The real purpose to come here is to take in the water theme and drink, and eat, but other things are available.
Boating is the first big one.There are a lot of water sports on the lake. With so many inlets and channels, one can find the perfect area to satisfy the need. Going out in the main channel, however, can be treacherous. Waves can tip small boat, or pontoon easily, so beware. There is 1150 miles of shoreline, and from the tip near Eldon in the north to Camdenton in south there is about 35 miles, a lot of places can be for venturing.
The main tour strip is the Hwy 54 and near the Outlet Mall, and the two most popular towns are Osage Beach and Lake Ozark. Shopping is second choice for a lot of families coming here, and they go the the Osage Beach Outlet Mall, having 110 stores, and most will provide discounts to the retail shops.
Then there is the Bagnell Dam strip that takes you back in time about 1950. The shops have not changed much from the original flavor for the families that came here and only this was developed for shopping, games and rides.
Swimming and going to the beach is a venture that some find a good thing to do, but you have to look real hard to find a public beach most are private, or do not exist.
If none of this holds interest, many go fishing in the quite inlets and away from the crowds.
There are also caves nearby that are fun to take a tour in. They are Ozark Caverns, the largest, Bridel CAve, and Jacob's Cave.
The Osage River was chosen to use for a dam site because is was a winding river running through many deep ravines and that could hold a lot of water. There are 54,000 acres of water. The Osage actually starts as part of Truman Lake about 120 west of the Lake Ozarks, and it is another recreational area, but a lot more quite. The lake used to be quite and families came here for weekends and summers to sit on the patio and look at the water. Larger boats now command the lake and a small boat is swamped, so to speak. Fishing is even hard to find a quite spot where you feel safe, but there are inlets that may hold some possibility yet.
I really do have an enjoyable job in banking. This is a project that the bank I work for is involved in to develop. The entrepreneur is Marlyn Vandervort and he has built an small empire right at the point off HH Bend at Bittersweeet Road in the most popular spots on the lake. He is a great guy and also a real social person who is well connected to attract many well known entertainer stars for shows on the stage. The condotoel is also a hotel and nearly completed for occupancy. It has 109 rooms and all the amenities like spa, indoor/outdoor pool, volley ball court, and much more. It all sits right next to the marina that has huge boats in the slips. Look it up if you like to end destinations. The units are for sale
The theme is once you are bored with boating or laying around the pool , go to find something to buy. The main area is near Osage Beach and that holds the Osage Beach Outlet Mall. It has 110 shops and the sprawling area has a good deal of parking and some bargins.
Other areas to shop, with a more local and tacky flavor is to go to Bagnell Dam strip. It is like trying to still be a part of the culture that existed in the 1950's. Little has changed, so you can get the fudge, candy and taffy, mocassions, leather goods, rings/necklaces, and many other cheap goods that came from China, but are as American as you will envision. It also has a some ice cream shops and on1-2 bars. The kids can get into the swing of things with rides and there is a small animal petting area. Boat rides around the lake also are located here for 1-2 hour excursions.
There are some music types at the lake. The focal pint is at Horney Toad, but also come other spots hold promise. One of the old famous is Misty Club at Lodge of Four Seasons. Others include Eddies and other bars on the strip. Shady Gators is a kind of sleazy bar with tacky signs across from Horney Toad. Beer is cheaper, but now by much, but the locals like to hang out here.
This is one trip worth the trip. Very little has changed in the last 50 years on the strip and the lower end vacationer/tourists come and take in the shops that sell all the trinkets and gift items to take home. Most are cheap and tacky, but that is what started the lake shopping and it prevails yet. If you could only take a few hours to walk the shops, you will know what i am talking about. It is truly old America in its fashion of trashy junk. Taffy, fudge, souveniers and decals of the lake include some of the treasures, and rides for the kiddies, and beer for the gown ups, as well as biker tokens.
There are less places to fish in the main part of the lake, but people still do find spots to enjoy and hopefully get a catch. The dam below has very huge sturgeon and gar that are now restricted as to how many can be caught. They used to be as big as 100-150 pounds range. Now fished out but the Government is trying to make a comeback for them.
There is a definite difference in the type of boats roaming the lake these days. They used to be small little 20 footers, and many pontoons and Bass fishing boats. Now they only thing that can survive the water in the main channel of the lake is something like a 30 plus foot boat. Of course that costs money, but that is why they are here.
This is a lodge built right by the dam in 1931. It is a log building and is 6,500 SF overlooking the lake and trees. It was built in Oregon and dis-assembled and shipped to the lake to re-assemble. It has displays of the dam and lake and towns lost when the lake was flooded. It has a lot of displays of the building of the dam,a nd towns lost in the flooding of the area. Free admission and open 9:00 to 4:30.
There are a number of caves in the area. The more famed but some distance away from the lake is Meramac Cavern, the largest around mid Missouri. Local caves to see include Jacob Cave by Gravois Mills area to the west of the lake, Ozark Caverns in the Lake of the Ozark State Park, and Bridal Cave by Camdenton at the south of the lake.
Jacobs Cave is a one hour tour for $12 adult price, and it open 9-5. it is on State Rd TT off Mo Hwy #5. jacobscave.com
Ozark Caverns costs $6 and is open year round for a one hour tour and is open 9-6 daily. It is 9 miles Northeast of CAmdenton. It is in the Missouri State park
Bridal CAve costs $15 adults, ad $7 for children, with open times of 9-6 daily. The tour takes about one hour, and is reknowned for its weddings that take place inside the cave. It is on Lake Road 5-88, off Mo Hwy 5. Web site is bridal cave.com
There are may acres to hike and camp in the area. Lake of the Ozarks State Park is 17,441 acres in itself. There are 12 primary trails to follow to go through the forests and see the variety of vegetation.
This is a blast and there are 8 or 9 tracks at the lake. If you go to the website below, it will give you a couple of the places to go. Big Shots is a great track.
This is great for all ages. Most of the tracks have a small track for the little guys so everyone will enjoy.
The lake is blocked and near the center of all the other lakes in the region. It is 796 feet in deepest spot and covers 690 acres of land. The dam was built in 1960's and still controls much of the water flow in the area. The museum features some history and also some ecology of the dam, besides the description of original settlers and then frontier groups coming to settle the region.
Try some new watersports! There is a great variety to choose from. I decided for jetskiing and speed boating!