Lake Guide | Lake of the Ozarks Best Western Experience | Travel Zone by Best Western

Lake Guide | Lake of the Ozarks

By Virginia Brown

Centrally located from St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield, Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks is a prime destination for a memorable getaway. Millions of people flock to the lake’s expansive shoreline and refreshing waters every year to experience thrilling boat adventures, wildlife spotting, scenic hiking, lake-side dining, historic caves, and much more. Here are some of the best ways to explore Lake of the Ozarks.

Explore Bridal Cave

Deep below the surface, Lake of the Ozark shares a wild marvel: Bridal Cave. A popular destination since the 1850s, the limestone cave has such stunning, cathedral-like formations, it has become a popular pick for weddings. Opt for the dimly lit lantern tour to experience the cave as its earliest explorers would have. You can even access the cave by boat.

Hike at Ha Ha Tonka State Park

Lace up the hiking boots and head over to Ha Ha Tonka State Park. With 12 different trails spanning nearly 20 miles, you can discover the beautiful central Missouri natural surroundings and varied topography of the area. Picnic tables and a playground are also available.

Get Out on the Lake

The Lake of the Ozarks region is packed with outdoor adventures, and the lake itself is the most popular draw. Whether you love fishing, leisure boating, canoeing and spotting wildlife, or just spending a lazy day on the beach, Lake of the Ozarks offers endless water experiences. Hire a guide and cast a line to reel in bass, perch, crappie, and more.

Relax and Rejuvenate

Fresh air and beautiful surroundings inspire health and wellness. Opt for a relaxing facial, manicure and pedicure, or deep tissue massage at one of the area’s spas and wellness centers, following a long day on the links or lake. Yogis can continue their practice with a rejuvenating class and sound bath in the studio, or out on the water, with a stand-up paddleboard yoga class from Namaste Acres.

Hit the Links

Golf is a major draw to the Lake of the Ozarks region, with about a dozen popular courses designed by golf greats like Arnold Palmer and Tom Weiskopf. Options include The Oaks, The Golf Club at Deer Chase, and many more. The region’s diversity makes for interesting course design, including rock outcroppings, elevation changes, and water features.

Where to Eat

Start the day with fresh coffee and brunch at On the Rise at Osage Beach. Sweet and savory options range from brown sugar and buttermilk pancakes to omelets, French toast, biscuits and gravy, pastries, and lots more.

For a hearty lunch along the waterfront, head over to Shady Gators. The menu at this laidback spot includes over a dozen kinds of pizza, including the signature Gator’s Bayou Classic, with smoked alligator tail, crawfish tail, and andouille sausage mixed with onion and peppers and a housemade garlic Cajun sauce. Subs, salads, and sides are also available.

Soak in the sunset at Baxter’s Lakeside Grille, a popular pick not only for its menu, but for its incredible waterfront views. Start with an order of the signature chipotle shrimp, served with apple jalapeño jelly and chipotle aioli, or an order of Prince Edward Island mussels or crab cakes. The menu also includes a wide range of fresh seafood entrees, from mahi mahi to salmon and trout. Steaks are also a go-to choice here, with cuts that include Kansas City strip, a 20-ounce prime bone-in ribeye, and a rotating chef’s special.

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