Take the Lake!
Sparkling waters, luxurious accommodations and abundant entertainment make the Lake of the Ozarks the essential summer getaway. Here’s our ultimate guide to where to stay, eat, drink and play.
Sweltering summer days can leave us longing for the sandy shores of an ocean getaway. However, as Kansas Citians, we are a bit land-locked. Or so we might think. Fortunately, there is a waterfront escape right in our own backyard—The Lake of the Ozarks. Home to breathtaking landscape, cerulean waters and some of the best entertainment, cuisine and recreation in the state, Lake of the Ozarks is the ideal summer retreat for families, couples and friends.
Editor's Pick: Savannah Grille
Every season at Savannah Grille, chef Robert Sills strives to utilize as many fresh, local ingredients as possible from farmers and growers in the lake region. In addition, Savannah Grille flies in fresh seafood from Washington, the best smoked hams from Tennessee and other supporting ingredients to provide the best costal cuisine at the Lake of the Ozarks. Making its home on the top of the cusp of the Ozark Mountains and overlooking the breathtaking views of the lake, Savannah Grille has become a favorite of lake-goers and locals alike thanks to its artisan menu and its modernly stylish yet cozy and quaint ambiance. It’s seasonal menu includes favorites such as greenhouse tomatoes and whipped burrata cheese, Savannah’s charcuterie board, fried oysters (fresh from Shelton, Wash.), root beer-brined fried chicken, sugar maple smoked whole quail, crab-roasted Idaho trout—and, of course, Creekstone Farms KC strip, rib-eye and fillet. Savannah Grille is also home to a fantastic happy hour menu, which includes duck-fat fries, blue cheese and bacon chips, shrimp and grit fritters and fried green tomatoes as well as draft beer and well drink specials. The restaurant is open daily (except Tuesdays) beginning at 4 p.m. for happy hour at the bar and 5 p.m. for the dining room. 1622 Horseshoe Bend Parkway, Lake Ozark, Mo., savannahgrillerestaurant.com.
If you are looking for a quintessential Midwestern steak, point your paddles toward J. Bruners. Located on the Main Channel, J. Bruner’s has been serving up steaks and seafood for more than 30 years. Sink your teeth into an 18-ounce Cowboy Rib-eye, J. Bruner’s Famous Prime Rib, lobster mac’n’cheese or batter-fried lobster tails. Pop into the Red Room Lounge for a cocktail or dine in style in the main dining room. Open nightly from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 5166 Osage Beach Parkway South, Osage Beach, Mo., jbruners.com
Dog Days Bar & Grill
Located at mile marker 19, Dog Days is a favorite for lake vacationers and locals alike as it plays host to some of the lake’s premier annual events including the LOMDA In-Water Boat Show, the incredible Canine Cannonball, Lake of the Ozarks Poker Run and Aquapalooza, the largest on-water concert at the lake. Voted one of the nation’s top 10 performance boating watering holes by Powerboat Magazine, Dog Days is open daily and offers signature frozen cocktails, a full menu chock-full of everything from crab legs and Mahi Mahi to burgers and fried pickles. Don’t forget to save room for the bourbon apple pie ‘nachos’! Dog Days also offers live music almost nightly, so plan to stay awhile. 1232 Jeffries Road, Osage Beach, Mo., dogdays.ws.
BoatHouse Lakeside Bar & Grill
The Best-Kept Secret
BoatHouse Bar & Grill, located on mile marker 3 by water, or road W-20 by land, is the Lake of the Ozarks’ best-kept secret. Pop in for a sampling of BoatHouse’s delicious, handcrafted chef’s menu, its famous 19-ingredient bloody mary or blackened fish sandwich and take in live entertainment as well as karaoke every Friday and Saturday. Located at the Village Marina in Eldon, the Boathouse is a bit off the beaten path, but completely worth it. Boaters can use one of BoatHouse’s 14 covered boat slips, and guests are welcome to take a dip in the BoatHouse’s pool before or after dining.
