Exploring Smithville Lake Beach: The Perfect Summer Destination in Kansas City

Summer is here, and there’s no better way to beat the heat than a trip to the beach. But did you know that Kansas City has its very own hidden gem for beachgoers? Smithville Lake Beach, a perfect blend of relaxation, adventure, and fun for the entire family, awaits you. So, why not pack your sunscreen and head out to explore the refreshing waters of Camp Branch and Little Platte Beaches?

In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the unique features and amenities of Smithville Lake Beach, the importance of staying safe during your visit, and the exciting activities and attractions that Smithville Lake has to offer. Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Discover Smithville Lake Beaches, Camp Branch and Little Platte, with a variety of amenities for the perfect summer destination.
  • Stay informed of swim advisories, water temperature and lifeguard presence to ensure safety when engaging in beach activities.
  • Enjoy boating adventures, fishing opportunities or hiking trails while being managed by the Clay County Parks Department. Be aware of hours/fees & contact information before visiting.

Discovering Smithville Lake Beaches: Camp Branch and Little Platte

Smithville Lake, located just north of Kansas City, is home to two public swim beaches – Camp Branch Beach and Little Platte Beach. These popular summer destinations are managed by the Clay County Parks Department and offer a variety of amenities for visitors, such as restrooms, changing areas, picnic spots, and life vests for purchase.

Each beach has its own distinctive charm, allowing you to choose the experience that best suits your preferences. Here’s a glimpse of the unique features of Camp Branch and Little Platte Beaches.

Camp Branch Beach

Nestled on the east side of the lake within Camp Branch Park, Camp Branch Beach is both family-friendly and easily accessible. Just across the parking lot from the Main Park Office, Camp Branch Marina, and Boat Launch, the beach offers a range of amenities, including:

  • Showers
  • Changing rooms
  • Restrooms
  • Drinking fountain

For those staying at Camp Branch Campground, a scenic walk through the Bonebender Trail, also known as the Platte Trail, will lead you directly to the beach. With its convenient location and facilities, Camp Branch Beach is a popular choice for a fun-filled day at the lake.

Little Platte Beach

If you’re seeking a more secluded experience, Little Platte Beach is the perfect spot for you. The beach is situated on the west side of the lake in Little Platte Park. It can be reached by taking 180th Street. Offering a serene atmosphere, it’s an ideal place to unwind and cool off during a hot summer day.

Similar to Camp Branch Beach, Little Platte Beach provides essential amenities for visitors, ensuring a comfortable and hassle-free visit. So whether you prefer the lively atmosphere of Camp Branch or the tranquility of Little Platte, Smithville Lake Beaches cater to every beach lover’s desires.

Staying Safe at Smithville Lake Beaches

Safety should always be a top priority when visiting any beach, and Smithville Lake Beaches are no exception. Staying informed about swim advisories, water temperature, and lifeguard presence can help ensure a safe and enjoyable visit for you and your loved ones.

It’s worth familiarizing yourself with key safety aspects when visiting Camp Branch and Little Platte Beaches.

Swim Advisory Information

Swim advisories are issued when water quality tests indicate that the water may be unsuitable for swimming. Elevated levels of E. coli, for example, can trigger a swim advisory at Smithville Lake Beaches.

Obeying the swim advisory and avoiding swimming in affected areas is vital for your safety and well-being. Always stay up to date with the latest swim advisory information to make informed decisions about your beach activities.

Water Temperature

Water temperature plays a significant role in ensuring a comfortable and safe swim. At Smithville Lake Beaches, the water temperature is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. When the water is too cold, your body must work harder to maintain its temperature, leading to exhaustion and an increased risk of hypothermia.

Taking into account the water temperature, can guide your swimming activities and ensure a safe experience at the lake.

Lifeguard Presence

Bear in mind that there is no lifeguard presence at Smithville Lake Beaches. This means that you and your loved ones should take extra precautions while swimming, such as wearing life jackets when boating and closely monitoring children near the water.

Remember, safety always comes first, and taking the necessary precautions can help ensure a fun and incident-free day at the beach.

A Day at Smithville Lake: Activities and Attractions

Smithville Lake offers a variety of activities for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers, including:

  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Golfing
  • Camping
  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Playing sports

With its beautiful beaches and versatile options, there’s something for everyone at this destination.

Whether you’re a nature lover or an adrenaline junkie, Smithville Lake caters to all. Here are some activities and attractions you can relish during your visit.

Boating Adventures

Smithville Lake is a boater’s paradise, offering opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and motor boating. If you don’t have your own boat, worry not. The Camp Branch Marina is located at Camp Branch. Store provides fishing boat and pontoon boat rentals, while Northland Outdoor Adventures offers kayaks, tandem kayaks, and stand-up paddleboard rentals.

