Growing up at the Lake of the Ozarks, I was a lucky child! Every day we were there I had my pick of activities to choose from! I could go swimming and water skiing, fish off the dock, ride my bike, take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood, go sailing if it was windy enough, take the fishing boat for a little joy ride at a whopping 5 mph or go for a real boat ride in my dad’s 1973 Tom Sawyer. However when it rained, all those fun outdoor activities came to a crashing halt. Rather than pack it up and head back home for the rest of the week, we just found something else to do indoors. Just because it’s raining, doesn’t mean you still can’t find something fun to do.

These are some activities I remember from those days that can still apply today, when the storm hits your lake and the rain deters you from the water.

1. Grab a book – Whether young or old, this can be some of the best down-time to read. Most of us are too busy in our day to day lives to take a break, so grab your Kindle if you don’t have any books handy, or run to the store and pick up the latest paperback. Sit back in your comfy chair and let it rain while your mind drifts away to another place and time.

2. Board and Card Games – My parents always kept cards on hand at the lake. Seems like every time the weather didn’t cooperate, one of us was usually playing solitaire. When the other kids in the area were visiting, we would play Go Fish or Uno. If no other kids are around to play with, keep a stack of board games at your lake house and enjoy spending time with your kids around the kitchen table.

Family Time with Board Games

3. Video Games – As much as I hate to encourage my kids to play video games while on vacation or at the lake, let’s face it, a rainy day is probably the only time it’s really “ok”.  When I was a little kid, Atari Video games were just released. I remember being at my neighbor’s house, playing on their Sears version of the Atari with their basic Tank and Airplane games while listening to the thunder crack outside. I remember it was so close one time, I swore the boat I saw cruising on the lake must have been hit. Jump into the game with your children and have a little one on one competition with them. Your day will fly by and next thing you know, it’s time to start making dinner.

4. Washers and Hillbilly Golf Games – My ski club keeps a washers game stacked up in our club house at all times. I can’t tell you how many times the storms have rolled in at night and we are driven away from our campfire. We grab our coolers and lawn chairs and sit indoors, listen to music and take turns competing with a couple of washers.

5. Watch TV – To me, tv watching goes along with video game playing…when we are on vacation or at the lake, I prefer that the TV stay off and everyone enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. However, I am usually the minority and the TV is turned on every single day.  When it rains, grab a DVD or if you are at a bigger lake with cable/satellite service, look for a movie the whole family can watch and grab the popcorn.

6. Clean House – Say what? What kind of list is this anyway? Yeah, I hear you. Who wants to do housework especially when the lake is calm and you’re dying to hit the water? But when mother nature brings on the rain, what better time to spruce up the place? You won’t feel like you’re missing out on the best weather and when you’re done, you have the rest of the time to enjoy your clean lake home.

7. Go Shopping – Several lakes are near shopping centers or they provide unique shopping in the local small mom and pop shops. Lake of the Ozarks opened an Outlet mall back in the 1990s and people visit there regularly, year round.  But during a summer rain, jump in the car and hit the stores. You might just find that one item you’ve been dying to locate for your lake home.

8. Sit on Your dock and listen to the rain – This will depend on how bad the weather is. If it’s not storming, grab a book or your favorite electronic device and head to the dock (assuming it’s covered, of course). When I was in college, there was a late summer rain that had started in the afternoon. I had a ton of homework to do and I wasn’t getting it done the rest of the weekend. So I grabbed my college books and climbed into my dad’s boat which was sitting on a boat hoist. I listened to the rain hit the tin roof and remember feeling the waves bounce the hoist on the water and it was so relaxing and calming. I was able to just focus on my work. However, I think I did get a little sleepy after awhile. Something about a rainy day just does that to me. Which leads me to the final thing to do in the rain:

9. Take a nap – Why not? You’ve earned it. You can’t go outside without getting wet and the rain can be so calming. Listen as it comes down on your deck and just drift away. You will wake up refreshed and hopefully be ready to enjoy the lake after the rain.

Nap Time at the Lake


Obviously, there are probably hundreds of ideas you can do while it rains at the lake. These are just a few of the things I remember from my childhood, or things we currently do when the rain tries to spoil our fun. Like the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

Shey Harms

Shey has enjoyed the lake life since she was very young. Her parents always had a place at the lake for as long as she can remember. Now, she belongs to a waterski club in Kansas and drives their family boat in the ski shows teaching her family some of the traditions she learned as a child.

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