107 Village Marina Rd., Eldon, Mo., villagemarina.com
Ozark Yacht Club Lakeside Café
Best for Breakfast
Rhe sign at the Ozark Yacht Club Lakeside Café may say “members only,” but this little gem, nestled in the picturesque Jennings Branch Cove near Bagnell Dam, is open to the public for breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Choose indoor or outdoor seating right on the water’s edge and enjoy the Yacht’ Club’s buzzworthy breakfast menu filled with assorted homemade marmalades and muffins, eggs Benedict, Swabbie Stack Pancakes, Three Sheets to the Wind (French toast) and the famous OYC Hollandaizer Omelet stuffed with sausage, crab, asparagus, pepper jack cheese smothered in made-from-scratch hollandaise sauce. 500 Yacht Club Landing Drive, Lake Ozark, Mo., ozarkyachtclub.com/oyclakesidecafe
JJ’s at the Copper Pot
Best Dining off the Water
It’s no secret to the local lake crowd that JJ’s at the Copper Pot has the most delicious batter-fried lobster tail around. But that’s not all JJ’s has to offer. Located on the west (the Kansas City as opposed to St. Louis) side of the lake in Gravois Mills, JJ’s boasts a delightful menu filled with favorites such as lobster stuffed mushrooms, Fillet Oscar (tender cut beef tenderloin topped with lump crab, hollandaise sauce and asparagus), seared scallops and lobster risotto, as well as an extensive wine list which includes many Missouri wines. End the evening with one of JJ’s delectable desserts such as the vanilla bean crème brulee or fried bread pudding, and top it all off with “coffee vaculator,” JJ’s unique blend of freshly ground coffee beans brewed fresh at your tableside. 630 North Main St., Gravois Mills, Mo., jjsatthecopperpot.com
This Osage Beach pizzeria embodies a passion for pizza with handcrafted pies and 32 on-tap craft beers. Alongside the traditional pepperoni and olives are a plethora of options: how about ranch dressing glaze or buffalo sauce? Or unique toppings such as sliced top sirloin or breaded eggplant? The specialty pizzas range from the standard to the truly individualistic, like the Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork. The menu also includes sandwiches, pasta, calzones, salads and appetizers such as garlic cheese bread and insalata caprese. In Italian "pappo" translates to "gobble up" and that you will certainly do with these handcrafted pies. 4705 Osage Beach and Parkway, Osage Beach, Mo., pappospizzeria.com
Randy’s Frozen Custard
Indulge in what is arguably the best frozen custard in the Midwest at Randy’s Frozen Custard in Osage Beach. A gathering place for local residents and customers, Randy’s doesn’t have a drive-thru nor does it have indoor seating. With only it’s walk-up window for serving, Randy’s has turned into one of the most sought-after destinations at the Lake of the Ozarks. The whole family will fall in love with Randy’s premium ingredient frozen custard that is made fresh daily on-site. Even canine counterparts will love Randy’s as they are entitled to a free cone alongside their owners. Try the Ozark Turtle concrete —you won’t be disappointed. 4681 Osage Beach Parkway, Osage Beach, Mo., randysfrozencustard.com
Editor's Pick: Baxter’s Lakeside Grill
Drinks With a View
If you are in search of fine dining with a view and exceptional hometown table service, Baxter’s Lakeside Grille is just the spot. Baxter’s offers an authentic American menu with a full bar (and top-notch bartenders). Favorite menu items include blackened shrimp salad and barbecue baby back ribs, but it is Baxter’s bar that keeps locals coming back for more. With seven hand-crafted martinis on the menu as well as signature cocktails such as Baxter’s Sunset (a mango margarita and raspberry daiquiri served side-by-side) and the Dark & Stormy (Myers dark rum with ginger beer) as well as a substantial wine list and domestic and imported beer selection, Baxter’s is the place to be for drinks with a view. Open Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Happy Hour Sunday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. 2124 Bagnell Dam Blvd., Lake Ozark, Mo., baxterslakesidegrille.com
Happenin’ Happy Hour
Making its home in the bustling Bagnell Dam area, JB Hook’s offers guest 14-mile panoramic views of the lake and arguably the best happy hour scene at the Lake of the Ozarks. Happy hour at JB Hook’s features half-price appetizers like Cajun style calamari, stuffed mushrooms, Ahi tuna tacos and more. Hook’s happy hour also includes buy-one-get-one-free well drinks and house wines, including JB Hook’s house-made sangria from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. JB Hook’s also hosts live music on Tuesdays and Fridays. 2260 Bagnell Dam Blvd., Lake Ozark, Mo., jbhooks.com.