For those with their own vessel, Smithville Lake permits launching personal boats, allowing you to embark on your own boating adventure. With exceptional prospects for water skiing and other aquatic activities, a day on the lake is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

Fishing Opportunities

Anglers, rejoice! Smithville Lake boasts a wealth of fishing opportunities, with species like:

  • walleye
  • catfish
  • muskie
  • white bass
  • bluegill
  • other panfish

The lake. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, the lake offers an exciting and rewarding fishing experience.

Remember, the Clay County Parks Department enforces fishing regulations, which necessitates having a valid fishing license and compliance with all state and local regulations. Don’t forget to pack your own fishing equipment, such as rods, reels, lures, and bait, to make the most of your fishing adventure.

Hiking Trails and Wildlife Encounters

For those who prefer land-based activities, Smithville Lake boasts an impressive selection of hiking trails. Here are some options:

  • 24 miles of 10-foot-wide asphalt walking/biking trails
  • 37 miles of 10-foot-wide asphalt walking/biking trails
  • 26 miles of horse/primitive hiking trails on the southeast side of the lake

There’s a trail for everyone, regardless of skill level.

As you traverse the scenic terrain, keep an eye out for the various wildlife that call Smithville Lake home. Deer, wild turkeys, and a diverse array of bird species can be observed along the trails. So, lace up your hiking boots and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at Smithville Lake.

Clay County Parks Department: Managing Smithville Lake Beaches

The Clay County Parks Department plays a vital role in ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all visitors to Smithville Lake Beaches. They manage over 6,000 acres of parks, including trails, golf courses, and historic sites, and are responsible for organizing scheduling, work activities, providing assistance to the public, and collecting fees from park visitors.

Through diligent maintenance of the beaches and implementation of safety measures, the Clay County Parks Department fosters a welcoming and secure environment for all.

Planning Your Visit: Hours, Fees, and Contact Information

In preparation for your visit to Smithville Lake Beaches, be mindful of the following:

  • Hours of operation: Beaches will be available for visitors from 8:30 a.m. May 1st. Closing time will be sunset everyday.
  • Fees: There may be fees associated with accessing the beaches. Please check the official website or contact the park for more information.
  • Contact information: For any inquiries or additional information, you can reach out to the park authorities through the provided contact details.

While there is no charge for visiting the beaches, it’s always a good idea to check for any updates or changes before embarking on your trip. For further information or assistance, you can contact the Clay County Parks Department at 816-407-3400.

Nearby Alternatives: Other Beaches in the Kansas City Area

If you’re interested in exploring other beaches in the Kansas City area, there are several options available for a variety of summer experiences. Some popular options include:

  • Bloomington Beach at Clinton Lake: a public beach in Lawrence managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Blue Springs Lake Swim Beach
  • Longview Lake Beach
  • Shawnee Mission Park Beach

Each beach offers unique amenities and attractions.

Exploring these nearby alternatives broadens your summer beach adventures, introducing you to the diverse offerings of the Kansas City area. So why not add a few more beach destinations to your summer bucket list and create unforgettable memories?


Smithville Lake Beaches, with their unique features and amenities, offer a perfect summer destination for beach lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Whether you prefer the family-friendly atmosphere of Camp Branch Beach or the secluded charm of Little Platte Beach, there’s something for everyone at Smithville Lake. Moreover, with a wide array of activities and attractions, such as boating, fishing, and hiking, your visit is bound to be an unforgettable experience.

So pack your sunscreen, grab your swim gear, and head out to Smithville Lake Beaches for a summer adventure like no other. Dive into the refreshing waters, explore the beautiful surroundings, and create lifelong memories with friends and family. Happy beaching!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Smithville Lake have a beach?

Yes, Smithville Lake has two beaches available for public swimming from May 1st to September – Little Platte Beach and Camp Branch Beach.

Both beaches offer a variety of amenities, including lifeguards, restrooms, and picnic areas. Visitors can also rent kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards.

Is it recommended to swim at Smithville Lake?

Yes, many people from locals to tourists come to enjoy the Smithville Lake waters. The only time it becomes an issue is in rare cases where E. coli levels are elevated due to heavy rains. To ensure the water is safe, you can find out more information at the Clay County website.

Is Smithville Lake okay to swim in?

Smithville Lake has been approved for whole body contact by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, making it suitable for swimming.

Do you have to pay to get into Smithville Lake?

Yes, you have to pay to get into Smithville Lake, with park passes starting at $5 per car.

What are the two public swim beaches at Smithville Lake?

Smithville Lake offers two public swim beaches, Camp Branch Beach and Little Platte Beach.