thickly speckled with black spots and accented with a bright pink longitudinal stripe. After another few casts and time floating with the channel, we secured a 21-inch rainbow trout, which classifies as a trophy fish on Lake Taneycomo. After about an hour and a half on the water, we call this a successful trip. We are clocking in at 8:37AM as Captain Parker drops us back off at the dock, right on time!


Third Stop: Clocker’s Cafe, Downtown Branson

Time of Arrival: 9:02 A.M.


The excitement is high as we are walking off Lilleys’ Landing dock and traveling onto our next destination. Along our thirty-minute drive, we are making a stop at Clocker’s Cafe in Historic Downtown Branson. This iconic breakfast spot is a must-see during our lakes day. As we walked down the street, businesses began to open their doors and welcome the day’s customers. To our surprise, we are seated immediately and have orders taken in no time. This must be our lucky day, as Clocker’s is always bustling with hungry customers. The setting inside the restaurant is eclectic, filled with timeless clocks and vintage memorabilia. Listed below are our meal orders, which we highly recommend:

  • The Haystack: ½ a biscuit, a sausage patty, ½ an order of hash browns, and an egg, all smothered with sausage gravy
  • Eggs Benedict: Thick sliced, old-fashioned Canadian bacon stacked on a toasted English muffin and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, served with hash browns
  • The Omelette Station: 3 large farm fresh eggs with bacon, ham, and provolone cheese, served with hash browns


Fourth Stop: Bull Shoals Lake, K Dock Marina

Time of Arrival: 10:45 A.M.


One pristine lake down, two to go. Next up: Bull Shoals Lake. We are heading to K Dock Marina in Kirbyville, Missouri. With each mile farther from Branson, there are more beautiful landscapes that surround you. The temperature is heating up and we are ready for a midday boat rental. We park our car and immediately jump out to see the gorgeous view overlooking Bull Shoals Lake. As far as we could see, the water was completely still and there was not a breath of wind. Watersport enthusiasts: this might be your new yearly vacation spot. When venturing onto Bull Shoals, you will be able to find glassy water any day, at any time. “Even at noon on a warm Saturday in July,” you ask? Absolutely! Being just 10 miles outside of Branson, you would never expect this massive lake to have such crystal-clear waters and untouched shorelines.

We step onto K Dock Marina and are immediately welcomed by the owners, Scott and Judi. They have owned K Dock for 10 years and have a true passion for the water and the beautiful Bull Shoals. Ask for a tour of the famous Floating RV, exclusively at K Dock Marina! This bright teal beauty sits on a floating platform and still has a fully functional interior, equipped with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. It is an absolute must-see if you visit Bull Shoals Lake. We jump on a rental boat and take off toward the wider portion of the lake. Although our trip is taking place while the water level was normal, this is not always the case for Bull Shoals. Keep in mind that the lake level can fluctuate between 630 and 690 feet. A 60-foot increase can make a significant difference in campsite availability, rental boat capacity, and marina hours. If you are booking a trip here, make sure to call ahead to see what the conditions are. After a few hours of catching some rays and enjoying a peaceful boat ride, we decided to head back into the marina. We are clocking in at 2:30 p.m. and will be on the road soon to our final pristine lake, Table Rock.


Fifth Stop: Table Rock Lake, State Park Marina

Time of Arrival: 3:15 P.M.

table rock lake shot

After a gorgeous drive from Bull Shoals toward Table Rock, we can bask in the beauty that the Ozark Mountains have to offer. As we park our cars at State Park Marina, we are clocking in at 3:15 p.m.. It’s official, we made it to all three pristine lakes in a little over nine hours! But we are not stopping just yet. Table Rock Lake is like our stomping grounds, with most of the Explore Branson team growing up around this water. Our last quest of the day is to water ski. Our day cannot be complete without a watersport, right? There is a quiet cove across from the marina, near Point 2, so we take a ski boat out and cross the channel. Table Rock is a busy lake in the summer, a sharp contrast to the peaceful isolation we found on Bull Shoals Lake. We enter the cove as I throw on a life jacket and step into my slalom ski, anxious to get out there. The water is amazing, with hardly anyone in the cove around us. After skiing until it felt like our arms were going to fall off, we decided to end the night watching a beautiful sunset with a pizza from one of our favorite spots. We are clocking in at 5:30 p.m. and the team is ready for our day to be complete.


Sixth Stop: Café Bridges, State Park Marina

Time of Arrival: 5:59 P.M.

Café Bridges, State Park Marina

State Park Marina is bustling with boat traffic and rental boat customers coming off the water after a long day of fun. We park the ski boat and jump onto their beautifully maintained dock. We eagerly check out the marina’s store, a shopper’s paradise, before popping into Café Bridges for delicious pizza and wings. Café Bridges also offers sandwiches and an excellent coffee bar. Here are our orders for the day:

  • Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza
  • Veggie Overload Pizza
  • Garlic Parmesan Boneless Wings
  • Vanilla Iced Latte X4


Seventh Stop: Home

Time of Arrival: 7:30 P.M.


As our adventurous day of exploring the three pristine lakes comes to an end, the Explore Branson team is filled with a sense of accomplishment and pride. We’re happy our mission was successful, and we hope we’ve inspired others to dig into their outdoor enthusiast side and explore the beautiful Ozarks here in Branson!


If you are looking to follow this itinerary when planning your next adventurous trip to the Ozarks, we recommend spending at least two days at each pristine lake. This gives you time to explore new areas, familiarize yourself with each lake, visit restaurants, and stop at the marinas on the water.


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