Shawnee Bluff Winery
Shawnee Bluff Winery offers wine by the bottle or by the glass, as well as wine tastings in a beautiful setting with gorgeous views of the Lake of the Ozarks. Situated atop an Ozark bluff with a miles-long panoramic view of the lake, Shawnee Bluff Winery is the perfect place to spend a summer evening sipping on wine from its local vineyard (located in Eldon, Mo.,) and nibbling on brick-oven pizza or Italian flatbread. Open daily at 10 a.m. 2430 Bagnell Dam Blvd., Lake Ozark, Mo., shawneebluffwinery.com
Seven Springs Winery
Less than a 10-minute drive from both Camdenton and Osage Beach, Seven Springs Winery and Vineyards sits atop 160 acres of rolling Missouri foothills. Seven Springs serves Missouri wines, sangrias and microbrews as well as wine tastings and a light menu including soups, sandwiches and cheese trays. 846 Winery Hills Estates, Linn Creek, Mo., sevenspringswinery.com
H. Toad’s Bar & Grill
Concerts & Cocktails
With live music and entertainment every weekend during the summer, waterfront docking, indoor and outdoor bars, outdoor hot tubs and a swim-up bar, H.Toad’s has all the right ingredients for the best party atmosphere at the Lake of the Ozarks. Sip on signature frozen and tropical cocktails and other offerings from H. Toad’s full bar while taking in concerts from regulars Five Turn Knot, Contagious, Dr. Zhivegas, American Hitman, Soul Root, Members Only and more. 2325 Bittersweet Road, Lake Ozark, Mo., htoads.com
Concerts & Cocktails
A favorite for its extensive drink menu and nightly live music scene, Shady Gators regularly hosts Lake of the Ozarks concert favorites Madd Hoss Jackson, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Rough Ryders, Charlie and The Stingrays,Well Hungarians, Phat Mike and the Bartenders and more. Located at mile marker 7, Shady Gators is one of the most energetic party spots at the lake. And with its 100 boat slips, there’s always room to join in on the fun. 132 Sweet William Road, Lake Ozark, Mo., shadygators.com
Editor's Pick: Big Surf Waterpark
If lake swimming just isn’t your thing, or if you are itching for a few more aquatic thrills, take the whole family to Big Surf Waterpark for a day of fun in the sun. There’s something for everyone at Big Surf, including the Raging Rapids, the Space Bowl waterslide, the lazy river, the wave pool and Zambezi Falls. Outside the pool, spend time building a sand castle or organize a family game of sand volleyball. Ticket prices range from $14 to $28.95, and large groups are welcome. 954 State Highway Y, Linn Creek, Mo., bigsurfwaterpark.com
Timber Falls at Tan-Tar-A
Splash Around a Bit
Take the family to Tan-Tar-A resort’s indoor waterpark Timber Falls, a three-story wilderness treehouse complete with water blasters, 600 feet of water slides, jungle gyms and even a six-foot-wide 600-gallon dump bucket that tips every minute. The facility also includes a 21-seat whirlpool, an activity pool, a lazy river and concessions. The park is open every day from Memorial Day until Labor Day and weekends after Labor Day. Prices range from $17 to $22 daily. 494 Tan-Tar-A Drive, Osage Beach, Mo., tan-tar-a.com/play/timber-falls-water-park
Bagnell Dam Strip
Nostalgic Family Fun
From shopping and dining to flea markets, quirky little souvenir shops, old-time photo booths and more, the Bagnell Dam Strip is the quintessential tourist stop at the Lake of the Ozarks. Batting cages, bumper cars, skee ball, classic video games and pinball machines await vacationers at the Rebel Arcade, the lake’s oldest arcade. Or stop into Dogpatch, the longest continually operated store at the lake and home to a myriad of kitschy souvenirs and novelty items. While you’re on the Strip, make plans to stop in for a down-home meal at Stewart’s Restaurant. Since 1953, locals and visitors have flocked to the family-favorite restaurant, famous for its cinnamon rolls the size of a baseball mitt. Dubbed “where the lake begins and the fun never ends,” Bagnell Dam is host to many special events and festivals throughout the year — especially during summer months —such as Hot Summer Nights, which take place monthly on the Strip. During Hot Summer Nights, classic and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles park along the Strip or in its center lane for viewing. This event brings thousands of families to the Strip annually, where they walk the mile-long business district, view the vehicles, shop at Strip stores, interact with resident clowns and pirates, and “dance in the streets” to rock and roll tunes. This year, Hot Summer Nights will come to an end on September 11, 2015, with its annual Vettes for Veterans themed event during which The Lake of the Ozarks Corvette Club will recruit dozens of local veterans of all military branches to ride in Corvettes down Bagnell Dam Strip as part of the Vettes for Veterans parade. Bagnell Dam is located in Lake Ozark, Mo., lakeozarkbagnelldam.com
