Top Lakeside Parks In St. Louis

June 7, 2014 7:00 AM

When the weather starts warming up, people are drawn to the water. In St. Louis, that usually means getting out to one of the city’s beautiful lakeside parks for picnics or barbecues. These lakes come in all shapes and sizes to suit sportsmen, fishermen, boaters, families and couples looking for a romantic picnic. Here are five of the city’s best lakeside parks.

Creve Coeur Park
13236 Streetcar Drive
St. Louis, MO 63043
(314) 615-4386

The lush park surrounding Creve Coeur lake is a popular destination for bikers, joggers, boaters and families. The 320-acre lake is often dotted with sailboats on summer days, and the lake is stocked for fishermen. The park is dotted with picnic spots, including about a dozen with barbecue pits. You can reserve rental boats or bikes online or by calling (314) 330-4692.

Forest Park
5595 Grand Drive
St.  Louis, MO 63112
(314) 367-7275

St. Louis’s Forest Park is a local treasure, and its glassy lakes and remarkable waterfalls create a watery oasis in the middle of the city. Jefferson Lake, just south of Steinberg Ice Skating Rink, is the primary lake for fishing. The Cascades waterfall just west of the Art Museum is a popular picnic destination within the park. The Boathouse offers boat rentals, and the Boathouse Restaurant is a St. Louis tradition for lakeside dining and live music on the water.

Tower Grove Park
4256 Magnolia Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 771-2679

In addition to the well-known Botanical Gardens that locals still refer to as “Shaw’s Garden,” Henry Shaw also gifted St. Louis with Tower Grove Park. Tower Grove is a peaceful, serene landscape, popular for wedding photos and receptions. The reflective lake is dotted with lily pads and blossoms in summer, and offers a lush backdrop for a romantic picnic. Winding paths, gazebos, cypress trees, fountains and flowerbeds make Tower Grove a unique location in the city.

Related: America’s Best Gardens And Parks

Lafayette Park
2023 Lafayette Ave.
St Louis, MO 63104
(314) 772-5724

The heart of the charming Victorian Lafayette Park neighborhood is its gorgeous park. Walking paths meander through flowerbeds and over arched bridges, around statues and flowering shrubs. This is the oldest developed urban park in the Louisiana Purchase territory, and it has a feeling of history and grandeur about it. Picnic areas surround the one-acre lake, which offers fishing spots and makes a lovely reflecting pool for the swans.

Suson Park
6073 Wells Road
St. Louis, MO 63128
(314) 615-8822

St. Louis’s favorite lakeside park to enjoy with young kids is Suson Park, hands down. The pretty lake is popular with ducks and geese as well as fishermen, and picnic facilities and a playground are available. But the highlight of the park is the working animal farm, where kids can get up close and personal with cows, chickens, horses, pigs and more. It’s a treat for the kids, absolutely free, although donations are accepted. The animal farm is open daily from 10:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the summer.

Related: Top Parks To Walk Your Dog In St. Louis 

Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at