LAKE OF THE OZARKS, MO – For over 90 years, generations of families from across the country have been enjoying the numerous family-friendly activities available at Central Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. There is so much to do at the “Best Recreational Lake in the Nation” that everyone in the family will find something to enjoy at the “Fun Lake.” Swimming and boating? Oh, yeah. Water parks? You know it. High-flying fun like ziplining or parasailing? Check and check. Go-kart tracks and miniature golf? No problem. Arcades and ice cream shops? Absolutely. At the Lake of the Ozarks, families can have an experience they won’t forget and make memories worth treasuring years later.
IN THE WATER OR ON THE WATER – IT’S ALL FUN
The lapping waters of this man-made lake are what brought visitors to the Lake of the Ozarks in its earliest days and that remains true even now.
To enjoy the Lake like so many have in the past, all you have to do is jump, dive or wade in! For free public swimming access, Lake of the Ozarks State Park offers two sandy swimming beaches along the Grand Glaize Arm of the Lake. Both, the Grand Glaize Beach in Osage Beach and Public Beach #1 near Brumley, offer amenities such as restrooms, changing houses, playgrounds and picnic areas for visitors’ enjoyment and convenience.
In addition to the public beaches, many Lake-area resorts and entertainment complexes also feature a combination of sandy swimming beaches, swimming docks or a wade-in swimming areas for their guests. And, don’t forget swimming pools! Swimming pools abound at the Lake and you’ll find them at most Lake-area resorts and even select restaurants and entertainment complexes.
From sunrise to sunset, the Lake is always beautiful. If there are members of the family that would prefer to simply enjoy the stunning views of the Lake, there are ample scenic overlooks, decks, docks and gazebos located on or near the water where resting and relaxing may become the highlight of their day.
For fast-action fun on the water, families can rent personal watercraft, boats and pull-behind tubes or rafts at the 50-plus marinas around the Lake area. Rentals can be by the hour, day or week, depending on the marina. And, some marinas rent water skis, wakeboards, kayaks as well as stand-up paddleboards for more on-the-water fun.
Many Lake-area resorts specialize in family fun and offer by loan or by rental the use of kayaks, canoes, paddleboards and paddleboats to their guests. Some resorts also offer pontoon boat and personal watercraft rentals, too. So, vacationers should check with the lodging properties of their choice to see what on-the-water amenities are offered by loan or for rent.
As would be expected for a lake deemed one of the best fisheries in the country, anglers of all ages have been flocking to the Lake of the Ozarks since its humble beginnings. There are over half-a-dozen local Coast Guard-certified professional fishing guides that delight in taking families fishing and teaching children as well as their parents how to be successful anglers. Most guides can accommodate up to three anglers at a time. Additionally, Lake guides have the boats, rods, reels, tackle and knowledge to provide fun and successful family fishing adventures for half- or full-days on the water.
MAKING A BIG SPLASH
There are four great options for splashing around in the water but off the Lake. Big Surf Waterpark in Linn Creek is an outdoor water park open annually from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Big Surf Activity Pool and its lily pad bridge can keep the kids busy for hours and Zambezi Falls, a three-story tall half-pipe of rushing water, delivers lots of adrenaline-pumping thrills that mom and dad will enjoy, too. The Challenger Flumes are dueling 300-foot water slides, twisting and turning their way down to a catch pool. Visitors also can float leisurely down the Lazy River or choose The Rapids for a white water float. Other attractions include a large wave pool and the Space Bowl, which was the first-of-its kind in the country. Perfect for younger and smaller children are the tropical-themed Splash Island featuring small water slides, teeter-totters and squirting toucans, and the Dry Ground Activity Area with sand volleyball, basketball, sandbox and playground.
Jolly Mon Indoor Water Park, located at Margaritaville Lake Resort in Osage Beach, is a year-around family hit. The tropical-themed Jolly Mon water park features 600 feet of water slides, an activity pool, an over-sized whirlpool, and a lazy river for tubing, and floating. That’s in addition to the highlight of Jolly Mon – a three-story wilderness tree house with slides, bridges, water blasters, tunnels, and a gigantic 600-gallon tipping bucket. Come rain, shine or snow, kids of all ages can splash, play, slide and enjoy endless aquatic adventures inside this 20,000-square foot family-fun water park.
Additionally, the family-friendly Bear Bottom Resort in Sunrise Beach is home to the two longest water slides in Missouri, each measuring over 700 feet providing fun for kids of all ages. And, Coconuts Caribbean Beach Bar and Grill in Gravois Mills features a sandy swimming beach and the kid-friendly Bananas Water Park, complete with water slides and swimming pool playground.