See the lake from new heights
There’s no doubt that parasailing offers some of the most spectacular and thrilling views at the Lake of the Ozarks. By allowing passengers to soar at heights of 300 feet above the lake, parasailing is a family-friendly adventure that you will never forget. Enjoy free-fall dips or just take in the scenery while effortlessly gilding through the air as professional photographers document your every move. Advanced reservations are encouraged. Lake Ozark Parasail, Bridgeport Marina, 5020 Highway 54, Osage Beach, Mo., lakeozarkparasail.com; Paradise Parasail, 1100 Bagnell Dam Blvd., Lake Ozark, Mo., paradiseparasail.com
Permission to Come Aboard
Get set to get wet
Of course, one must-do item when visiting the Lake of the Ozarks is to get on the water! If you bring your own boat to the lake, you can launch it at one of the area’s public access ramps at Bagnell Dam, Gravois Mills, Sunrise Beach or Lake of the Ozarks State Park, to name a few. Some charge a small access fee and also offer gas and convenience items. Or, you can use the launching ramp at one of the lake’s many full-service commercial marinas, where you also can purchase gas and supplies. If you didn’t bring a boat or watercraft with you, no worries—there are plenty of other ways to get your feet wet by renting a boat or jet ski to enjoy at your own leisure. The Getaway Boat & Jet Ski Rental and Bridgeport Boat Rental in Osage Beach and Iguana Watersports and Adventure Boat Rentals, Inc. in Lake Ozark are amongst many options at the lake and some of the most easily accessible options. getawayatthelake.com, bridgeportboatrental.com, adventureboatrentals.com, iguanawatersports.com.
Oh, Captain, My Captain!
Charter a boat (and a captain)
Who wants to drive when you can be chauffeured? At Leisure Lake Charters, U.S. Coast Guard Captains Mike Beecher, Bill Beecher and Master Captain Ben Beecher are available for charter as well as a selection of luxury pontoon, speed and ski boats. On board each vessel, you will find safety equipment, water and soda, a Bimini top for shade, an oversized swim platform, a satellite radio and CD player for tunes. Coolers are also available to chill beverages of your choosing. Captains will escort you on a romantic sunset cruise, a day of basking in the sun on the boat or a day of water sports and will also deliver you to area lakeside restaurants and bars. Located at the Lodge of the Four Seasons Marina, Leisure Lake Charters also offers boat, paddleboard and jet ski rentals. 315 Four Seasons Drive, Lake Ozark, Mo., leisurelakecharters.com
Ha Ha Tonka State Park
Take a Hike
With more than 3,600 acres of natural Ozark beauty, 12 hiking trails and eight caves, Ha Ha Tonka State Park is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Purchased by Kansas City businessman Robert McClure Snyder around the turn of the century, Ha Ha Tonka is home to the remains of a historic private estate commissioned by Snyder that rivals European style castles. With imported stonemasons from Scotland, the three-story masterpiece is a breathtaking landmark within Ha Ha Tonka State Park. Tragically, Snyder died before the interior of the castle was finished, but years later, the estate was completed by his sons. When a fire damaged the breathtaking castle in 1942, the castle’s majesty waned until the State of Missouri purchased the ruins and its acreage in 1978 and opened it to the public as a state park. Geologically, Ha Ha Tonka is an area of "karst" topography, characterized by sinks, caves, underground streams and natural bridges. One of Missouri's largest springs is located in the park and feeds an average of 48 million gallons of water a day into the Niangua Arm of the Lake of the Ozarks. A trail and natural area guide is available at the visitor's center at the park’s entrance.
