How To: Spend a Weekend at Lake of the Ozarks
Published | Written by Erin Epperson
The bitterly cold January weather has us taking back every complaint we uttered about the heat of a LOZ summer. While we daydream of a COVID-free summer, we wanted to share some of our favorite lakeside activities that are socially distant approved. There are so many ways to enjoy lake-area business and activities without compromising your personal space, despite what you may have seen on social media and the news just a few months ago. Keep reading for 7 ideas to add to your itinerary for your next lake visit!
1. BOATING + WATERSPORTS
A no-brainer-- the best way to enjoy what the lake has to offer is to get out on the water! From skiing and wakeboarding to surfing and tubing, you don't need to leave your boat to have an activity-filled day on the water. Should regulations remain the same, lakeside restaurants will be open next summer. Want to avoid the crowd? Pack a picnic dinner and catch the sunset on the water (the best view in the house). When it's time for gas, most docks have attendants who will do all the work for you. If you're looking for a more contactless fill up, you may try a 24-hour dock. A few options include Camden on the Lake at the 7mm, Village Marina at the 3mm, or Brideview Marina in the Glaize Arm. Don't have your own boat? There are boat rental companies and charter services across the lake-area. Bombay Boat Rental and Play Date Charters are great options to look into.
A versatile hobby that can take you from the boat to the shoreline! Whether you choose to float down the Osage River, or throw a line from your dock on the lake-- the fish are biting year-round at the LOZ. The waters are home to an assortment of bass, crappie, catfish and bluegill and are what a fisherman's dreams are made of. The best kind of hobbies are the ones that can reel in some cash, too. The lake hosts several multi-day fishing tournaments throughout the summer and winter months like the Big Bass Bash that takes place at Alhonna Resort. Don't know the lake well enough to scope out the best fishing spots? Checkout one of the many fishing guide services. From Barber Fishing Guide Service to James and Dennis Dill Guide Service-- you won't come up short with lake experts.
The beauty of the Lake of the Ozarks can most clearly be seen on the trails of HaHa Tonka State Park. The combination of hills and steps make it easy to break a sweat and get a good workout in while taking in the colors nature has to offer. The park covers 3,700 acres of the Niangua Arm. It features a natural bridge, castle ruins, caves, bluffs and Missouri's 12th largest spring. Not looking to travel quite that far? The Lake of the Ozarks State Park also offers a variety of trails with varying terrains and difficulty levels. If you've got little kiddos, you might visit Peanick Park shortly after you turn onto Hwy 42. Here you'll find two separate playground sets, a picnic area and ballfields.
Catch a tee time at one of 13 maintained golf courses across the lake! Much like our sacred hobby of fishing, there are an abundance of opportunities to join in on a charity tournament for a good cause, too! Each range offers a unique experience with varying displays of difficulty levels. If you're interested in planning a weekend around the course itself, there are 8 lodging accommodations with golfing on site as well. For more tips on the lay of the land, GolfingMissouri.com puts together a guide each year breaking down each course, fees, locations and accommodations. The 2020 Lake of the Ozarks Golf Trail Guide can be found here.
5. HELICOPTER TOURS
Want to see the lake from a bird's eye view? Lake Ozark Helicopters can help with that! Centrally-located this business has 5 family-fun packages for all price points. For just $29/person you'll travel 6 miles up above and across the lake seeing businesses and boaters. At $69/person you'll get unparalleled views with the Bagnell Dam Special. This trip takes visitors about 19 miles to the Bagnell Dam and Banell Dam Strip, to the glamorous homes in Millionaire's Cove and back around to the Grand Glaize Bridge and outlet mall for a complete 360-aerial view of the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks. The priciest of the packages at $179/person (but a once in a lifetime experience) you'll get the "Ultimate Tour." For approximately 40-50 miles, you'll get the chance to see everything listed above as well as four golf courses, resorts, restaurants, a winery and more! Visit their website to schedule a tour and view a photo gallery from past flights.
6. SPA DAY
Treat yo'self with a little R&R lakeside! The lake is known for its laid-back and carefree lifestyle, so of course there's plenty of spots to kick your feet up with your besties and get pampered. Want an all-inclusive experience? Much like several of our golf courses, a fair amount of lakefront resorts also support their own health and wellness spa in house! Some of these places include The Lodge of the Four Seasons, Margaritaville Resort and Camden on the Lake. Of course, there are also stand-alone locations spread throughout the lake area for everyone's locational needs. Some of our favorites are Lux Spa and Beauty and Serenity Medical Spa. The spas at the lake offer unique top of the line technology you likely haven't experienced anywhere else. Try an isolation float tank with Infinity Float Spa, or grab a wellness boost IV from New Springs Wellness Center!
7. CAVE TOUR
Maybe you want to take your hiking to the next level with a guided cave tour. You'll find there's likely an option close to where you're staying and this would be a quick activity to squeeze in after a day on the water before a lakeside dinner! With caves in Linn Creek, Camdenton, Versailles and Eldon-- you could make a whole trip of it. If you time your visit just right, you may even catch some shopping at Jacob's Cave. The first and largest commercialized cave in the lake area, Jacob's Cave is also the site of "Jacob's Cave Swapping Days," an animal swap meet started in 1979 that is now held 3 times a year. Several of the caves also hold various events throughout the year, like the escape room partnership with Lake Escape at Stark Caverns. You can visit each of the cave's websites for additional pricing info, directions, hours of operation and event schedules.
Are you daydreaming of your next lake weekend? What do you have on your itinerary (hopefully some of these neat places!) Drop a comment below and let us know.
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