OFF THE WATER FUN
Miner Mike’s Indoor Family Fun Center in Osage Beach has been a family favorite for almost 30 years, offering tons of miner-themed indoor activities and over 100 token-operated arcade games. The Runaway Mine Train Roller Coaster flies over dips, bends and through a rock tunnel while the Chuck Wagon Ferris Wheel takes riders two stories into the air for a birds-eye view of the entertainment complex. In addition, Buster’s Arcade features over a million dollars of high-tech arcade games and simulators geared toward older children and adults. And, the newer Buster’s Garage is a Route 66-themed indoor go-kart track, which is the largest elevated indoor tracks in the country.
Speaking of go-karts, Lemans Go-Karts in Lake Ozark, Gran Rally Karts and Winner’s Circle Go-Karts, both in Osage Beach, all provide more action-packed racing fun. Each business offers single- or double-seated cars so mom and dad can race against or race with the kids along the smooth, winding paved racetracks.
Visitors looking for an old-fashioned arcade experience will appreciate a stop at the Dogpatch Arcade located near the Dogpatch store, the Lake’s original kitschy souvenir shop. The Dogpatch Arcade, located on the Historic Bagnell Dam “Strip” in Lake Ozark, keeps vacationers entertained with old-school skee ball machines and other arcade classics as well as video games, simulators and more.
For those looking to putt around, there are three fun miniature golf courses to choose from around the Lake of the Ozarks. Putt N’ Stuff in Osage Beach features two different 18-hole courses with caves, waterfalls and rivers coming into play. Putt N’ Stuff also is home to the Lake’s only bumper cars track for family fun off the course. Also in Osage Beach, Pirate’s Cove offers “swashbuckling fun for the whole family” with two 18-hole courses in an 18th century setting with pirate memorabilia to read and enjoy as golfers make their way from hole to hole. Sugar Creek in Lake Ozark has been challenging families for over 30 years and offers the choice of two shady 18-hole courses in a park-like setting with many hazards to test golfer’s skills.
If high-flying entertainment is your family’s idea of fun, there are several places around the Lake of the Ozarks that will get the adrenaline and excitement pumping. Guests at Jetz Trampoline Park in Osage Beach can partake in a number of trampoline-based activities and games including foam pits, dodge ball, basketball, “battle” balance beams, a “Top Gun” ninja course, a slack line and a “Little Jet Jump Zone” for the smaller and younger kids. Malted Monkey, located on the Historic Bagnell Dam “Strip,” is one of the Lake’s newest entertainment options and includes an outdoor ropes course that reaches up to 60-feet high across three levels and features over 45 obstacles. And, when guests need a break from climbing, the ground-level cafe specializes in smash burgers and custom milkshakes. The newly opened Adrenaline Zipline in Camdenton offers the Lake area’s first zipline canopy tour. Adrenaline’s Osage-8 Canopy Tour features eight different ziplines with tours lasting approximately two hours taking visitors on a high-flying tour into the heart of the Ozarks. And, Paradise Parasail, located next to the Bagnell Dam in Lake Ozark, has been taking customers up to 500 feet above the water for a thrilling ride and unique view of the Lake of the Ozarks for nearly 40 years.
When it comes to family fun at the “Best Recreational Lake in the Nation,” the above activities and attractions are hardly scratching the surface. There are many other activities available throughout the Lake area, including exploring four show caves, hiking in state parks, horseback riding, cruising on a pirate ship, getting a birds-eye view of this premier vacation destination during an airplane or helicopter tour, playing sand volleyball, renting bikes to take out on local trails and ice skating in the winter.
Those looking to find their family fun at the Lake of the Ozarks have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to comfortable accommodations for overnight stays, and many of the Lake-area resorts offer boat, personal watercraft, paddleboard, paddleboat and kayak rentals for their guests enjoyment. Accommodations at the Lake include full-service large-scale resorts and smaller family-owned and operated resorts, as well as charming bed and breakfasts, rustic cabins and quaint cottages. In addition, there is no shortage of fully furnished vacation rental homes and condominiums. There also is a selection of familiar hotels and motels at the Lake of the Ozarks. For those who prefer sleeping under the stars, there are spacious campgrounds and RV parks interspersed throughout the area.
The “Best Recreational Lake in the Nation” brings in millions of visitors from across the country every year to enjoy the variety of entertainment found at the Lake. To learn more about all the fun events, attractions, activities, and available dining and lodging options, visit www.FunLake.com. Or, call the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau at 1-800-FUN-LAKE (386-5253).
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