Ha Ha Tonka is located five miles southwest of Camdenton on State Road D. mostateparks.com
Each year, lake visitors escape the summer’s heat by the exploring 56-degree Ozark Caverns. Located in Lake of the Ozarks State Park, Ozark Caverns is home to the spectacular Angel Showers, a never-ending flow of water that seems to fall from the solid ceiling of rock into two massive bowl-shaped stone basins on the cave floor. Guided tours are available for adults and children starting at $6. Ozark Caverns’ entrance is located in Linn Creek, Mo., mostateparks.com
Centuries ago, the Osage Native American Indians discovered the majestic beauty that lies beneath Thunder Mountain (commonly known as Thunder Mountain Park). Legend has it, an American Indian wedding ceremony was held in the cave beneath Thunder Mountain in the early 1800s, thus, giving its name: Bridal Cave. With its awe-inspiring stalactites and more onyx formations than any other known cave, Bridal Cave offers incomparable beauty. And true to its name, many weddings take place here annually in an area known as the Bridal Chapel. Tours of Bridal Cave leave every few minutes and last about an hour. The cave has concrete pathways and is 60 degrees on its interior. The cave is open in the summer from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. General admission for adults is $16, and $8 for children. 526 Bridal Cave Road, Camdenton, Mo., bridalcave.com
The largest cave in the lake area, Jacob's Cave is famous for its depth illusion, reflective pools, ceiling spongework, prehistoric bones and the world's largest geode. On the mile-long tour, you will see every type of cave formation imaginable — from millions of soda straws, massive stalactites and columns, to delicate helectites. 23114 Highway TT, Versailles, Mo., jacobscave.com
Fantasy World Caverns
Fantasy World Caverns were first used by animals for shelter and winter hibernation and used later by Native Americans, making it home to various Native American artifacts. Years later, settlers used the cave for storage of goods and production of moonshine. 125 Cave Drive, Eldon, Mo., fantasyworldcaverns.com
With more than 1,100 miles of shoreline and 54,000 surface acres, plus rock bluffs, mud flats, gravel bars, coves, creeks, docks and crappie beds, Lake of the Ozarks has remained a mecca for generations of anglers from far and wide year after year. The lake is home to largemouth, white and spotted bass; black and white crappie; blue, channel and flathead catfish and hybrid stripers, paddlefish, walleye and bluegill amongst others. A plethora of bait shops and full-service marinas are available to supply all your fishing needs, but if you want to ensure an impressive catch and discover all the secret angling hot spots, we recommend hiring one of the Lake of the Ozark’s independent fishing guides. Before hiring a guide, make sure he or she is U.S. Coast Guard licensed. The Lake of the Ozarks is home to dozens of competent fishing guides. For example, FirstMate Fishing Charters offers four- and eight-hour fishing excursions aboard its fully rigged Champion 203 Elite. firstmatecharters.com
Editor's Pick: The Lodge of Four Seasons
Luxurious Updates Await
The Lodge of Four Seasons has been providing lake-goers with top-notch hospitality and luxurious accommodations since 1964. This waterfont resort is home to three championship golf courses, a full-service marina, four swimming pools, five diverse restaurants, beautiful Japanese gardens, the nationally recognized Spa Shiki and breathtaking views of the Lake of the Ozarks. Deluxe guest rooms are offered within the main lodge, or guests can opt to reside at the more private Seasons Bay at the Lodge, adjacent to the main lodge. Every room at Seasons Bay has a lake view. For the ultimate luxurious respite, stay at the Avila Luxury Suites—the Lake of the Ozarks’ only all-suite hotel. Enjoy a one- or two-bedroom suite that garners you access and privileges to all the amenities of the Lodge and the Jack Nicklaus championship golf course of The Club at Porto Cima.
Currently, The Lodge of Four Seasons is undergoing a multi-million-dollar facelift, which is scheduled for completion this fall. All 359 rooms and 65,000 square feet of meeting space within the lodge will be renovated throughout the process, and the end result will include the addition of 55-inch televisions and an entirely updated décor that is warm and modern. In addition, all public areas will receive updates including the entry, lobby, restaurants, meeting rooms, as well as exterior enhancements to the main swimming pool.
The lodge is also home to one of the largest resort spas in the Midwest, Spa Shiki, which translates to “four seasons” in Japanese. Guests of the spa can enjoy pampering in a 15,000-square-foot Asian-themed respite that offers massages, body treatments, facials and salon treatments, as well as a fitness center, steam, sauna and whirlpool.
315 Four Seasons Drive, Lake Ozark, Mo., 4seasonsresort.com
The Lodge at Old Kinderhook
Life on the Links
Recently opened, The Lodge at Old Kinderhook is home to 84 guest rooms overlooking Old Kinderhook’s award-winning golf course. The resort, which is a little off the beaten path and tucked away from the energetic tourist-heavy areas of the Lake of the Ozarks, is still just a hop, skip and a jump away from the hustle and bustle of the lake. It features luxurious, yet comfortable guest rooms, an indoor and outdoor pool and marina facilities. If a private cottage is more your speed, Old Kinderhook can still suit you, as the resort also offers one- or two-bedroom golf cottages as well as two- and three-bedroom patio homes, three-bedroom villas and three- to four-bedroom estate homes scattered throughout the golf course. If life on the links is your dream, this is the resort for you!
P.S. This place is home to the only wintertime ice skating rink at the Lake of the Ozarks.
20 Eagle Ridge Road, Camdenton, Mo., oldkinderhook.com
Camden on the Lake
Yacht Club & Resort Luxury
Camden on the Lake is a 116-suite hotel that is located adjacent to the famous Horny Toad Entertainment Complex (dining, concerts, nightclubs, speed racing, etc.) at mile marker seven of the Lake of the Ozarks. All of the suites at Camden have lake views and feature fireplaces, built-in flat-screen televisions, high-speed wireless Internet access, kitchenettes, king-size beds with high thread count linens and leather sleeper sofas. Resort guests and yacht club members enjoy a wonderful fitness center, a covered sand volleyball court, two hot tubs, a pool with swim-up bar, and a movie theater. Camden on the Lake also has nightly summer entertainment, retail shops and a full-service Aveda spa, Spa 54 at the Copper Door. This all-natural lakeside spa offers water views and a full-service spa menu.
H. Toad’s is located right next door for lakeside dining, and Frogs Waterfront Sports Bar & Grill features a more casual menu, as well as a wide assortment of frozen drinks. Each morning, Camden guests can enjoy offerings from a full Jitter Bean espresso bar located in the main lobby. 2359 Bittersweet Road, Lake Ozark, Mo., camdenonthelake.com
Old Kinderhook, a Tom Weiskopf 18-hole signature course, is a 6,855-yard, par-71 course that has an undisputed reputation of challenging even the most avid and confident golfer. Its landscape, speckled with valleys, waterfalls, hills, trees and water hazards, includes dramatic elevation changes and picturesque views on each and every hole. Old Kinderhook is open to the public year-round. Greens fees range from $72 to $105.
20 Eagle Ridge Road., Camdenton, Mo., oldkinderhook.com
Osage National Golf Resort
Osage National is Missouri's only Arnold Palmer Signature Course. The original 18 holes, designed in 1992 by Arnold Palmer, feature 7,150 yards of zoysia fairways and bentgrass greens. Through the years, an additional nine holes have been added to create three unique 18-hole combinations (Mountain, River and Links)—a sort of “choose your own adventure” situated along the tranquil Osage River. Osage National also features a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse with a 5,000-square-foot tournament room, a driving range, two large practice putting greens, and a full-service restaurant and bar. Tee times are accepted 60 days in advance, and it is recommended golfers call no less than 48 hours in advance to book. 400 Osage Hills Road, Lake Ozark, Mo., osagenational.com
This par-72 course, designed by golf course architect Ken Kavanaugh, is filled with rolling hills, natural rock outcroppings, native wildflowers, and beautiful views of Lake of the Ozarks and is open to the public. With four sets of tees ranging from 4,617 to 6,447 yards, The Ridge offers a challenging layout for golfers of all skill levels. The most challenging of the 18 holes is without a doubt hole No. 6—a long, narrow hole known by many as the most challenging par-5 hole in the state of Missouri. Greens fees range from $75 to $90. Duckhead Road, Lake Ozark, Mo., 4seasonsresort.com
The Club at Porto Cima
The Club at Porto Cima is the first 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Course in the state. A private club with limited tee times available to Lodge of Four Seasons guests, Porto Cima is a unique course played over or along the lake on seven of its 18 holes, which are blended expertly into the gently rolling Ozark hills. Famous for its 15th hole, which forms a peninsula green in the main channel of the Lake of the Ozarks, Porto Cima has garnered attention nationally and has been recognized as the No. 4 best new private golf course in America by Golf Digest. On-site facilities include two short-game and bunker practice areas, a large practice green, and an 11-acre driving range with six target greens. The club’s 17,000-square-foot clubhouse features a fine dining room— The Grille Room—as well as a Yacht Club with swimming pool and tennis court.
133 Club House Drive, Sunrise Beach, Mo., portocima.com
The Cove, a Robert Trent Jones Sr. course, has been rated by Golf Digest as the second best public course in Missouri. With 72 bunkers, rolling hills and water coming into play on half of the 18 holes, The Cove’s challenging layout is specifically embodied by hole No. 4 — an intimidating 228-yard par 3 with a long carry over “Witch’s Cove.” On-site facilities include a putting green, driving range, nine-hole short game course and a full-service pro shop. Greens fees range from $40 to $95.
Horseshoe Bend Parkway, Lake Ozark, Mo., 4seasonsresort.com
Best 9-Hole Course
Hidden Lakes Course, located on the grounds of the Tan-Tar-A resort in Osage Beach, was designed and built by Jim Lewis and has been ranked by USA Today as one of the best nine-hole courses in the U.S. This par 35 is open to the public and is a great venue for family golf. Tee times are preferred and can be reserved 60 days in advance. Greens fees at Hidden Lakes are $39. 494 Tan-Tar-A Drive, Osage Beach, Mo., tan-tar-a.com
Summer Events at the Lake
July 18 – AquaPalooza
The lake's largest family boating event, Aquapalooza is the lake’s largest party. During Aquapalooza, The Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers invite all boaters to join them for a great day on the water. Aquapalooza 2015 will feature Women of Rock: A tribute to female rock artists; Revelation: A tribute to Journey; Members Only: a premier 80s tribute band; and Hells Bells: America's No. 1 AC/DC tribute band. Join the party on the water at Dog Days Bar & Grille at the 19-mile marker, just west of the Grand Glaize Bridge, funlake.com/aquapalooza
Aug. 1 – The Great Bagnell Dam Duck Drop
Experience thousands of rubber ducks falling from the sky as the largest duck race in the lake's history takes place on the Osage River below Bagnell Dam. The event will kick off at 8 a.m. with a 5K Family Fun Run/Walk. At 10 a.m. the Family Fun Zone will open, featuring clowns, bounce houses, duck ponds, duck painting, puppet shows, vendors, food and live entertainment followed by the official duck drop at noon. greatdamduckdrop.com
Aug. 8 – Midwest Wine & Brew Festival
Taste the best of the Midwest from local and regional wineries and breweries offering selections for tasting and for purchase. Tickets are $15, and the price also includes live entertainment and a souvenir wine or beer glass. Must be 21 to enter. The event will take place at the Country Club Hotel, 250 Racquet Club Drive, Lake Ozark, Mo.
Aug. 29-30 – Lake of the Ozarks Shootout
The Lake of the Ozarks Shootout brings the top racers and offshore racing powerboats to the lake for the largest unsanctioned boat race in the Midwest. More than 100 racers will participate in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Lake Area Rescue Teams. For a complete Lake of the Ozarks Shootout Schedule including a golf tournament, a street party at the Strip and much more, visit lakeoftheozarksshootout.org.
Sept. 12 – Lake of the Ozarks Air Show
The Lake of the Ozarks Air show takes place annually at the Camdenton Memorial Airport and features flyovers from stunt pilots and various military planes. For more show information, visit lakeoftheozarksairshow.com.